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Traveling alone as a woman

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I was in a 6 year relationship up until the end of last year, the relationship ended amicably so I'm grateful for that. However, even though I don't miss that relationship I miss just having someone to go out with. I started the dating thing back in July and it sucked haha. So now I'm at a point in my life where I decided to take a break from dating and just focus on myself.  With that being said I'm contemplating on doing an international trip (South Korea). I only know a girl that lives there with her husband and they are willing to show me around for a day and then the rest of the time I'd be on my own. Because I'm a woman safety is really my main concern and I also don't speak Korean. Has anyone ever done a solo international trip? And if you have, any tips? What are your thoughts?? Should I go for it? 

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I’ve done solo trips to club med and I’ve had days to myself and or me and my young son in foreign countries and lots of US cities. I’ve had an have many single friends who travel alone and I think it’s fine. I’d read up on safety in the particular country. Rick Steves publishes great travel guides for example. And likely  deals with safety issues.  I like how you know already you can’t heavily depend on your friend. That’s good information to know.  
make sure you have enough $ to afford to stay in safe places and neighborhoods.  Good luck !!

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I did a solo trip to London a few years back, as like you, I had no one to go with, and I wanted to travel.

Yes, much different than being in a country where you don't speak the language.

On a business trip to Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, I spent a day alone in each, and wandered into areas that didn't look postcard-pretty, where there was no English at all.  A bit disconcerting, but I got through it.

Do as much research as you can, and stay in as safe a place as you can.  You know all the stuff:   don't wander alone at night, don't accept rides, etc. etc. etc.

What was missing for me was the shared experience of travel.  The other person to view the city with you.

I'm going abroad soon with a group of women I don't know, organized by the group.  I'm excited because it will be a shared experience.  So you could look into something like that.  

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90% of my traveling is solo, and all of the above are good.

I'll throw in some other things I've done:

  • Use a language learning app, it will give you some basics, you  may not become fluent, but you can at least get some of the basics, such as "Do not enter" haha
  • look into international phone plans with your phone, and other ways to get your phone compatible
  • I use some translator apps that will use your phone's camera to "read" the languages on signs or menus. (I think apple and google have it)
  • work on your situational awareness skills, in big touristy especially. Learn some of their tricks so you are aware of them
  • Look into RFID wallets and cut resistant bags for your travels, again tourist = target in some areas
  • I also look at casual business fashion of where I'm going to visit, and dress a bit more like a local to reduce my visibility in a crowd.
  • I personally don't over plan for trips, maybe 3-4 things overall, and then just enjoy the rest of my time exploring off the beaten path; but that's me.
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Also, don't walk around holding your phone in your hand. It can easily be snatched out of your hand.

My son travels solo frequently and he says to get foreign currency ahead of time, before you leave. Apparently it can be difficult to obtain the country's currency while you're there. 

Also buy an electric outlet adapter ahead of time. 

Yum, Korean food!

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I moved abroad alone (I've lived in Western Europe for a decade now) and traveled to my current country alone before I did so. 

I've also since done a few solo trips to other parts of Europe, especially Eastern Europe. I've got another short solo jaunt there next month, actually.  

My tips:

-download offline Google maps of your destination before you get there. It helps a lot when you don't have an internet connection and still need to find your way around but don't have a paper map handy

-use Google streetview beforehand to actually visualize your route from your drop-off point to your accommodation. I've been able to easily find my way from the airport shuttle/train to my hotels because I already knew which landmarks to keep an eye out for and where to turn down certain streets

-always make copies of your vital ID and passport, as well as credit cards. This could be a lifesaver if they are lost or stolen

-find out where your home country's nearest Embassy or Consulate is, and save their contact info in case of emergencies

-if you can change some currency ahead of time, do so. Be aware you will probably get better exchange rates at your destination so plan to change some there too.

-like anywhere else, always be aware of your surroundings, including who is around you coming and going from your accommodation. Nefarious types are sometimes on the lookout for women traveling alone around hotels/Air B&Bs/etc. (and yes, some bad types are fully aware of which houses/apartments are vacation rental properties)

-go online an order a door-stop alarm. It costs very little. You stick it under your room/front door like a doorstop, but it's motion-activated and emits a shrill alarm if anyone tries to force their way into your room. I always slip it under the door while I'm sleeping or hanging out in my room for a break

Have a wonderful time! It's easier and more rewarding than you might think to travel alone, and if you keep your wits about you, you will enjoy the whole experience! 

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When I travel alone I try to mix up my routine and route. I don't leave at the same time or use the same entrance.  Just in case someone is watching. 

And I don't tell strangers I am alone.  I will say I'm taking a break while my group or friends that live here are doing something else. I'm always meeting them right after this.  


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