Hannah's Top Destinations For Solo Female Travel & How To Use Unpaid Time & Holidays To Get There
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Last updated - 12:11 AM
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Hannah lives in Sydney, Australia, and loves traveling, running marathons, cycling, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and exploring new places! She has been to 33 countries and is still counting. Her favorite kind of trip is adventure-filled and full of waterfalls, beaches, good food, and adventure sports. You can follow Hannah’s travels on her blog Fit & Abroad and on Instagram


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What Inspired Me to Start Traveling Solo

Solo traveling can be scary but also rejuvenating at the same time. You can go on your own terms whenever you want, wherever you want! Plus, you always meet other fun travelers when you travel solo and sometimes you end up making lifelong friends! It also helps to be part of a solo female traveler Facebook group where you get support from all sorts of solo female travelers from around the world who share their tips and you can even meet up with them! GirlsLoveTravel is a good one to join.

I Usually Make the Most of Public Holidays

I try to travel as much as possible. Unfortunately, most companies only give you 4 weeks of annual leave a year in Australia so I usually make the most of public holidays (even though it’s always more expensive). I also try to get as much unpaid leave approved as possible to extend my trips. 

I Like to Go for Adventure-Filled Trips When I Travel

If I only have a week or less for a trip, I usually go on a road trip to somewhere in Australia I haven’t been before. Australia is so isolated, that it’s really not worth going overseas if I’ve only got 1 week since half of that time will be spent on an airplane! If I’ve got 2 weeks or more, I like to choose a country I haven’t been to before (and I’ve got a big list!) 

I like to travel to Asia because it’s safe, cheap and close to Australia! I always go for adventure-filled trips as I love to stay active. For example, I absolutely loved the Philippines because we swam with whale sharks, we went canyoning in waterfalls, we went snorkeling, and lots of waterfall treks and also climbed a mountain!


How I Choose Where I Want to Travel Next 

Firstly, I look at how much time I will have for the trip as that determines how far I will travel from Australia (which is far away from everywhere!). Then I look at what season it’ll be. If it’s southeast Asia it’s usually hot all year round anyway. I have a bucket list from places I have seen on Instagram or heard from friends or fellow travelers. 

How I Prepare for My Trips

Once I’ve decided where I want to go, I do a lot of research about what to see and do at that place to make sure I don’t miss out on anything! This usually begins with the best spots I want to visit such as waterfalls, mountains, islands, etc. Then I work out how many days I will need at each place to see everything without rushing.

Next, I choose accommodation based in the center or as close as possible to the main sites. I look on Airbnb, Booking.com, and hotels combined to look for accommodation that is cheap, in a good location, and might have a pool or some other cool feature. Then I look up nice cafes, bars, and restaurants nearby and start creating an itinerary!

My Secret to Packing Light 

I like to pack as light as possible so that I can fit into the 7kg included carry-on luggage. If I’m going away for just a week or two to a hot destination like Asia, this is easily done as all you need is your swimsuit and a beach dress! If I’m going for a longer trip or to a cold destination that requires lots of winter clothes and gear, then I have to suck it up and pay for check-in luggage! The secret to packing light is to wear your heaviest clothes on the plane, tie any extra jumpers or tops around your waist, and stuff your pockets full of sunscreen and deodorant bottles to keep your bag nice and light. As soon as you’re on the plane you can stuff them into your bag again. A bit of a hassle but saves a lot of money! I have an article on my blog about how to pack light and save yourself from paying for check-in luggage.


Must-Haves I Always Carry

When I am flying, my must-haves include a big water bottle. Even though you often have to empty liquids before you board the plane, the flight attendants are usually happy to fill it up once you’re on board. Plus, it’s easy to get dehydrated on the plane. For this reason, I also carry a small bottle of moisturizer to make sure my skin doesn’t dry out. Earphones are also essential to try and block out the sound of crying babies and other cabin noise. I always carry a good book,  and for long flights, I also carry my travel pillow to help me sleep comfortably. And the most important must-have for especially for long flights are snacks such as fruit and nuts and maybe chocolates, but nothing with a strong smell and nothing that is sticky or wet!

Safety Precautions I Take When I Travel Solo

When I travel solo, I usually explore countries that are safe. I find Asia to be very safe, especially Japan and Singapore due to their low crime rates. 

When I am traveling solo, I keep my wits about me at all times. This means ensuring I keep in mind where my passport, money, and valuables are and keeping an eye out for sketchy individuals. I try to book a room with a safe to keep valuables in. Otherwise, I keep them in my pockets with my hands on them and never let go! Pickpocketing is more common in Europe, so when I went there, I had a travel card and tried to carry as little as possible when I was out exploring. I like to meet fellow travelers as there is safety in numbers! Plus you end up making friends and discovering new destinations you wouldn’t normally visit if you hadn’t met them.

Safest Countries for Solo Female Travelers and My Best Experiences There 

Japan

Japan is great for experiencing a new culture, food, and sights. There are a lot of temples to see in Kyoto. If you’re looking for a food scene, head to Osaka. If you want to see monkeys bathing in hot springs, go to Nagano. And if you like city lights and shopping, visit Tokyo. A visit to Mt Fuji is worth it too! 

Singapore

Singapore can easily be done in 3 days. Make sure you visit the Gardens by the Bay, have a cocktail at Marina bay sands overlooking the city, have a Singapore Sling at Raffles, visit Chinatown for some spicy laksa, and take a visit to Sorrento to relax at the man-made beaches. You can’t leave Singapore without trying their chili crab! 

Vietnam

Vietnam is also a very safe country to visit. The people are really friendly, and it’s extremely cheap! If you’re looking for lanterns, visit Hoi An; if it’s mountains and rice paddy fields, visit Sapa; if it’s culture, shopping, museums and to experience the Cu Chi tunnels, go to Ho Chi Minh City; if you want to experience original Vietnam, visit Hanoi; if you want to visit country-life Vietnam go to Buon Me Thuot and if you want to relax on the beach then visit Danang or Phu Quoc island! Vietnam has got it all! 

I’ve got blog articles about all these destinations, with suggested itineraries, best foods to try, places to visit, and things to do so feel free to read my best tips!

Morocco

I have been to Morocco before and was so glad I had my boyfriend with me because there were times we didn’t feel safe. I have heard of similar experiences in Egypt for solo female travelers so you should maybe bring a friend along to those countries. Morocco was nonetheless a breathtaking country with beautiful landscapes. It was pretty awesome to ride a camel in the Sahara desert and camp under the stars. 


I Have Visited 33 Countries So Far

I have visited 33 countries. I prefer hidden gems and heading off the beaten path. My favorite kind of trip is a nature trip involving waterfalls, islands, beaches, bush, jungle, hikes, trails, mountains, and discovering new places that not many people know about. A favorite memory of mine was a visit to Lombok island by boat from the Gili Islands. A local guide took us on a 3-hour waterfall trek to hidden waterfalls. We didn’t see a single other people, the waterfalls were very powerful and our guide was very attentive and helped us cross rivers, climb over boulders and hike through the jungle. I would do that again at the drop of a hat!

How I Document My Trips

I like to reflect on my trips and share my experiences in my travel blog. I learn from any travel mistakes and provide helpful travel tips to ensure that other travelers don’t experience the same problems. I also use the blog as a platform to share itineraries that worked for us to save our readers time researching and coming up with plans. Readers don’t have to follow our itineraries exactly, but can at least use some ideas and find out tips about cool places to visit, bus timetables and routes, the best mode of transport to use for some sites, what sites are closed now, how much you have to pay to enter and how long it takes to get to some sites.

It’s really useful to know these little details that can save you a lot of time! I also have blog articles about the best places to eat, cafes or bars you simply cannot miss, and the top 10 things to do in each place. Sometimes there are just too many activities to do and you don’t want to miss out, which can get overwhelming and even stressful. So, I’ve made it easier for people to pick and choose without having the feeling that they’re missing out. I also like to take heaps of photos on my travels and share them on my Instagram page, hbananazzz, and on my blog fitandabroad.wixsite.com/hannahbanana

How I Manage Costs During My Travels

I try to travel as cheap as possible but not so dirt cheap, that it ruins the trip. I always calculate how much I will be spending on average per day and bring half of that in cash, and a half on a travel card, plus a bit extra. I always convert the cash before I go as airports don’t always have the best rates. I keep track of everything I spend so that I know if any money has gone missing. If I am in an expensive place, I try to buy supermarket food and make sandwiches to pack for picnic lunches and only eat out at dinner time. Supermarkets in Japan have restaurant-quality meals packed into plastic containers, so we had a few supermarket dinners which were very tasty when we were in Japan!

What Prevents Me From Traveling More

The biggest thing that prevents me from traveling is my job and only having 4 weeks of annual leave to accrue per year. I try to extend my trips by requesting unpaid leave but it’s not always approved. Another challenge is that Australia is so far away from other countries, that I can’t exactly nick to another country for the weekend. I try to do road trips on weekends when there is a public holiday on a Monday. At the moment, COVID-19 is preventing overseas travel, and Australians aren’t allowed to leave the country.

Advice for New Solo Female Travelers 

Be confident and enjoy the moment. You have decided to go solo, so go for it! Enjoy doing things on your own terms, wherever you want, and whenever. If you’re feeling lonely, stay at a hostel or guesthouse and make some friends. You might even feel like meeting up again with the people you just met later on in your trip, or you can spontaneously change your route to go with them. Keep in touch with the friends you make because that might lead to new destinations you can visit with free accommodation or at least a free tour guide to show you secret spots.

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