Solo travel is on the up, and women are leading the charge. Almost two-thirds of travelers are now female, according to George Washington University School of Business, and Hostelworld saw a 45 percent increase in solo women’s bookings between 2015 and 2017. But embarking on an adventure by yourself can be daunting and, at times, challenging. That’s where this list of resources comes in—from forums and apps to keep you safe and connected, to the must-have accessories that take the stress out of transit.
When you’re traveling alone, a dead phone battery and the loss of your lifeline can cause some serious problems—especially considering most of us store our itinerary and important contacts digitally these days. Invest in a smart suitcase like an Away carry-on, which has an ejectable battery, so you can charge up even if the airport outlets are crowded. (Away also sells smartphone-linked GPS luggage tags so your checked bag never goes on walkabout.) While you’re at it, invest in a good-value, high-capacity portable charger to keep all of your gadgets juiced up—we love the lightweight Anker PowerCore Speed 20000.
Then there are the clothes you should pack that double up as travel hacks. Take Lululemon’s “Stash to Dash” bra, a sports bra with secret pockets designed for keeping cash, cards, your phone, and even your passport on your person. Goodbye, ugly travel belts, and hello, a legitimate way to store things in our bra (which we were already doing anyway).
This may seem counterintuitive but traveling alone doesn’t have to mean being alone. A plethora of apps and online forums facilitate meetups between people on the road: Take Meetup, a platform that connects you to local communities who share your passions, no matter wherever you are in the world. Whether that’s rock climbing in Melbourne, samba dancing in Amsterdam, or jamming with fellow musicians in Cape Town, the forum will help you hunt it out.
If you’re looking for something specifically female-oriented, try Tourlina, a free app that links women up with potential travel buddies, matched via similar interests or itineraries. Plug in your details, preferences and travel plans, and a list of similar, verified users will appear, ready to be contacted.
Women-focused forums are on the rise, too, leading to travel experiences that combine the freedom of solo travel with the ease of an organized trip. In our Women Who Travel Facebook group, 140,000 self-identifying women swap travel tips and experiences, and form friendships—which sometimes even take them overseas, on group trips run in partnership with women-owned tour company El Camino.
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