There is something truly magical about stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on a journey of self-discovery and life lessons. As a woman living abroad, I have had the privilege of exploring some of the most breathtaking destinations the world has to offer. From enchanting cities to awe-inspiring landscapes, each place has left an indelible mark on my soul.
Join me as I recount my personal experiences and share the best places to visit as a solo traveler for fellow adventurous women seeking to embark on their own empowering journeys.
Things to Know Before You Go
Now that you’re gearing up for your trip and planning the specifics of where and when you’ll go, there are a few things you don’t need to overlook.
I know just how easy it is to look towards the big hike, bucket list city, or beach of my dreams and forget about all of the little things in between that’ll make your trip run as smoothly as possible. Be sure to take into consideration these few things before you go to make sure you get all the good bits of your trip without the stress.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. A good travel insurance, like SafetyWing, will ensure you’re covered in case of emergencies. While you will have to pay upfront for your doctor or hospital costs, unless it’s for a pre-existing condition, you can file a claim and should be reimbursed. For any Americans reading this, fear not, healthcare in pretty much every other country is far more affordable than ours, even if you’re paying out of pocket.
- Do your best to learn a few local phrases in their language. No, I’m not expecting you to be able to have a fluid conversation with locals at the bus stop if you’re just visiting their country for a week but knowing your numbers (for prices), how to order something (“I would like…”), and basic greetings really will take you a long way. Mondly is a great app for phrases and vocabulary.
- Book any popular tours you want to do in advance. I’m really not a great planner and I’ve made this mistake more times than I can count. I plan a trip to a destination knowing that I want to do a sailboat trip or food tour and wait until the day before to book only to realize it’s not available the day I’m in town. Don’t make that mistake - if there is something you know you want to do - book your tour in advance.
- Same thing goes for rental cars. If you want to rent a car to cover more ground in a country, do it in advance. Prices will be more affordable and that way you’re guaranteed to have your wheels waiting for you.
- Last tip certainly isn’t mandatory but it is helpful. Before you start booking your flights, hotels, and tours, consider opening up a travel credit card. Thanks to our Capital One Venture card, my husband and I have gotten countless free flights just by gaining points on everyday expenses.
Marrakech, Morocco: A Sensory Delight
The bustling streets of Marrakech beckon with their vibrant colors and intoxicating aromas. As I wandered through the winding alleys of the medina, I discovered hidden gems like the Bahia Palace, a mesmerizing architectural masterpiece. The local markets, or souks, offered a sensory overload, with colorful textiles, spices, and handmade crafts. Experiencing a traditional hammam was a highlight, where I indulged in a rejuvenating spa treatment like no other.
Kyoto, Japan: Tranquility Amidst Tradition
Among the best places to live in Japan, stepping into Kyoto felt like stepping back in time. The city's rich cultural heritage and stunning temples offered a serene escape from the modern world. I found solace in the peaceful gardens of Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, and explored the enchanting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Embracing the tradition of wearing a kimono, I wandered through the historic streets of Gion, catching glimpses of geishas gracefully passing by. Kyoto is a testament to the beauty of preserving traditions in a fast-paced world.
If you're like me and fall head over heels with Kyoto or Japan in general, you could call this stunning place home. Learn how to get a job teaching English in Japan or open up more doors with a Working Holiday Visa.
Cape Town, South Africa: Nature's Playground
Nestled between the majestic Table Mountain and the glistening ocean, Cape Town is a paradise for adventure seekers and easily one of the best places to visit in South Africa. I hiked to the summit of Table Mountain, marveling at the panoramic views that stretched as far as the eye could see. Exploring the Cape Peninsula, I encountered playful penguins at Boulders Beach and witnessed the rugged beauty of Cape Point. Immersing myself in the vibrant culture of the city, I discovered the vibrant markets and savored the flavors of South African cuisine.
Reykjavik, Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice
Iceland, a land of dramatic landscapes, captivated me with its ethereal beauty. Daily it beckons photographers and travelers like. The Blue Lagoon provided a surreal experience as I soaked in the geothermal waters surrounded by volcanic rocks. Driving along the famous Golden Circle, I witnessed the explosive power of geysers and marveled at the cascading waterfalls, such as Gullfoss. The highlight of my trip was witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights dancing across the night sky, a truly awe-inspiring spectacle.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: The Soul of Tango
Buenos Aires exudes passion and energy, captivating visitors with its vibrant nightlife and rich cultural heritage. I immersed myself in the sultry world of tango, taking dance lessons and witnessing passionate performances in milongas. Exploring the charming neighborhood of La Boca, with its colorful houses and street art, was a feast for the eyes. Indulging in delectable Argentine cuisine, I savored mouthwatering steaks paired with world-renowned Malbec wines. While there are plenty of incredible places to visit in South America, Buenos Aires is one of my favorites. Love it as much as I did? Stay longer and see what living in Buenos Aires is all about.
Sydney, Australia: A Harbor City with Endless Surprises
Sydney, with its iconic landmarks and laid-back atmosphere, captured my heart from the moment I arrived. Exploring the Sydney Harbour, I marveled at the architectural masterpiece of the Sydney Opera House, a true symbol of the city. Bondi Beach offered a perfect blend of relaxation and vibrant beach culture, where I soaked up the sun and watched surfers ride the waves. Venturing into the Blue Mountains, I discovered the breathtaking beauty of its deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and serene hiking trails.
As a woman living abroad, Sydney became more than just a travel destination for me—it became my new home. I vividly remember the excitement and nerves I felt when I received my 190 visa, granting me the opportunity to work and live in this vibrant city. Another great visa option is the Working Holiday Visa. From the bustling streets of Darling Harbour to the charming neighborhoods like Paddington and Newtown, I immersed myself in the diverse culture and embraced the warm, welcoming spirit of the locals.
Sydney's stunning landscapes and thriving job market truly made my decision to pursue the 190 visa one of the best choices I've ever made.
Santorini, Greece: A Mythical Paradise
Santorini, with its pristine white-washed buildings perched on cliffs overlooking the azure Aegean Sea, felt like stepping into a postcard. Exploring the charming village of Oia, I was enchanted by the labyrinthine streets, adorned with vibrant bougainvillea. Watching the sunset paint the sky with hues of orange and pink was a moment of pure bliss. Indulging in local cuisine, I savored the flavors of fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes while gazing out at the endless expanse of the sea.
Where Will You Go First?
These destinations are just a glimpse of the empowering adventures that await women living abroad. As I ventured to new horizons, I discovered my own strength and resilience. Each place I visited challenged me, expanded my worldview, and connected me to the remarkable diversity of humanity.
So, fellow adventurous women, let these experiences be an invitation to step out of your comfort zone, embrace the unknown, and embark on your own empowering journeys. The world is waiting to be explored, and it is in these journeys that we find ourselves.
Hero Photo by Sorasak