Finding accommodation, as a solo female backpacker can be tricky – it’s difficult to strike the balance between budget-friendly and safe and secure. No one wants to feel anxious where their rest their head, but that’s no reason you should feel you need to pay more than the boys! Here’s some tips for finding a budget bed that you can sleep soundly in.
Many hostels offer female-only dorms. While mixed gender dorms are usually safe (and can be a lot of fun), female-only accommodation does offer an intrinsic extra level of security. As an added bonus, there can be a beautiful spirit of community in these “girls only” spaces – sleeping in bunk beds full of travelling girls in a foreign country is sort of like summer camp for backpacker chicks. You’ll meet other strong, smart, independent girls like yourself who make for interesting, curious temporary travel buddies and lifelong friends.
Mixed gender dorms can be great fun as well. While at first group accommodation feels risky, in some ways it offers a great feeling of community and security – you’ll never be alone! Just make sure you read the reviews for your hostel for a good indicator of the atmosphere and spirit of the place. Some hostels thrive at fostering a sense of community – others can be incredibly cold and off-putting. A look at the reviews when booking will give you a good sense of which. When you arrive, be friendly and introduce yourself – the more people you connect with, the safer you’ll feel.
No Worries Night Travel
Overnight transport is a budget backpacking no-brainer; combining transport and accommodation costs just makes sense, and it saves your valuable daylight hours for filling with adventures. But for solo girls-on-the-go, getting your shut-eye on a bus, train, or boat can be an anxiety-ridden experience. It doesn’t have to be – for starters, it’s always possible to ask for a female roommate on any train, though it doesn’t guarantee anything. Some overnight European trains do have female only cars – though they are more expensive than other options. You can also rent a couchette on some trains for a slightly higher price. It means sharing a lockable, attendant-watched compartment with a few other travellers.
If these ideas don’t appeal, there are simpler (and cheaper) options for finding safety on overnight transport. For starters, it never hurts to ask for a top-bunk – it’s easier to accommodate and guarantee than a female bunkmate, and it doesn’t cost extra. You’ll feel more secure knowing that you and your belongings are out of easy reach. Finally, seek out families and women in choose-your-own seating situations. It may not be as peaceful as an empty train car or an abandoned boat corner, but the peace of mind of knowing you’re being looked out for will help you sleep soundly.