After nearly 7 years as a solo-woman traveler, I’ve talked with women from around the world and I have come to realize that the one thing that keeps more women back from solo travel is fear. Popular media portrays the world as a dangerous place for women, when the realities couldn’t be further from the truth. I think one of the biggest lessons I have taken away as a perpetual solo female traveler is that oftentimes home is more dangerous than anyplace else. That being said, you learn safety with experience and I’ve found it’s better to start off with certain “easier” destinations than more challenging ones as a way to gain the knowledge of traveling safely as a woman. Here are my 5 picks for the best countries for first time solo female travelers.
Photo by Laurence Vagner
Spain is the perfect destination for first time solo female travelers. It’s been a popular backpacking destination in Europe for decades, and it’s incredibly inexpensive meaning that you can splurge on private rooms that won’t break the bank. Additionally Spaniards are famous for their hospitality and friendliness, and they tend to look at women traveling alone as people to be taken care of – this means you are more likely to be welcomed into people’s homes or be invited out with groups.
Photo by Chris Gin
Tucked away at the end of the world, New Zealand is one of the best countries for solo female travelers for many reasons. It’s considered one of the safest countries in the world with virtually no crime or violence. In fact it’s so safe that hitchhiking and freedom camping are still the norm here. Kiwis are amongst the friendliest locals in the world and are incredibly inclined to help out any travelers, women or otherwise. If you are looking for an epic trip for your first time solo traveling expedition, head to New Zealand.
Likely not one of the initial countries to think of when planning a first trip as a solo female traveler, I decided to include Thailand because it’s just so popular for solo backpackers. While it might not be the easiest country to navigate, you are almost guaranteed to encounter not one, but dozens of similar travelers that make life easier. The backbone of the Southeast Asia backpacking route, not only is Thailand a cheap place to explore; it is a travel path so well trodden that it’s difficult to NOT get by easily here. A popular first time destination for travelers from all around the world, Thailand is perfect for those looking to experience the true backpacker culture overseas.
Photo by Trey Ratcliff
Iceland is also one of the safest countries in the world. Thanks to a tiny population, anyone you meet is pretty much guaranteed to be friendly and helpful. With a rich history and plenty of beautiful landscapes accessed mostly by cars and few urban spots, Iceland is the place to be if you want to get back to nature and experience a part of the world that is unlike any other. With a history of strong women, there are plenty of solo female travelers to be found exploring Iceland. Easily accessible from both Europe and North America, Iceland is a logical first time destination for women looking to travel somewhere new by themselves.
Photo by Stuart
Considered to be one of the safest countries in South America, if you are looking to head to this part of the world for the first time as a solo female traveler, consider Argentina as your first stop. With easy accessibility between cities and a capital comparable with many of Europe’s finest, Argentina is a great and logical first stop for solo female travelers in South America.
What other countries would you add to this list?