As many of you know, I recently went on a solo road trip to the Blue Ridge mountains. What many of you don’t know is the terror that invaded my mind the entire week leading up to the trip.
Traveling solo as a female can be absolutely terrifying. Just look at that recent TikTok showing what females would do without males for one day!
I grew up watching Criminal Minds and SVU with my paranoid mother which led me to believe that any female by herself will obviously get murdered by some far out serial killer…which is totally wrong!
I understand the fear of any female (or anyone) going off alone, especially on her first solo trip, so below is a list of do’s and don’ts that my boyfriend and I came up with before I left to help keep me safe and ease his, mine, and my parents minds.
DO – Have a detailed itinerary of everything you’re planning to do. My dad is a HUGE planner which conversely made me a ‘go with the flow’ type of gal.
Not this time!
For this trip I made an extremely detailed itinerary for everywhere I was going, what trails I was hitting, and how long I would be at each place.
I spent hours researching everything I wanted to do so I knew exactly where I was heading from each place. This helped settle the normal travel anxieties while also assuring my family that they could always find me.
Once I had a definite plan, I wrote it all out , twice, one for me and one for my boyfriend (who was with my parents) so he could check in on me and know where to start looking if I didn’t check in!
DON’T – Wing it.
I love meeting people at bars or trails and asking them where to go next. I also have the extremely bad reputation for following people to their rooms or hopping in random cars at 2AM, something you definitely should not do while traveling alone in a place where you know no landmarks or people.
DO – Have a get out plan.
Be constantly aware of your surroundings, who is around you, and your best exit strategy.
I’m always looking around and evaluating where I can run to and who I can run to… I usually try to find a family with children to stay by.
Never get too absorbed in your phone and just be alert.
DON’T – Post where you are.
This one is HUGE! Social media is extremely prevalent in todays day and age, which is great, but it can also open you up to stalkers or just anyone in the area. It is extremely easy to follow someones moves and infer where they will be next based on their Instagram stories and movements.
Instead, you can record your Instagram or Snapchat story, save it, then when you are away from that space and left that city, then you can post your story. You’re still sharing where you’ve gone, just once you leave that city!
DO – Carry pepper spray or mace.
It’s always good to have something for your own protection, just in case. My brothers are Boy Scouts so I’m all about the ‘be prepared’ life.
While there is a good chance you will never need to whip out your mace or stun gun or whatever you choose to carry on you, it will help keep your mind at ease knowing you have something to help you escape and it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
DON’T – Tell anyone you’re alone.
No matter how nice, friendly, nonthreatening, someone looks and sounds, just don’t tell them you’re alone.
I actually messed up my first night and told the guy at the check-in desk that Tyler would not be joining me and then I stayed up the whole night worrying about it and overthinking my entire life.
After this slip up, I told everyone I met that Tyler had to finish a project for work so I was meeting back up at the hotel with him in a couple of hours.
Always have a cover story that works for every situation.
DO – Send frequent updates.
Every time you stop, hit a new trail, get to a new city, change your plans, anything – send a quick update. Whoever is holding your extra itinerary and checking in on you will be grateful you gave them the warning and won’t send out the rescue squad when they see your phones location 17 miles away from where it should be.
DON’T – Tell anyone where you will be going or your plans.
While talking to people at the bar and on the trails I kept every conversation light and asked what I should do in the area. When people asked what I was planning to do I would always say “I don’t know,” or “my boyfriend is planning the rest of the trip for us.” This led them to believe I was with my boyfriend the whole time and would not receive any further inquiry.
DO – Share your location with friends and family.
This goes along with sending frequent updates but worth the note. There are a wide array of apps and location services for phones, computers, and tablets that allow you to share your real time location with select people.
There are paid for apps or you can use my go-to, Find My Friends on an Apple devices.
I started using this back in college when I would go out so my friends could keep track of me while on Tinder dates.
For this trip, I had my dad on Find My Friends so he could always locate me also, I gave Tyler my iPad so he could go on whenever and see where my phone was.
DON’T – Get drunk.
Trust me, I love drinking, especially while on vacation. In my naive college days, I’d stay out drinking all night long and have random people drive me home.
Now as an adult, I realize how dangerous I was being, going out drinking by myself.
Women tend to drink in packs due to the real life issues and dangers we face by doing anything alone, but this heightens when we’re in a place that is not home.
Drinking and traveling is fun, and I totally encourage you to try the local favorites, take a shot to celebrate your trip, but know your limit and stick to your plan on how you are making it back to your room that night.
Many people believe that it’s not safe or smart for a female to travel alone, don’t give into that. If you have a destination in mind, do your research, book your hotels and excursions, let your family know, and go off and do your thing.
I was terrified too, and then I did it, and realized that most of what I planned for, will NEVER happen. TV and movies nowadays lead us to believe that there is this dangerous world out there, waiting to get us, which there is – we can’t be naive – but it certainly is not an unattainable world.
Go out an explore!
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