Travelling solo in Europe: top tips for girls (and boys!)
The next instalment in our Travelling As… series is one for the girls. We know people can get freaked out about the idea of travelling alone, particularly when you’re a girl, so read on to find out why travelling Europe alone as a girl is totally not scary, and actually 100% great.
Don’t Let People Put You Off:
One of our most commonly asked questions is: “is it safe for a woman to travel alone?” Our Answer? With common sense, street smarts and a wealth of information available – it’s a resounding yes. This guide mostly talks about Europe, but the advice can be applied to anywhere.
People love to scare other people off doing things. Especially when they wish they’d done them themselves. We don’t live in the middle ages any more, and there is absolutely no reason why anyone should persuade female adventurers out of taking that solo trip. Even though this is the case almost anywhere in the world, it’s particularly true for Europe.
We’re lucky to live in a generally very accepting and safe continent. Whether you’re in Eastern or Western Europe – people in touristy areas are accustomed to female travellers. Even if you do come across some slightly uncomfortable situations, you’ll come back stronger than ever – and with a tale to tell.
Of course, we can’t lie and say that bad things never happen. But, they are exceptionally rare, and there are simple precautions that any sensible traveller can take to minimise the risk. These include making sure your valuables are out of sight, avoiding walking home alone at night and making sure someone knows roughly where you are each day. We think this applies just as much to boys as to girls!
In need of extra reassurance? When you travel with us you get access to a 24 hr helpline. Travel independently – but safe in the knowledge that someone is always on the end of the phone if you have any problems. Check out popular trips and tours, or build your own custom route.
Do talk to strangers:
When you’re travelling solo, everyone is a stranger, and 99% of them are helpful and pleasant. Of course, we’re not saying you should chat to any old person you meet on the way. But meeting other travellers and forming a group is a great way to stay safe – and meet new mates.
One great way to find like-minded groups to hang out with is to stay in hostels. Most likely there will be at least a few other solo travelers who’d also be grateful for a buddy for the walk home. Going out in a group gives you the opportunity to share sightseeing, get to know people from all over the world and find others who might be heading towards the same destinations as you. Alternatively, why not join a free walking tour – these are a great way to meet other travellers and are found throughout all major European cities.
Want to travel solo but worried about starting out alone? A group tour could be a great option to get you started.
People love to spread horror stories about hostels and their guests, but 99% of the time everyone will be in the exact same position as you – alone in a foreign country and keen to meet other travellers. Hostels are liberal, happy and tolerant places which do not look kindly on disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour. If you feel uncomfortable, let a member of staff know immediately – any good hostel should be able to offer a solution.
Do your research on each destination:
Unfortunately, as is the case everywhere in the world, scams do exist in Europe. While most scams aren’t a threat to your safety (those responsible are far more focussed on earning their pocket money!), it’s best to do your research on the common ones in each area to avoid being caught out! There’s nothing like being conned out of your money to put a downer on your holiday, so don’t allow yourself to fall into the traps! You can read more about Europe’s common tourist scams here.
Make sure you learn about your destinations before you go. If there are parts of a city that you’re advised not to go to, make it your business to know where they are. Hostels and local travel agents will be able to give you this information, so make the most of their knowledge.
Learn to like your own company:
The more you travel Europe solo, the more you’ll realise that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just as you wouldn’t think twice about walking around your hometown alone, you’ll soon find yourself exploring new cities independently. The great thing about venturing out on your own is that you’re totally in control – anything that you want to see, you can explore on your own terms. When you book with us, you’ll receive a detailed itinerary containing food guides, top sights, public transport information and a phrasebook – so you can do exactly what you like on your own terms – without even having to research it!
Equally, like in your hometown, be sensible about your exploring. If you’re uncomfortable in any situation, remember: it’s always within your control to remove yourself from it. Whether the risk is real or imagined, trust your gut instinct.
Avoid isolated areas or those which feel hostile, and if you start to feel threatened don’t feel bad about turning back. While you might feel vulnerable as a single female traveller, our advice is the same regardless of your gender: stick to public areas with easy transport links and plenty of people about and you’ll rarely come across any trouble.
Don’t be scared – be prepared:
We don’t believe in scaring people; it’s extremely unlikely that anything untoward will happen while you’re travelling. Having said that, there’s no harm in being cautious. Here are a few things you can do to give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Easy safety tips for travelling alone:
- Give a copy of your itinerary to friends and family, so that they know where you’re travelling and when.
- Keep a portable charger with you and charged at all times – the last thing you need is your phone dying when you most need it.
- Leave emergency contact details as well as your own with your accommodation provider, travel agent or tour operator. This way, if you fail to check out or to show up for a pre-booked activity, someone will know straight away. They can then check in to make sure you’re ok and contact your family if they are concerned. All good tour operators should do this anyway.
- If your family get worried easily, consider taking a small GPS tracker with you in your bag or coat pocket. That way they can keep tabs on your location even if you have no phone signal or your battery dies.
Euroventure can help!
If you still feel concerned about travelling Europe solo, why not consider travelling the Euroventure way? We help you can experience all the independence of travelling by yourself, safe in the knowledge that we’re just a phone call away if you get into any difficulty. We’ve helped loads of people take their first steps into the world of solo travelling. We know the best ways to travel Europe, the ins and outs of public transport and the best routes for different travellers. Plus, with our specially selected partner hostels you’re bound to run into other Euroventure travelers to share your experience with. You can even travel with a bunch of like-minded backpackers on one of our group tours if you prefer!
Travelling alone is a liberating, fascinating, thrilling and sometimes scary experience, whatever your gender. We’re all about sharing this with everyone, so if you’re thinking about inter-railing, why not get in touch today – no question is too small or too big! Take a look at our trips for inspiration, join a group tour, or head to our Europe Trip planner to create your own route!