Melissa is a solo female traveler based in Berlin. With her experiences and guidance, she aims to motivate the solo traveler inside you and encourage you to catch that flight and embark on a journey of your own.
As TripLegend, we asked some questions to Melissa and talked about her travel experiences as a solo female traveler. We believe that her passion for traveling makes Melissa a great role model for all aspiring solo female travelers out there.
Can you tell us about yourself a bit? Our TripLegends are curious to know about you!
I am a 40 years old woman originally from the United States! I work full time in the real estate industry. My work is all digital, so I can do it anywhere.
What is the reason for your relocation to Berlin? Why especially here?
After visiting Germany in 2013 I really fell in love with the country. I visited a few more times and made it my goal to eventually move here permanently. I chose Berlin since it was very diverse and the most affordable.
How did you get into solo travel?/ What inspired you to travel solo?
I traveled solo for the first time when I turned 30. I really wanted to visit Italy and Greece, but had no one to come with me. Instead of just waiting I thought I would just do it alone. At first, I actually hated it. This was in 2010 and I remember not having my smartphone with a data plan I could use. I would check in with people via internet cafes. Traveling solo got better and better over the years.
A lot of solo female travelers are told it is dangerous to travel alone as a woman. Most of the time, they are asked if they do not have friends to travel with. How do you answer these questions?
I think most people could find a dangerous neighborhood or two in their own city. I often tell people that as long as you do your research you won’t have anything to fear. In my blog, I talk about how staying in the most central part of the city is important to me. I also created a quick tip safety guide that answers the most commonly asked questions about traveling solo.
I personally think solo female travel is very empowering. It allows women to break all the barriers. Just go and try it on your own and do it “like a woman”! Do you also think solo female travel is a way to express yourself as a woman? What is the importance of it?
Traveling solo empowered and emboldened me to make better choices in my life. I have the courage to say yes to myself and everything I want. Having not traveled solo, I would likely not have moved to another country. I grew in my career as well. Traveling solo gave me the opportunity to reflect inward to what I really wanted in life.
What advice do you have for aspiring solo female travelers?
My advice is to start small. Don’t book a trip that is further than a few hours by car from your home. Go to another city within driving distance. This way you get to do a little tester. See how you feel about eating alone and being out and about solo. Once you are more comfortable, book that plane ticket.
And now let’s talk about your travel experiences! What is your most inspiring travel memory? Where did that take place?
I recently went to Southeast Asia, so that trip is fresh on my mind. It was a trip I did a combination of totally solo and then had a private tour guide for my daily activities and transportation. I really enjoyed having a lot of the trip coordination all sorted out for me. I could just get picked up and the rest was all taken care of.
What is that one place that you can’t simply forget about? Would you also recommend us to put this destination on our TripLegend map?
I really enjoyed everything about Chang Mai, Thailand. The temples in the old city and then a trip to the jungle to see elephants were incredible. Also, I wish I had more time as I know there were more temples far away that I would definitely want to see.
What is the best advice you can give our TripLegends about traveling?
Too much transit time in one day should be avoided. The only thing I didn’t like about one of my organized days in Asia was that I spent a total of 6 hours in a car for an activity that only took one hour. It should have been done a little differently. Accommodations should have been closer to start or more clearly explained.
I saw in your blog that you created a “solo female traveler essential” and “what to pack on your carry on” list. Could you share with us some of those tips?
Have a back of everything. Back up phone charger, back up credit card, back up batteries for your camera remote. I always pack a travel health kit with activated charcoal in case of an upset stomach. I put a lot of value in using a quality suitcase, and I say only half fill it. You will want to buy stuff on your journey.
What else would you like to share with us?
I want solo female travelers to know that it might take a couple of tries before you love solo traveling. Practice makes perfect when it comes to traveling alone. I always learn something new and don’t beat myself up for the inevitable mistakes that can happen.