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Solo female travelling for the first time?

Posted by tkay on 2/12/2014 at 16:17

Im 19, and plan to go to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia for 3 months, solo. I know you meet people along the way, however I do not want to rely on that. I have no experience backpacking or travelling alone. Is this safe? I know a girl who went solo when she was 18 and said it was perfectly safe, though I wanted more input. Also, is 5 countries covering too much ground for 3 months? I was thinking that it was reasonable since I would have at least two weeks in each. Any tips/advice is greatly appreciated!!!

#1 tkay has been a member since 2/12/2014. Posts: 1


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Posted by altmtl on 2/12/2014 at 17:54

It is safe, but you may want to cut down on on the amount of countries - less is more

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by exacto on 2/12/2014 at 19:36

hi tkay,

welcome to travelfish!

i've seen hundreds of young, single female travellers all over southeast asia throughout the years, and they get along just fine. so will you. as a percentage, i probably saw more single female travellers on my last trip to indonesia than any other previous trip to southeast asia.

of course, you'll want to use good judgement in your travels, such as being aware of your surroundings, not drinking too much alcohol at any one time (if you drink), and not accepting drinks from strangers, etc. otherwise, southeast asia certainly feels safer to me than any major US city, for example.

there is also a very good basic information section here on travelfish in the Planning tab above with heaps of good tips. give it a look.

as for the amount of time you've got vs. the places you want to visit, i agree with the others that those three months will go quickly and you'll only be able to skim the highlights, particularly in indonesia. if it were me, i'd skip either vietnam or indonesia on this trip to make sure you've got enough time to enjoy the other countries to the fullest. i hope that helps. cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,779
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Posted by MADMAC on 3/12/2014 at 00:13

Three months, three countries. That's what I'd recommend. Thailand, Laos Cambodia.

In some ways here it's safer than the US where I am from. In some ways, it's not.

Gun violence is high here, but rarely directed at tourists.

Traffic accidents are probably your greatest risk. Not much you can do to mitigate it though.

As exacto says, use common sense, don't get hammered, watch out for those naughty little male predators out there and you should be fine.

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Posted by busylizzy on 3/12/2014 at 15:57

I'm a bit older than you, but I've travelled around for the last 18+ months mostly on my own, as well as on previous trips. SE Asia is generally very safe, both on the tourist trail and off the beaten path. Just use common sense, as mentioned by the posters above. Keep an eye on your stuff, and don't wander around along late at night, especially while drunk, in dark alley ways - the same sort of common sense that you would hopefully follow at home. Don't keep your phone, wallet/purse by an open window, or even by a locked window at night. Don't lock your computer in your bag, but leave the cables, etc lying around your room, which will bring attention to the fact that you are carrying electronics. If you carry a purse/hand bag, carry it across your chest rather than over your shoulder. (There have been some problems in certain cities of drive by bag snatching).

With respect to 'stuff'', I always keep valuables on my person when moving from one place to the next (in my day pack, NEVER ever in my main pack that will not be in my possession on planes, trains and buses). My passport, the bulk of my cash, spare credit and ATM cards, electronics are then usually left locked in my bigger pack in the room once I check in - I just carry my phone, camera, enough cash for a day or two, an ATM card and a laminated copy of my passport.

I hate to say it, but don't assume that you can trust other travellers - they are often the ones that you especially have to keep an eye on.

Follow all of that and you will be fine. Being scammed might be a bigger worry for a newbie traveller - but just use common sense and do your research. And it's not just naughty men you have to watch out for - girls/women can be just as devious as the guys.

I also agree with the others - don't try to overplan and fit in too many countries, As much as I love Indonesia, I would tend to suggest that you skip it this trip and focus on the other four. But if you go, just limit yourself to Bali - don't try to see 3-4 Indonesia islands as travel is just too slow there. I'd suggest flying into Thailand and start there, sketching out a rough itinerary to make a circuit through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. You can do most of it overland (but maybe allow for the odd flight to save yourself 12 hours on a bus) but don't pre-book flights or activities to give yourself plenty of flexibility to change your plans as you go. If you find that you still have time, you can then grab a cheap flight fairly easily to Bali. But my bet is - you'll run out of time!

Most importantly - just go and have fun. You will meet plenty of other travellers especially in SE Asia and your plans will evolve as you decide to tag along with others.

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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