A growing number of single female travelers are grabbing life by the horns and taking their vacations into their own hands. Last year saw a huge increase in the number of strong and powerful women who decided that now is the time for them to spread their wings and try their hand at solo travel. Female solo travelers are some of the bravest and most independent people on the planet, but when planning this independence, a little preparation never hurt anyone.
The world is a huge place, and with so much to see and do, it’s a wonder that anyone can choose a place to start. There are also a lot of things to consider while making a decision about where to go. This decision is exacerbated if you have decided to travel alone. You hear a lot about how solo travel is the best thing that a person can do, but there are a lot of downsides to it as well. Some of the pros include being able to choose where you go, how long you stay there, and be able to abruptly change plans without having to run it by a travel partner.
Some of the con’s are language barriers, personal safety and at times, loneliness. All of these things are things that can be overcome with a little thought and consideration. If you decide to travel to a country where you don’t speak the language then take note of a few useful phrases so that you can communicate effectively. Try to have these written both phonetically (so you can say them), and correctly (so that a local can read them if needs be).
Loneliness is a huge con, but it is something that comes and goes. With every trip, you are likely to face a period where you don’t meet anyone that you really gel with. That’s okay and even normal. Stay in hostels with other travelers and take organized group day trips to get to know people, and bring a great book and a notebook with you to dedicate any downtime to really getting to know yourself for when there’s no one that you are clicking with.
You’ll find that there are a few questions that are pretty standard for most travelers as an opening and lead to conversations, connections, and genuine friendships. The best thing that you can do is take a breath and relax. If needs be, you can change the accommodation you are staying in for one with a more social atmosphere. Remember, as a solo female traveler, this is your trip and you can do what you want.
An honest con to being a solo traveler, and something that can hurt your budget, is that you don’t have anyone to split costs within taxis to and from bus and train stations. However, every coin has a flip side, and it does mean that you will be open to meet other people who sit next to you on a bus. At Peru Hop, we have had countless messages from solo female travelers telling us how they met an incredible group of friends or even their partner just by sitting down next to them on our buses.
A great pro of traveling solo as a female is that you really do get to decide your own itinerary. No one is moaning at you if you want to travel two hours out of the way to see the oldest church in Ecuador, and no one is dragging you to yet another burger place while you’re trying to explore the lost city of the Incas. There is so much freedom that comes with traveling alone, especially as a female.
Below, find some advice for female travelers traveling alone about staying safe. This advice is generalized in order to best fit most solo female travelers’ situations.
An important part of solo travel is the social aspect. It’s great to be independent and to do what you want to do when you want to do it. But at the same time, one of the best things about traveling is the people that you meet along the way. Anyone who has experienced life as a solo female traveler before can tell you that sometimes you meet lifelong friends and other times you don’t. The times when you don’t are just as valuable but they can get a little lonely.
If you find yourself stuck in a hostel that is underbooked, is full of people who don’t want to hang out with anyone, or is in any other way not living up to the expectations that you have for your trip then remember: there is nothing that is keeping you there.
Equally, if the hostel is too full, if there is someone that is making you uncomfortable, you can leave. You are traveling for you, you don’t need to make yourself uncomfortable for anyone.
Join Facebook groups and discussions about the country you are heading to, you can meet other travelers, find out about their experiences and even meet up with them for tours and treks that you know you don’t want to do by yourself.
Be open to new experiences with new people, but be ready to have some with yourself as well. One of the greatest things about traveling alone is that you have the freedom to learn about yourself in a way that you may have never gotten the chance to before. You can get to know yourself without the interruptions of what is expected of you socially. Take the opportunity and love yourself!
Deciding where is best to travel as a lone female has the potential to be one of the hardest decisions of your trip. There are positives and negatives for every continent, and really what it comes down to is what you want to get out of your journey. Travel in Europe to see beautiful architecture. Travel in North America for vibrant cities. Travel Asia to experience a completely new culture. Travel in Africa if you want to get off the beaten track and see some amazing landscapes. If you want to experience a little of all of the above then consider South America.
From the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, South America is truly a continent that has everything. You can learn about the Incas in Peru and relax on the beautiful white beaches of Colombia.
Of all the countries in South America, the country which truly does have it all is undoubtedly Peru. You can see one of the new 7 wonders of the world with Machu Picchu in Cusco, learn the language of the Incas (Quechua) from native people while wandering the Sacred Valley. You can see Huacachina, the only desert oasis in South America, and the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” in Paracas. You can head north and enjoy the beaches of Mancora or head into the trees and experience the Amazon Jungle for yourself- a place unlike anywhere else on the planet. Check out this blog about the 10 best places to visit in Peru!
Latin America as a whole generally has a bad reputation when it comes to women’s safety. Of course, there are issues that must be considered wherever you travel as a solo female, and Peru is no different. But in general, South America is no more or less dangerous for travelers than any other part of the world.
By using countless collective hours of experience in traveling alone in Peru, the staff at Peru Hop have worked to ensure that the issues of safety that are faced by solo female travelers are taken care of. Bus stations are frequently found in a part of the city that is far away from the tourist area, and often pickpockets and thieves are known to be around these areas (as with everywhere in the world). This is taken care of with our hotel and hostel pick up and drop off points, meaning that you stay, and remain, in the safe districts of the city. This also works to help you to avoid taking taxis and the unnecessary costs of that.
In general, taxis in Peru are best avoided unless booked for you by your hotel or hostel or a taxi app. Expect to pay a premium for a street taxi unless your Spanish is flawless and avoid taking taxis that aren’t sponsored by the municipality. You can tell if a taxi is sponsored by the municipality as it will have its license plate number in yellow printed on its doors. If you do take a street taxi always note the number of its license plate down before getting in and share your location with someone you trust.
Language barriers are, while not necessarily a safety issue, are certainly something that all travelers should be aware of, especially solo female travelers. If you get lost then you may find it difficult to navigate your way back to where you know, you may get on the wrong bus, or many more potential disasters. Luckily, Peru Hop has a trained bilingual local guide on board every bus. Every guide is passionate about their job and their country, and always willing to help you out. Whether it be brushing up on your Spanish, translating a menu, or even having a drink with you in the evening, they are happy and willing to help everyone on board the bus. That’s the magic of the Peru Hop family!
It’s more than just guides that set Peru Hop apart. Each bus is been fitted with a GPS tracking device and monitored. This ensures that we always travel on the safest route between each place and that there are no unauthorized stops along the way. Unfortunately, hijackings and robberies of buses do happen in Peru, but Peru Hop works hard to ensure this doesn’t happen to our buses- and with a 100% clean safety record, we are doing a brilliant job at getting our travelers to their destination.
We are a bus company, but we are not a normal bus company. Because of this, we have partnered with suggested tour operators. Many of these operators we have worked with for years and are sure of their capabilities and their precautions. We work only with agencies who have an appropriate level of certification and have proved to us time and time again that they are able to provide our passengers with the best experience possible.
We consistently ensure customer satisfaction by having a dedicated team within the company to answer any questions or concerns and to offer specialized advice for whatever you are concerned about.
If you have chosen to go to Peru as a solo female traveler, then know that you are not alone. Peru has an increasingly booming tourist industry, but at such an immense size (1.285 million km²) there is so much more to see than just the Inca capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Unreservedly, our recommendation is that while traveling Peru you should take a little time to get to know the rest of the country. See more than the capital city, Lima, and Cusco, the home of Machu Picchu. From the world-famous Lake Titicaca and the Uros floating islands to the mysterious Nazca Lines. Peru is a country that will have you asking yourself many questions: about history, about life, about yourself and so much more.
With so much to see and do in Peru, trying to navigate the logistics of the trip is another stressful thing that sometimes, you really are better off without having to worry about. With Peru Hop, every concern that comes with being a solo female traveler has already been carefully considered and taken care of.
With direct hotel and hostel pickup and drop-offs, and stops in every major place of interest on the way from Lima to Cusco, there isn’t much to complain about. It’s a lot harder to miss a bus that stops on your doorstep than it is to miss one that is an hour away from where you are staying in a strange city! We make stops along the way so you can eat in local restaurants, and we even stop off at some incredible places that most tourists don’t touch.
These stops are completely free with every journey that passes by and allows you to see incredible slices of Peru’s history. These are things that would otherwise be too far out of the way to visit, something that falls victim to a tight schedule, or even a hidden gem that you didn’t discover while researching the country.
From the Secret Slave Tunnels found underneath a Hacienda in Chincha, to the Nazca Lines Viewing Tower in Nazca. Yep, you can even see the world-famous lines without spending time in the town of Nazca. Perfect for those solo female travelers who are in a hurry!
Because Peru Hop is a bus company that is designed specifically for travelers, you have automatic companions while you are traveling. You can meet people on the bus and if you choose to spend the day with them, that’s great. If you decide you want to spend the time by yourself then that’s also fine. The culture of having an entire bus full of like-minded people is similar to none. We have had plenty of our travelers get in contact with us and let us know that they met fellow Peru Hop passengers all over the country, both on the bus and off.
At Peru Hop, we have had thousands of messages letting us know that our solo female travelers met a huge group of lifelong friends and even some people who met their other halves on the bus. Peru Hop, just like traveling alone, is what you make of it. It’s the perfect way to travel independently, but never alone.
Traveling alone, especially as a woman, is something beautiful. It is a brave choice and one that will change you for the better in many ways that you may not realize until you are home again. In a time of personal growth and experiences, traveling alone is an unbeatable way to encapture both of these things. To start planning your trip, then check out these suggested routes!