Solo travel is one of the key emerging trends in the industry’s bounce-back from the pandemic. And in the last 12 months alone, demand for solo travel destinations and trips has risen another 18% according to Google search volume results. As demand rises for solo travellers, we spoke to avid solo traveller, Lucy Robinson, 30, from West Yorkshire about her solo travel tips and how her experiences of female solo travel has made her savvy with her planning and even savvier with her budgets.
Female Solo Travel Tips
Assess all options to see how you can save on accommodation
You might think that traveling alone is expensive if you aren’t savvy about it, and finding affordable accommodations is not always easy. If you want a higher sense of security, hotels are a great option, but there are other factors that can make other options more affordable as well.
Lucy advises: “Consider things like location, as it may be worth paying more for a better location where you can save money on transport, and ensure you feel safer walking home at night from the busiest and most tourist-friendly spots.
“Another great option is the humble hostel – if you want a better chance to meet like-minded individuals and a cheaper bed, a same-sex small dorm can be an affordable and safe option. There’s also been a big rise in pod-hostels in recent years where you get your own (small!) secure sleeping space with the price tag and more basic shared amenities of a hostel.”
How can hotels attract more solo stays?
Hospitality expert and MD of Power EPOS, Richard Goodall says: “No hotel wants numerous empty rooms, especially over the profitable summer period. If there are rooms spare, there are ways that hotels can attract last-minute guests and solo travellers.
“Attracting digital nomads and solo travellers for extended periods by promoting their internet access, amenities and workspaces is also a great way to turn empty rooms into extended stays for solo travellers and those working abroad. Making their robust safety policies clear can often attract travellers who are uneasy about private stays, and highlight concierge services and the extended benefits that solo travellers could utilise whilst staying in their establishment.”
Seek out solo-diner friendly restaurants
Solo travel can offer many food options that would otherwise be overlooked.
Lucy shared her experience: “Eating alone is still one of the things that I feel least comfortable doing – but every trip I try to branch out and put aside that worry – people genuinely don’t care as much as you think that you’re dining alone!
“Ask friends for recommendations and trust Google when planning your trip so that you know the restaurant and food is going to be worth it – and don’t be afraid to eat on your own time. If you’re concerned you won’t get a table on your own, try eating a little earlier or later than the average local.
“Another tip if you struggle with this is to stay in accommodation where you can cook your own food or have a fridge for picnic-style meals. It’s both cost-effective, delicious, and very immersive to take a picnic of delicious fresh local goods to a park or the beach and take in the sun and sights.”
How can restaurants and bars embrace the solo travel trend?
Speaking about how restaurants and bars can capitalise on the booming solo travel trend, Richard says: “For restaurants, look at your seating arrangements and how you organise your covers to see if there’s room for solo dining options. Bars and counters often feel less formal and more attractive to people who might want to dine on their own, and can provide extra and faster covers to increase revenue through your establishment.
“If there are tables left unbooked, advertising last minute openings on social media and targeting solo diners with marketing incentives such meal offers can be a great way to secure bookings instead of letting the cover go to waste.”
Richard says: “Often the last-minute seats that will be available are singular – meaning attendees have a better chance of catching that last minute show, concert or performance at a better view as a solo traveller.
“For promoters and theatres, announcing last-minute tickets with a promotion can be a sure-fire way to fill up those remaining seats. Leveraging local influencers or your social media can also help promote attending your performance alone as an attractive pursuit for those who may be staying in the area without company.”
Speaking about one of her favourite memories of going to an event solo in Spain, Lucy said: “One of the best experiences I had in Madrid was attending a gig in the botanical gardens to see one of my favourite Spanish bands – the vibes were impeccable and I had the best time – just immersing myself in the Spanish music, stunning location, dancing crowd, and pints of sangria!”
Find your tribe
Lucy told us about how her interests and passions allowed her to connect with locals and other solo travellers.
“One thing I’ve done on a few of my solo travels is work up the courage to go to bars alone,” she says. “In Rome and Madrid I’ve met some incredible friendly people in my community through going to LGBTQ+ spaces, and will definitely keep seeking out people that share my interests.
“If you’re seeking company, try and find your tribe! If you’re big into rock, find a rock bar. If you love open mics – go along to one while you’re away.
“Hostels are another great way to meet like-minded people – or people you’d never interact with usually – I had some incredible chats in an off-grid hostel in the Lakes during a snowstorm when we were all hiding out and eating and drinking together in the evening. Equally visiting hostel bars can be a good way to meet new people, or feel less self-conscious alone – as the majority of people are in the same boat as you.”
The importance of businesses embracing solo travel
“If you’re a business that relies on tourism and new customers, it’s important to stay on top of trends and ensure you are capitalising on them,” says booking expert Richard. Whether you are a bar or a hostel, one way of building a stronger booking base with solo travellers is through TripAdvisor.
“TripAdvisor allows people to filter businesses by audience category (such as couples, business and solo travel). The more positive solo travel reviews you encourage and receive, the more likely you’re going to be considered as the go-to place and see bookings fill up as a result. You can create a wonderful community ethos with this approach and even look to offer incentives and discounts for these guests.”
Make safety a priority
Female solo travellers’ safety and security is of the utmost importance. Lucy has shared her top safety tips for solo travellers to not let it deter you from solo travel and the freedom that comes with it.
“Often people talk about the dangers of travelling alone, but there are steps you can take to make transport affordable and safe! Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the areas you want to stay and visit before you book – and if possible making sure your accommodation is in a safer area with lots of public transport links and well-lit streets.
“Another great tip when you’re walking along and want to look like a local is to have your headphones in with Google Maps directing you through them. That way you can look like you know exactly where you’re going without looking at your phone, and coming across as lost or unsure.”
Hospitality businesses can also elevate their offering for solo travellers by offering safe route partners, says Richard advises.
“As a bar, restaurant or hotelier, there is more you can offer to support the solo traveller community and improve their experience. Consider partnering up with a local taxi provider, public service transport provider or walking guides that you can offer to solo travellers when they are at your establishment. You could work with them on a commission basis meaning it can be financially beneficial, and also provides an integral service for solo guests.
“This provides a greater level of customer care, which in turn makes you more popular for recurring bookings with the community. It’s an added bonus if you are able to set up an economically viable system with the business partner too!”
Why Travel Solo?
For The Women’s Journal, solo travel is not just a trend; it’s a journey of self-discovery. As a female solo traveller, you get to make your itinerary, move at your pace, and enjoy the freedom that comes with no compromises. And why are so many women now choosing to travel solo? It’s the allure of adventure, the desire for self-reliance, and the promise of stories that are uniquely yours.
But while traveling solo has its perks, it comes with a set of challenges – especially for women. Safety concerns, cultural barriers, and the occasional bout of loneliness can sometimes dampen the experience. See our essential solo travel tips for women below…
Essential Female Solo Travel Tips
Your safety should always be the number one priority.
Choosing the Right Accommodation
Opt for well-reviewed, centrally located accommodations. Consider women-only hostels or guesthouses, which cater specifically to solo female travellers.
While we’re all about expressing ourselves, it’s still essential to respect the cultures of the places we visit. Research local dressing norms and pack accordingly. When in doubt, go conservative.
Keep a local SIM card, a portable charger, and always let someone know your itinerary for the day.
Planning and Preparation
Preparation is always the key to a seamless travel experience.
Researching Your Destination
Know the do’s and don’ts, must-visit places, and local customs before you land.
Making New Friends
Join group tours, attend local meet-ups, or simply start a conversation with a fellow female solo traveller before you go.