Road Safe: Clever Tips for Women on Solo Road Trips

Tips for women traveling alone. Single travel, for the best solo road trips.
Tips for women traveling alone, for the best solo road trips.

Solo Journey: Tips For Women Alone on the Road

By Jamie Zunick

Solo road trip ideas: The Sweetness of Life by Jamie Zunick.
Solo road trip ideas: The Sweetness of Life by Jamie Zunick.

I am a life-long seeker and explorer. Over the past several years, I have made extensive journeys through Europe, Britain, Thailand, and Malaysia. My most exciting and enjoyable experiences, however, have always been my many cross-country road trips.

Traveling alone by car through the United States is a very personal and sacred ritual for me.

I always enjoy the freedom of driving down an open highway somewhere in America. I need to be on the road to feel completely alive. I feel in charge of my own journey and my own destiny.

Long solo road trips are the best part of my life. However, as a single woman traveling alone, I have learned how to take care of myself so that the journey can be pleasant and enjoyable. This list contains my suggestions for safe travel and solo road trip ideas for any woman who enjoys solitary journeys.

Taking a bike tour with a group can make a solo road trip less lonely.
Taking a bike tour with a group can make a solo road trip less lonely.

Jamie’s Single Travel Safety Tips for Women

Always let someone know where you are—Though you may enjoy the freedom of feeling “lost” on the highway, it’s always best to check in with a family member or friend so someone always knows where to find you. Texting is a quick and easy way to share your whereabouts.

• Do not pick up strangers—Do not offer rides or agree to share a room with anyone you don’t know. Though you may think the person you are helping is harmless, you can never fully know someone’s true intentions after just a few minutes of conversation.

It’s hard to get rid of someone later, so don’t get into this situation by picking them up in the first place.

• Do not over-pack—Take only the items you absolutely need. Don’t add to the stress of traveling by protecting or worrying about items you may not even use.

• Take your car to the auto shop—If you’re not renting a car for your trip, always take your car in for service. Make sure your car is “road ready,” and that your oil is changed, tires are in good shape, antifreeze, and the heater are all working and there is not a lot of junk in your trunk. Start out fresh and clean!

• Don’t stop for someone stranded on the side of the road—Though you may feel compelled to assist someone in trouble, if you’re alone, don’t stop unless you are sure it’s safe. It’s always a good idea to get to a safe place first and then call for help for the stranded driver, dialing 911 is helping out enough.

Women dining with local Mario on the Island of Procida. Photo by Travel Italian Style road safe
Women dining with local Mario on the Island of Procida. Photo by Travel Italian Style.

• Be aware of your surroundings—Pay attention to details. When traveling to new locations, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement. Always be aware of where you are and the people around you.

• Eat well and get plenty of sleep—Take care of yourself physically so you can focus while you’re on the road.

You can easily become frustrated, distracted, or impatient if you are not taking care of your overall well-being. Don’t try to drive overnight, there is always a risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

• Stay in a nicer hotel—Though it may depend on your budget, it is always best to stay in a safe, secure location. Check reservations ahead of time.

Using services like Airbnb, which are rated by other travelers, is a good way to get a safe cheap place to stay. In some cases, Couchsurfing can provide you with a place, be safe, and choose another woman to stay with.

• Do not carry a lot of cash—Only carry the amount of cash that you may need for the trip and do not expose the amount of money you have to anyone. The best deals on currency exchange are using the ATM, so there is no need for big bills that might get stolen.

• Dress conservatively—Once you reach your destination, dress any way that fits the location and occasion. When traveling alone, however, it is best to dress down and not bring attention to yourself. Modesty is not only a virtue, but it’s also a good way to blend in.

• Carry additional sanitary items—Always pack additional sanitary items just in case there is not a convenient location to purchase products when you need it.

Be safe on the road, with or without your BFFs.
Be safe on the road, with or without your BFFs.

• Do not let strangers know you are traveling alone—If people know you are traveling alone, you may be considered an “easy target.”

• Stop at places that are busy and well-lit—Look for locations that have other people around. Do not stop at deserted, dark places.

It’s always a good idea to look like you know where you are and where you are going. If you have to ask for directions, casually ask employees at the establishment instead of random strangers. Be careful of walking and using your phone, these unaware moments can sometimes present opportunities for crime.

• Create a schedule for traveling—Know what time you want to begin your journey every day and, especially, know when you want to be off the road at night.

• Have reliable resources—Make sure all maps, guides, and other information are up-to-date.

• Let someone else know you’re timetable—Inform someone what day and time you are leaving and when you while be returning home.

• Notify credit card companies—Some credit card companies will block your card if they see “suspicious” activity like continuous gas charges. Inform companies that you will be traveling so they do not cut off your credit.

 solo travel for women, traveling alone.
Make your next trip your best solo trip ever.

• Carry blankets and extra snacks and water with you—Carry additional essentials with you in case you become stranded or lost somewhere. Put a flashlight and a good knife in your car’s glove compartment.

•Don’t open bags or purses in front of anyone—Keep your personal valuable possessions covered and out of sight. Do not flash around any cash or let people see how many credit cards you have.

• Always have maps and know how to read them—GPS systems may not always be reliable; carry current road atlases with you and know how to read them as a backup resource. Trace out alternative routes. Always have a Plan B route figured out in case your original highway choices are closed or backed up with traffic.

• Keep the cell phone charged—Before you start out on the road each day, charge your cell phone so it is ready for use in case of emergencies. You can also buy a portable battery to extend the phone’s life in case there is not a charger handy.

• Travel with a pet—Bringing a dog on the road with you can deter strangers and give you companionship during long drives.

• Stay alert behind the wheel—No distracted driving. Stay focused especially in unfamiliar areas where you are not familiar with the highways.

• Listen to weather reports—Be aware of the weather conditions where you are traveling and prepare accordingly. Many times, I have had to pull off to the side of a road and wait for a storm to pass. Be safe and be prepared.

• Always carry ID safely—Store all paperwork (driver’s license, registration, and insurance information) together in a safe, convenient place for easy access.

I have detailed some of my road trips in my current book The Sweetness of Life. I hope it inspires people to start their own pleasant journeys safely and confidently.

Jamie Zunick
Jamie Zunick


Jamie Zunick graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Jamie has also published poetry in various journals and has worked as a reporter for the Los Alamos Monitor in New Mexico and Hullfire in Hull, England, where she was also the Arts Editor. She currently lives in Palm Springs, California, where she teaches English and math at a local college and continues her energy healing work. The Sweetness of Life is her first book published by Balboa Press.

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11 thoughts on “Road Safe: Clever Tips for Women on Solo Road Trips

  1. Funny, I read a comment from a Brazilian (Altair) she is my age and I’m also Brazilian traveling by myself for the first time on the road, it will be 21 hours and 40 minutes, I’m planning to stop when tired, had back surgery 5 months ago. so I’m nervous mostly because my car will be packed.
    Thal you for the tips it helped a lot.

  2. DO NOT stay at an AirBnB over a proper hotel if traveling alone!! There is NO security for AirBnB and there are many cases of women being assaulted by either the owners or someone who managed to get a key because ID wasn’t being checked. Their business model is “people trusting people” and that is simply not an option when you’re a woman traveling alone.

  3. I am 73y/o widow driving from Md to Marco Island FL for month of Feb. with 2 dogs. Thanks for insights. I’m driving only 6 hours a day to save my back.. Have never driven this far alone and am so excited. Have nice hotel stops coming and going. My biggest problem is packing around 2 dogs cages. I love clothes so HAVE
    to bring them haha. I was going to carry loads of cash so thanks for that tip. I HATE paying ATM fees. I feel encouraged. Who knows? If this goes well I may start more adventures as a “lil old lady”

  4. Wonderful tips. I really enjoyed this blog. I always travel solo. These tips are gonna help me a lot. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

    1. Love this column and am feeling nostalgic for more carefree times on the road- car AND bicycle. The current social unrest has me fearful for another 800 mile round trip from my VA home to family in NJ, NY metro area. I follow all of Jamie’s advice (sans pet) but know the news reports are not carrying every instance of a driver inadvertently turning a corner into a protest march ( i.e. young mom in a car in Fredericksburg VA) or subject to a rage attack or forced off a road and falling victim to a “crime of opportunity” alone on a highway. Life doesn’t promise us safety, but do you believe the risk of personal attack has increased and are there other ways to reduce that risk? I would like to travel alone and visit aging family more often, but now, concerns for staying safe from COVID 19 are compounded by the danger of angry encounters with militant protestors.

  5. Thank you so much. I am twenty-four, about to be twenty-five, and I am about to head out on the road by myself in December for the first time. I am travelling to see family in GA, I am from IL. I’ve been a nervous wreck, nothing but anxiety. Luckily, I will be having my dog with me to keep me companionship, and to keep me focused.

    1. Thank you for the tips. I’m moving from Maine to California. I’ve done the 2500 or more mile drive but this will be the 2nd time alone. The first time alone, my husband made me go. I had to take my wonderful prized fish, that died. It was heartbreaking.He made me leave in the middle of the night with fish and my bird. I wasn’t prepared in any way.

      This time it’s me and my small dog. I’m very prepared. I have an extended cab truck covers bed with things I’m taking. I read your tips , and wish somehow I could show the husband something of what he did to me. I stayed at a motel in Tennessee I found right away that it wasn’t safe. My bird and I left an hour later. I sure wish I would have had these tips. Thanks again.

  6. Thanks for sharing!!! I”m a woman (56) from Brazil and retired recently. Then, now I intend to go for a trip by my car around my country that is big, too. As I didn”t find informations in Portuguese, as I looked, I wrote in English and got here in your site. I will leave from São Paulo state and will drive to the north mainly along the coast, then later I will down by the interior of the country. Very good tips.

  7. Hello
    Your article is great one as you select one important topic as in our modern life the role of women in society, family and in all level is increased which will impose her to continuous travel decision alone and your article give all women important tips to enjoy more safe and entertaining trip, Thanks

  8. This was very helpful I’m gonna be doing a 21 hour drive for thanksgiving and man I’m kinda scared but excited its my first time driving that long by myself but I see it as a spiritual adventure. Thank you for the tips

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