By the time I had consumed a portion of my plate and scribbled enough copy to later blog about, the chatter had quieted down in the small Berlin restaurant.
My meandering eyes caught the attention of the waitress. We exchanged pleasant smiles.
Shortly thereafter she approached me with a slice of their decadent homemade chocolate cake, on the house. We struck up a conversation. She then offered suggestions on sites that I should explore. I took note of her recommendations that I’d later add to my itinerary.
If you’re like me, you’ve already created a comprehensive checklist and a detailed itinerary for your solo travel. Albeit a tentative one, a lot of good comes from planning ahead– I learned this the hard way after being caught in the dead of winter, awaiting a bus ride to the airport because of some obscure Italian holiday.
You would want a concise and budget-friendly, yet heavily researched source at the tip of your fingers. Luckily, after having prepared for my own solo travels, I’ve tracked down the most reliable sources and handy apps that I can personally vouch for. So go ahead, hit the bookmark button 🙂
Research, Research, Research
Research like your life depended on it (because the reality is, it does).
Explore Tips for Solo Female Travelers
I know from my own experience of scouring the internet, hunting down relevant information can be a hefty task. For example, researching the most efficient and comfortable backpack was probably one of the most grueling tasks of all! In the end, I visited an REI store, purchased an Osprey backpack and I was still not entirely satisfied, thus this entry. The purpose of which is to provide a resource to those who wish to travel alone and in no way should this be your sole source. Discovering other solo travelers builds the anticipation and benefited my preparation immensely.
Explore Anticipation and an Open Mind
Planning Your Trip
How to Stay Organized
Create an Itinerary
Whenever I came across a location, item, or tool that would benefit my trip, I always pinned it in a Pinterest board. I’ve also begun using Instagram Collections in the same manner. I then created an itinerary in Google Sheets that I referenced throughout my trip. Be sure to make note of any local holidays that may alter transit systems.
View and download my itinerary.
View and download my checklist.
Explore Backpacking Through Europe
Creating Your Budget
Outline categories that you’re likely to budget for and keep track of your expenses. Some categories may include:
- Plane Ticket
- Travel (within Europe)
You can also find an abundance of budgeting apps that may work best for you.
Keeping a Travel Journal
- Hostel addresses and contact information,
- U.S. embassy addresses and contact information,
- Flights and travel details, and
Be sure to make a copy of your passport. Bookmark travel.state.gov where you can find information on the U.S. embassy of the country you’re visiting, as well as safety and security information and updates.
Additional resources include:
I definitely had to do some shopping around for proper equipment and tools. From Amazon to Best Buy to an REI store, I looked into all of my available options to find useful and economical gear for my travels.
Finding the Right Backpack
I settled for the Osprey Porter Travel Backpack Bag, 46-Liter which is an ideal size for women. This is a carry-on which makes traveling less of a hassle. The Osprey definitely got the job done as I didn’t intend to go hiking or engage in any other outdoorsy activities. It was fair for backpacking through European cities as I had done. However, its flaws included the lack of a water bottle holder and the straps which offered moderate comfort which made it a bit difficult to carry for a long period. REI offers a guide on How to Choose a Backpack.
I downloaded XE, a currency and foreign exchange rate and Google Translate. You don’t have to learn a country’s language but the locals are much more hospitable when you greet them in their native tongues.
Transportation & Lodging
Traveling to Europe
I found the cheapest tickets on Norwegian.com but I highly recommend shopping around for flights that work best for your travel needs. Google Flights offer a range of airline companies to choose from.
Traveling Throughout Europe
I usually used the local transit systems and Uber to get around. It’s very important that you research the city’s transit system and how it operates before your arrival. I learned that the hard way in Budapest when I was stopped by a public-transport ticket inspector. I also secured travel throughout Europe on websites such as EasyJet.com, GoEuro.com, RyanAir.com, Skyscanner.com, and FlixBus.com.
If you’re looking to travel on a budget and open to interacting with a host of other travelers and backpackers, Hostelworld.com and Airbnb offer a variety of lodgings. Filter based on distance, sites, and facilities to find your perfect getaway home.
I really do believe that purchasing my plane ticket is always the scariest part of the journey but it’s important to remind yourself what this solo journey means to you. It’s okay to lose the itinerary and to just get lost in a city once in a while. You’ll come out of it feeling empowered with a renewed sense of the world.