January 05, 2024 5 min read

If you’ve never traveled by yourself before, the first time can be intimidating. Whether you’re going out solo into the woods, exploring a new city, or revisiting an old favorite place: doing so without the company of others can be super rewarding. Adventuring alone can push you out of your comfort zone, open you up to new ideas, and free up lots of mental space and time for self reflection. At first, it might be scary or lonely, but with time and practice you’ll reap the benefits. To help ease your anxiety and set you up for a successful first solo trip we’ve compiled some tips from some of our friends:

Thayer Low aka @discovery_girl42  |  Thayer is a Land Rover ripper, writer, mom, & rad HEST dream team member who has extensive experience traveling solo (and with people as well).

“I’m one of those odd people that isn’t worried (or hasn’t had a reason to yet?) about dangerous situations.  However, being caught without hair ties, coffee, (and obviously other essentials) makes me much more worried. I recently had to camp by the side of a river I couldn’t cross and wait until morning. It was calming to know I had everything on board for a few days including fuel. I also keep paper maps for a time like that when you might just have to find another way! “

Cristin aka @badassbrunette  |  Cristin is a Solo Gal, bad ass overlander, & living full time out of her custom Tacoma camper! 

"I think having some sort of self defense, especially for women, is huge. It doesn't have to be a gun if that's not your thing. Just have something at the ready to be able to put up a fight. Don't make it easy."

"Letting trusted people know where you are is key. I personally struggle with this one myself, but just keep in touch with people on a consistent basis. That way if you don't check in one day, people are already aware. I use the Garmin inreach which still allows for communication, even without service. Someone knows my exact camp location each night. This is a game changer. 

 I didn't mention it in the video, but another thing is having first aid items onboard. The ideal with that is to get some sort of training so that you know what to do. There are tons of resources, classes, trainings, to learn wilderness first aid. But at the very least, have some sort of medical kit just in case. Murphy’s law: better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it.   

Last one, which is the biggest point, is DO NOT share your location in live time on social media or anywhere where strangers can see it. I personally share on social media a few days later. If today I'm posting about Zion National Park, I was there a few days ago. I've heard way too many stories of random people showing up at someone's camp because they knew the exact location and wanted to come say hi. Most of the time these people mean no harm and just want to socialize, but for me that's simply not okay or welcomed. So I don't even give people that opportunity. 

One more. TRUST YOUR GUT. If you get ANY sort of uneasy feelings or weird vibes about a place or a person, LISTEN and LEAVE.It doesn't matter if you don't know exactly why or can't justify it, just follow it. Something is telling you something and I'm a firm believer in "better safe than sorry." So pack up camp and get out. Do not be a push-over if people are trying to make you stay. Being solo means YOU are your number 1 priority above all else. Look after yourself and trust what your intuition is telling you. 

I grew up watching Disney princesses and cartoon movies where women are always saved by the man, right? As a society, we're finally steering out and away from that old generational mentality that women stay home and their role is to be submissive and be taken care of. These days women are doing more and more alone, and it's such a beautiful thing to see. I truly believe the media and movies have poisoned and conditioned us into believing that the world is scary and you will undoubtedly be raped and killed if you travel solo as a female. That's just not the case. Do bad things still happen now and then? Of course. You still must keep your wits and awareness about you while traveling solo, but the world is actually filled with more kind and caring folks than those that want to genuinely harm you. This mental switch and societal trust is a big hurdle that I think all solo female travelers have to conquer in the beginning. Once you do though.. the gates open up even more."

Quin, HEST content manager who does a lot of road tripping out of her ‘84 Volvo wagon: 

"The worst part about camping alone for me is after dark. I have a very active imagination, and one little sound in the middle of the night can derail an entire night of sleep. Without someone else there to confirm that whatever I heard was indeed nothing, my fears can start to spiral quickly. I have figured out a couple things that help me to actually sleep through the night:

I sleep sooooo much better in the back of a locked vehicle.There are times I’ve slept in a tent and felt totally helpless, like a sitting duck. Nylon and zippers don’t feel like much protection when you hear an animal rooting around your campsite at night. 

My Sleep System  has also been a huge help. Having a camping mattress that is ACTUALLY comfortable means I sleep deeper and betterso it has to be a REALLY big bump in the night to wake me. Before I was sleeping on a thin inflatable mattress, and with all the sliding around and feeling the hard ground through the pad I would never fully enter REM sleep, so any small noise I heard would rouse me. Now that I can actually get a quality sleep while camping, I wake up freaked out a lot less.  Earplugs for the same reason. If you can’t hear it, it can’t scare you!This is just for when I’m crashing in the back of my car though, in a tent I want to be able to hear what’s out there in case there is actual danger coming my way."