Wanderlust Without Worry: Safe Countries for Solo Female Travel

by | Jun 19, 2023 | 0 comments

Are you a solo female traveler with a passion for adventure but concerned about safety? Do you dream of exploring new destinations, meeting new people and immersing yourself in different cultures? Look no further! There are plenty of safe countries for solo female travel around the world that are breathtakingly beautiful and fun.

As an avid solo female traveler, I’ve researched and compiled a list of countries that are perfect for wanderlust without worry. So pack your bags, grab your passport and get ready to embark on a solo adventure of a lifetime! In this article, we’ll explore some of the top safe countries for solo female travelers that are waiting to be discovered by YOU!

safe countries for solo female travel

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Why Is Solo Female Travel Important?

Solo female travel empowers women to explore the world on their terms. It provides a unique opportunity to challenge yourself, build confidence and create unforgettable memories. Traveling solo allows you to step out of your comfort zone, push your boundaries and experience the world in a way that is not possible when traveling with others.

It also provides a sense of freedom and independence that you will carry with you the rest of your life. However, safety concerns can be a major barrier for women who want to travel alone. That’s why it’s essential to choose safe countries for solo female travelers. While there are hundreds of destinations outside this list that are safe for solo female travel, these destinations are the absolute safest choices and are perfect for your first solo trip.

solo female travel handbook

Top 10 Safe Countries for Solo Female Travel

safe solo female travel in iceland

1. Iceland

Iceland is a safe and welcoming country with low crime rates and a high standard of living. Solo female travelers who love nature will want Iceland to high on their list. It’s known for stunning natural landscapes, like glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes and hot springs, and outdoor activities. Reykjavik, the capital city, is also a vibrant and exciting destination with plenty of cultural attractions and nightlife.

Contrary to the name, Iceland is actually a very green country, though it’s cold year round with temps hanging around 50–55 °F even in summertime! You’ll want to be prepared for the weather, which can be unpredictable and harsh at certain times of year. You’ll also want to book tours with reputable companies and to follow the advice of local guides to stay safe in the terrain.

There are so many cool outdoor activities you can do in Iceland like whale watching, diving clear-as-glass water at the Silfra Fissure (where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet) and seeing giant blocks of ice along black sand on Diamond Beach. Plus, you can also see the Northern Lights in Iceland from September to April!

safe solo female travel destinations new zealand

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is a major bucket-list destination that’s an especially safe country for solo female travelers. It’s known for its natural beauty, including mountains, fjords (they call them sounds) beaches and forests. The people are friendly and welcoming, and there are plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, stargazing, camping and surfing. If you’re a foodie and wine lover, New Zealand has plenty to offer you as well with tons of vineyards and exceptional restaurants serving local dishes with lamb and seafood.

While New Zealand is made up of more than 600 islands, the two main islands with the majority of the population are called North Island and South Island. You’ll likely want to explore both on your trip because New Zealand is a long flight away if you’re living anywhere other than Australia and you probably won’t be back often.

It’s a perfect country for a road trip because it’s just so stunning everywhere you look, though you’ll want to prepare to drive on the left side of the road. While there are too many amazing sites and activities in New Zealand to list, the major highlights you don’t want to miss include the ice blue water of Lake Pukaki, stargazing in one of the dark sky reserves, visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings and a helicopter tour of a glacier with a snowy touchdown.

safe destinations for solo female travel ireland

3. Ireland

Ireland is an absolutely stunning country that’s perfect for a solo female travel road trip. From the vibrant cities of Dublin and Galway to the stunning natural beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Peninsula and Cliffs of Moher, Ireland is practically guaranteed to steal your heart. There is truly something for everyone in Ireland whether you’re into live music, hiking, surfing, history, city adventures or simply love a good Guinness.

Plus, it’s such a small country so you can see a lot in just a few days when you rent a car or do a bus tour. If you want to see the main sites like the Cliffs of Moher, castles and Dingle Peninsula, I have the perfect eight-day Ireland roadtrip itinerary. If you do decide to rent a car, you’ll want to mentally prepare to drive on the left side of the road, just like in New Zealand and Australia.

I’ve been to Ireland on three separate trips (one solo) and I think about it all the time. It’s just so green and so easy to travel and have a great time. One thing I love about Ireland is the local culture is really intact—people are really Irish there. It’s safe, the people are friendly and if you did nothing other than sip Guinness in local pubs with live music, you’d have the a great trip.

safe solo female travel in japan

4. Japan

Japan is a safe and fascinating destination that offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern culture. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, there’s plenty to see and do for foodies (hello sushi and ramen!), culture lovers and outdoor adventurers.

Tokyo is a bustling city that’s full of energy and excitement. You can spend days exploring the city’s many neighborhoods, like Shibuya and Shinjuku, and checking out the local cuisine, shopping and nightlife. Kyoto on the other hand, is a cultural hotspot. It’s where you’ll visit ancient temples and shrines, have a traditional tea experience, stroll through beautiful Japanese gardens and even try on a traditional kimono. (I strongly recommend reading Memoirs of a Geisha before you visit Kyoto).

If you’re looking to challenge yourself, you can hike Mount Fuji, a sacred site and Japan’s highest mountain. After, you’ll definitely want to soak in an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring known for it’s healing properties. You can also take a scenic train ride around the base of the mountain if hiking isn’t your thing.

safe countries for solo female travel norway

5. Norway

Norway is a stunning country that boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. As a solo female traveler, there are plenty of things to see and do here. The country is known for its fjords, mountains and northern lights, but Oslo, the capital city, is also an exciting spot with plenty of cultural attractions and nightlife.

One of the top things to do in Norway is to explore the fjords. You can take a cruise or hike along the fjords to truly appreciate their beauty. Speaking of hiking, Norway is home to some of the best hiking trails in the world, including the famous Trolltunga and Preikestolen. For a taste of Norwegian culture, you want to explore the cities of Oslo and Bergen. Both cities have some of Norway’s best museums and galleries and they’re great spots to try local seafood and reindeer dishes.

If you want to see the Northern Lights, Tromsø, Norway is one of the best places in the world to see them. Tromsø also has husky dog sledding and if you’re into freediving you can also freedive with Orcas in Tromsø, Norway. It’s high on my bucket list!

safest places for solo female travel switzerland

6. Switzerland

Switzerland is a safe and picturesque country that’s perfect for exploring on your own. The country is known for its stunning natural beauty, including mountains, lakes and forests. And with it’s world-famous cheese and chocolate, you’re sure to have an amazing time.

First up, you’ve got to visit the Swiss Alps. The mountains are absolutely stunning and offer a wide range of activities, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and paragliding. Next, make sure to spend some time in Zurich. This city is known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious food (you MUST try raclette cheese) and amazing shopping. You can also check out some of the city’s museums and galleries to get a taste of Swiss culture. For a taste of history, you’ll want to head to Geneva, where the United Nations is located. You can also visit the famous Jet d’Eau there, a huge fountain that shoots water 140 meters into the air!

If you make Switzerland part of a multi-country trip through Europe, consider traveling to Zurich in a panoramic cabin on the Bernina Express train—it’s absolutely magical and gives you major Harry Potter vibes in the winter.

safe solo female travel in costa rica

7. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a nature and wellness haven with dreamy beaches, rainforests and volcanoes. It’s the perfect place to find rest for your soul among the elements with plenty of surf, yoga and hiking opportunities. Plus, the food is so fresh and delicious. Costa Rica is actually the first place I traveled solo. I went to Santa Teresa, a little beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula with fantastic surf (even for beginners!) and tons of excellent yoga studios. If you end up going there, I recommend staying at Selina Santa Teresa North.

There’s so much to see in this diverse country, you’ll probably want to focus your trip on one area. If you stay more inland, you’ll definitely want to explore Arenal Volcano. It’s an active volcano with great hiking and you can soak in the nearby hot springs for relaxation after your adventure. If seeing wildlife is your goal, you’ll want to go to Manuel Antonio National Park along the coast where you’ll see amazing wildlife like sloths, monkeys and exotic birds like rainbow macaws.

Okay, now beach-wise, I’d head to Tamarindo, Santa Teresa and Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula. These spots have breathtaking beaches that are perfect for surfing, sunbathing or just relaxing with a good book (The Book by Alan Watts will seriously change your world). Plus, you’ll find plenty of yoga studios, spas and delicious restaurants with the freshest local food. If you choose Costa Rica for your solo trip, my carry-on beach vacation packing list will make packing a breeze and ensure you have everything you need.

safe countries for solo female travel sydney, australia

8. Australia

Ahhhh, Australia!—The wild and adventurous country with beauty above and below the surface…and ridiculously attractive accents. This huge country is totally safe for female travelers and it offers SO many different options because it’s more than a country, it’s a continent! When traveling to Australia, I recommend picking one or two cities if you’re traveling for less than a month.

In Sydney, you’ll see iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, explore vibrant neighborhoods like Surry Hills and Newtown, and enjoy nightlife in Kings Cross. Bondi Beach is an amazing place to stay in the Sydney area with tons of great restaurants, surf and a beautiful coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee. Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, is a great destination for solo female travelers who want an arts and music scene. Take a stroll along the Yarra River, explore the laneways and street art in the city center, visit the famous Queen Victoria Market and indulge in the world-class coffee and food culture.

Up north in Cairns, it’s a paradise for nature lovers. This is where you’ll scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and visit the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest. In central Australia, you can visit Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, which is a sacred site for the indigenous Anangu people.

safe countries for solo female travel denmark

9. Denmark

Denmark is a small country in Northern Europe that’s known for stunning architecture, viking history and natural beauty. The people are super friendly (and beautiful!) and there’s tons of delicious food and beer options.

In Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, you’ll take a stroll along the colorful Nyhavn harbor, visit the iconic Little Mermaid statue and explore the historic Tivoli Gardens amusement park. Copenhagen is also known for its world-class food scene, with plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants and street food markets to choose from. Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, is perfect if you’re interested in history and culture. You can visit the Viking Museum, explore the open-air museum of Den Gamle By, and take a stroll along the Aarhus River.

The island of Bornholm, in the Baltic Sea, is a popular destination for outdoor activities. If you want to snap photos of stunning coastline and medieval ruins like Hammershus Castle before dining on unforgettable food and drink, this is your spot. In western Denmark, the Jutland Peninsula has even more rugged natural landscapes. Top spots to visit there are the Wadden Sea National Park, the Mols Bjerge National Park and the rugged coastline of the North Sea.

safe countries for solo female travel south korea

10. South Korea

South Korea is one of my favorite safe countries for solo female travel because it’s safe, it’s modern, there’s amazing food and nightlife, and it’s a totally different culture. Whether you want to explore the many districts of Seoul, see the cherry blossoms, or hike your heart out on the many mountains, South Korea will give you an amazing solo female trip!

Seoul is a huge, international city with amazing public transport that can get you all across the city or even the country. Whether you want to shop in Hongdae, eat Korean BBQ or see historical Korean temples, it’s all there. While you’re there, you must try bibimbap, a traditional Korean meal, and soju, the rice based spirit that you can buy in almost any convenience store or grocery in Korea. If you love hiking, there are plenty of mountains surrounding Seoul, but I recommend going to a little beach town called Sokcho and hiking the tallest mountain in South Korea, Seoraksan.

South Korea really does have it all. If you take a quick flight to Jeju Island, you’ll be in a tropical paradise with beaches, waterfalls, mountains (Hallasan will CHANGE you!) and fresh citrus treats because the island is famous for growing Jeju mandarins and tangerines. Some of the top things to do on Jeju Island include Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, a prehistoric crater, Udo Island and Loveland.

where to book flights for safe solo female travel

How to Book Your Trip to a Country Safe for Solo Female Travel

I’ve used A LOT of different companies and websites to book by solo trips, some are better than others. These are my go-to sites for booking everything travel-related.

Where to Book Flights

I always book flights on Skyscanner because it’s where I’ve historically found the best deals. I’ll usually do research on Google Flights and Momondo also, then book on whichever offers the best price—which is usually Skyscanner.

Best Site to Book a Rental Car

DiscoverCars.com is my go-to site go booking rental cars. I always get amazing deals and it consistently has the best prices when I compare with other sites. The one time I didn’t book a rental car in advance in Turkey, I paid triple what I would have if I reserved it on DiscoverCars.

Best Sites to Book Reliable Tours

The easiest sites for booking tours hassle-free are GetYourGuide and Viator. The first time I used GetYourGuide I did two back to back tours in Dubrovnik, Croatia and I had such a great time, I was SOLD on using them for all my travels.

Where to Book Hotels

I don’t book hotels often, but when I do I use Booking.com. There’s nothing fancy about it, it just has the biggest selection of quality hotels and it’s easy to use—that’s why you see it everywhere!

Where to Book Hostels

Hostelworld is so reliable when it comes to booking hostels around the entire world. They have the largest directory of hostels I’ve seen compared with other sites, and they list all the important information like reviews, location details and all the hostel amenities so you know exactly what to expect. I’ve used Hostelworld to book hostels in more than 20 countries!

packing for safe countries for solo female travel

Safe Countries for Solo Female Travel: 10 Essential Items to Pack

I strongly recommend packing just a carry-on bag and traveling light because it makes it SO much easier for you to get around in your destination. It also ensures you don’t bring way more than you need and end up being responsible for all of it while you travel. These are the essentials I recommend for any trip, but you’ll get much more detailed packing tips for the weather in your destination when you download my free Carry-On Only Packing Lists below or go to my Resources Page.

1. Carry-On Backpack

I always travel with a carry-on backpack because it keeps my hands free, allows me to easily take stairs or walk on unpaved surfaces and it’s just easier overall. The Cotopaxi Allpa 42L Travel Pack is the backpack I use and recommend. I absolutely love it because it meets carry-on requirements, has a convenient clam-shell opening like a suitcase and the outside has no visible pockets. For a more affordable option, I recommend the SEMSTY 40L+10L Travel Backpack. It holds up really well, fits A TON and has convenient pockets for everything.

If a backpack is a no-go for you, I recommend a durable carry-on size suitcase like the 20″ Hanke Carry-On Suitcase. The benefit to bringing a suitcase is you can bring a small backpack as your personal item and slip it right on top of your suitcase in transit.

2. Packing Cubes

If you haven’t hopped on the packing cube train yet—WHAT are you waiting for! Packing cubes are absolute game changers when it comes to organization and packing light. The key is to find the right cubes for your bag and roll your clothes tightly when it makes sense. If you have a clam-shell backpack or suitcase, these mesh compression packing cubes that are different sizes will work great. If you are using a backpack with one main compartment, I recommend getting these packing cubes that are all the same size because when you stack them on top of each other, you can fit more and your bag still has a smooth shape.

2. Crossbody Purse

A packable crossbody purse is a must because you may not need it in transit but you’ll definitely use it when out and about in cities. Lately I’ve been using these crossbody fanny pack purses because you can wear it as a crossbody with the main pouch right on your front, or a fanny pack. Otherwise, I opt for a simple black crossbody purse that goes with everything. If you’ll feel more comfortable with an anti-theft purse, the Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody is a stylish option.

3. Compact Daypack

Okay, I’m almost done talking about bags—I swear! A compact daypack is a must for when you go hiking or head to the beach because you don’t want to bring your huge main carry-on bag but you need to carry more than will fit in your purse. This Outlander Waterproof Daypack is easy to pack because it folds up into nothing and it’s the perfect size to fit a towel, water bottle, snacks and change of clothes.

I also love this stylish convertible backpack/purse. It’s not packable but it makes a great personal item whether you’re using a backpack or suitcase for your main carry-on bag. You can carry it as a purse in the airport and wear it as a daypack when out and about.

4. Outlet Adapter

This plug adapter works great for international travel because it has a standard outlet and USB outlets. Just be sure to get one to every country you’re traveling to if you’re going to multiple countries for solo female travelers.

5. Quick-Drying Travel Towel

A quick-drying travel towel is a must for solo traveler, especially if you’re staying in hostels. Alternatively, you could bring a thin Turkish towel if you want something a little more stylish and beach-friendly.

6. Chambray Shirt

I bring a cotton chambray shirt on every single trip! Why? Because they are so stylish and versatile. You can wear it as light cardigan when chilly, as a beach coverup or as a layer under a sweater or jacket in cold destinations. Plus, they dress up really well with a pair of jeans when work as a button-up shirt.

7. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must for any trip, but the weather of your destination will determine what kind of shoes. I aim to bring just two pairs of shoes on every trip. A pair of sandals and tennis shoes on warm trips and a pair of tennis shoes and boots on cold trips.

I love the look of white tennis shoes but refuse to wear them because I can’t stand when shoes look dirty. My go-to is simple navy tennis shoes because they still go with everything and aren’t as harsh-looking as black. My go-to for comfort are the OLUKAI Pehuea Li Women’s Slip On Sneakers but a cheaper option that is comfortable and cute is the VenusCelia Lace Up Sneaker.

Sandals-wise, you can’t go wrong with the all black Reef Vista Sandals. They’re so comfortable and they look amazing with everything. For boots, I’ve been keeping in simple on my most recent trips with these affordable Asgard Chelsea Rain Boots. They’re stylish and more comfortable than the three name brand pairs of boots I tried on and about 20% of the price.

8. Cheap Sunglasses

Traveling is the time for many things, but nice sunglasses is not one of them. My go-to sunglasses are these polarized shades in amber tortoise. If you’re looking for a pair that’s a little more festive, go for the two pack of Joopin Round Hippie Sunglasses. They don’t last very long but man do they look good in photos!

9. Hat & Hat Clip

If you’re going anywhere that it’s not the dead of winter, bring a hat! I alternate between this versatile baseball cap and a wide-brimmed hat that’s a little more stylish. You’ll also want to bring a hat clip so you don’t have to smush your hat in your bag and it’s always within reach on your bag! These hat clips were a lifesaver when I was bringing my wide-brimmed hat everywhere with me in Egypt.

10. Kindle eReader or Book

If you’re a big reader, this packing essential needs no explanation. And if you’re not, there’s no better a time to take up reading than on your solo female trip! I bring my Kindle with me on every trip because it allows me to read 2+ books without lugging books around. Plus it fits in my small purse. If you need travel book recommendations, my favorites are The Alchemist, The Happiness Project and The Book by Alan Watts.

solo female travel safety

13 Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

These are the safety tips I live by when traveling solo.

1. Don’t say you’re traveling solo.

If you get a bad feeling or feel uncomfortable around someone, don’t tell them you’re traveling solo. Say you’re meeting a friend/boyfriend/husband shortly.

2. Walk with purpose.

Walk like you know where you’re going and make eye contact with people while walking (unless eye contact is culturally disrespectful in the destination, like in Japan).

3. Stay alert when walking.

Don’t look down at your phone or wear headphones while walking around. If you need your phone for directions, make an effort to stay aware and not draw attention to it.

4. Wear a crossbody purse.

Carry your purse across your body or carry a backpack on your frontside in crowded places.

5. Don’t use your back pockets.

Never put money or your phone in your back pocket or coat pockets.

6. Disperse money and cards.

Disperse your money and credit cards throughout your person and at your accommodations. For example, $50 in your purse, $20 in your bra, $20 in your front pocket and the rest back in your room. This way, if you get robbed or pickpocketed, you don’t lose everything and you have money to get home or get the necessary resources to contact family back home.

7. Protect your drink.

Keep your drink with you at all times and never accept a drink you didn’t watch someone make.

8. Better yet, don’t drink.

Don’t drink or limit consumption of alcohol so you stay in your right mind and avoid blacking out.

9. Only use registered cabs.

Never get into an unmarked cab or a cab because the driver solicits you. Have the hotel or restaurant call you a trusted cab service or choose a marked cab yourself.

10. Beware of the water.

In places with water that’s not safe to drink, such as South America or Southeast Asia, only drink from bottle water or at restaurants that cater to tourists and use purified water and ice. Brush your teeth with fresh water from a bottle rather than sink water. Only eat fruit that you can peel or wash really well with purified water.

11. Make your whereabouts known.

Never go home with someone without telling someone else where you’re going and who you’re going with. Even better, get the contact information from the ID of the person you’re going with and share that with a trusted person in your destination and back home.

12. Don’t do drugs.

Don’t do drugs. Different countries have different laws regarding drugs and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not to mention, doing drugs generally puts you in more dangerous situations just by the people and places it puts you around.

13. Listen to your gut! If you have a bad feeling, listen to it.

This is your rule to live by! Your body and brain can sense things that you can’t understand. That’s why it’s so important to always listen to your gut or any bad feelings you have about a person, place or situation. You’ll never be sorry you did but you might be sorry you didn’t.

solo female travel handbook ebook

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I’m Tara Weber: copywriter, yoga instructor and avid world traveler with a passion for helping women build self confidence and independence so they can live the life they dream of. No matter how unconventional!

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