5 Ways I Stay Confident Traveling as a Solo Woman

5 Ways I Stay Confident Traveling as a Solo Woman

Ladies, when I first started getting in touch with my adventurous side, I was just starting to date again. It wasn’t until a few adventures in that I met my partner now. I went on some crazy cool adventures that helped shape me into the person I am now before we met! I will admit that looking back at those trips, it was much harder to plan solo travels than as a couple. Though it took more planning, there was a great learning opportunity in each of those plans.

What I learned about staying somewhere on my own is that it is worth doing the research every time– I do a TON of searching when it comes to staying somewhere I was not familiar with. Truthfully, I am not usually comfortable leaving my own apartment but have made the effort in the last year or so to go outside my comfort boundaries so I can explore more of the world like I see other adults my age doing on TV and social media. I learned that there are a few steps I follow in my process that keeps me calm and collected when I’m stressed before or during the trip.

Research the crap out of what you’re booking

  • Local Attraction such as a lake or mountain
  • Rating and reviews of park or hotel
  • Price of admittance or rental
  • Cleanliness of Amenities such as the shared spaces (i.e. bathroom)

Be careful and especially if you are traveling alone, understand your surroundings at all times. Be aware of how much money you have on you, how much gas is in your tank, and what your cell battery and service levels are. 

Stay Powered Up

  • Cell phone battery pack and cord
  • Phone Numbers in my wallet, pocket, or glove compartment

Keeps Multiple Forms of ID on you

It seems silly, but considering how small an ID is and how slick it is, it’s easy to fall out of your bag or pocket. The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere out of state because you couldn’t board the train or airplane without an ID. Or, even locally, you wouldn’t want to be driving somewhere you’re not familiar with without an ID. I’ve kept a few of my old IDs on me in my glove compartment or wallet so that if I lost one, even if it’s not valid, I’d look a little more legitimate.

All trails, All the Time

I say this all the time, but All Trails really is the REAL reason I became comfortable traveling independently without a companion (human or doggo). This subscription app allows you to follow your map in real-time either online or out of network, as you have the ability to download the 4 different kinds of maps with the paid version. This saved me from going off-trail so many times and kept me confident that I’d always reach my destination by sundown. What I found even better was the ability to pace myself so that if I started lagging behind, I’d be able to see if I’d need to pick up the pace to make it to my car before the park legally closed.

Keep Cash in Multiple Locations

I’ve been on trips before where they didn’t accept Visa, but accepted American Express or vice versa, or they didn’t accept cash and I only had a card. The list goes on when it comes to what places take which payment types. Rule of thumb is to always carry enough cash to fill a half tank of gas and grab a snack. Carry about $30 in cash at all times. In addition, keep a balance on your credit card that would allow you to get help for a new set of tires in case something happened. Too many trips I went on and prayed the entire way in and out of the road thinking, “I don’t have enough to cover new tires if one of these popped”. While I made it each time, out safely, with no popped tires, it wasn’t very responsible.

How to Plan Your First Alone Trip

The Flexible Approach to Your First Planned Vacation Alone

#1. Set an amount of money you can spend and be realistic
#2. Write down five things that you remember you used to love or think you could love
#3. Request the PTO off, even if everything isn’t planned out yet
#4. Choose a place based on the list you created in step #2
#5. Create a list in the Bear App of restaurants, cafes, and local attractions that interest you around that place
6. Book where you’re staying
7. Add the places from Step #5 to a Google Map
8. Check your car before you go: oil, gas, windshield wiper fluid, tags, license, and toll money

Every year people start off New Years Resolutions to motivate them to be the person they want to become. For me, I started my New Years Resolution back in July, where I woke up one day and told myself that it was time to stop making excuses for not doing anything fun and exciting with my life. I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be, but that I wanted to challenge myself to have unique experiences.

#1. Set an amount of money you can spend and be realistic

There wasn’t a huge budget to spend; to be honest, I had about $270 to spend and while that’s not much for a vacation, I had to make it work; I NEEDED to take a vacation. With $270, I had enough to really enjoy myself and turn my terrible 2019 into a stellar year from this one trip.

#2. Write down five things that you remember you used to love or think you could love

So, I decided to just start with what I knew I used to love– water and camping. The smell of camping, the cold damp air at night, the satisfaction of laying down in your tent with snacks nearby, and the way the sounds of other campsites danced with your silence was such a peaceful experience. Those are all memories I adore from childhood. The beach was another. I grew up chasing the waves, burying myself in sand, tasting the candies from the corner store, the hot sun drying up your splashed skin– I bask in those memories even now. It didn’t matter which body of water, but the beach feeling mixed with the camp vibes seemed like a good place to start. So, I searched “beach campsites” into google and saw their top 10 results. “Tillamook, Oregon” was a place I recognized, felt comfortable with, and knew that I could explore on my own and feel safe.

#3. Request the PTO off, even if everything isn’t planned out yet

For me, I had plenty of PTO to spend, so I just spent it. However, that’s not always the case for people (including me!). If it’s not “I don’t have the money”, it’s always “I don’t have enough PTO”. So, how much do you have to make it work?
Maybe you only have a day of paid time off (PTO) in the bank, but your company allows you to take a half-day without penalty. Or, perhaps you have holidays off from work and could schedule well in advance to take advantage of that free day off. As an example, here is a calendar of all the holidays that my company recognizes. As a rule of thumb, when the stock market is closed, our company is closed; Otherwise, we’re open! Sometimes these rules of thumb make it easy to plan ahead without asking your boss too many questions about paid time off.

#5. Create a list in the Bear App of restaurants, cafes, and local attractions that interest you around that place

6. Book where you’re staying

The first time I ever booked a hotel by myself, I showed up to the counter and they asked to put a card on file. I gave them my debit card. There was $121 available in my bank. I had no idea that you needed to put a hold on the card. But, these are things you either hear from your parents, or you just figure out. Lucky for me, the Arthritis Foundation was sponsoring my trip, so the clerk nicely told me that he put a hold on the card for $100. In reality, he should have turned me away as a guest, but since the corporate account was on file, and it was a volunteer opportunity for children with disabilities, I think he did me a solid and figured I had to be a semi-decent person to be there at the hotel on the AF’s expense.

When it comes to booking where you want to stay, I always choose one local attraction that excites me and then I book the lodging fairly close to it. My first trip alone was paragliding. So, I booked my campsite within a short driving distance to the sand dunes so that I wouldn’t chicken-out. To my surprise, my campsite ended up being about a mile from the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the place with the best breakfast and coffee in town! An added bonus was how safe the campsite was– it had a large open field with plenty of families with children around, which made me feel safe. The site had good ratings, a quick response from the campsite owner, and didn’t require any cleaning fees, which was an added plus given I was on such a small budget.

To Bring or Not to Bring the Dog

There are a few different services out there for pet sitting, which all have their pros and cons.
For the past year and a half, I have been pet sitting for owners who need either a quick getaway or need to travel to a remote destination for an extended period of time.
As a sitter, I find it worthwhile to have Rover take out some of my earnings to handle all of the back-end work like scheduling, messaging, GPS tracking, and payment. For you, as the pet sitter, this is a huge benefit as well– the sitters run a thorough background check and have to pass certain tests in-person in order to qualify as a dog walker and sitter.
In addition, their customer service line is 24/7 and the service members have all been are are still currently some of the top pet caretakers in the company. I’ve used their services many times and have always been pleasantly surprised at the level of quality service.
If your pet is your baby, I recommend going with Rover.
What Rover is:

  • A trustworthy service for someone to watch, feed, exercise, and administer medications to your pet
  • A place dog and cat lovers
  • A career for some– these people help to serve their community and be paid monies for their contributions to society to help pay for the food on their table
  • A side hustle for many– this passive income source helps to provide money for books in college or to help pay off debt
  • A therapy for some previous pet owners who can’t commit to having a pet of their own or future pet owners who need to understand the responsibilities that come with owning a pet

What Rover is not:

  • A free service
  • A grooming service, though some pet sitters qualify and are willing to groom pets for additional monies
  • A weight loss program- It is at the pet sitter’s discretion to take the dog for longer walks than the 30-minute walk option pet owners can opt-into