Journey Forward Retreat. Join me this fall to discsover what's next for you! Register now. Spaces are limited. Journey Forward Retreat. Join me this fall to discsover what's next for you! Register now. Spaces are limited.

Essential Solo Road Trip Advice for Women

There is nothing quite like cruising the open road. It’s a big part of why I love road trips and often rent a vehicle when I travel.

But, how do you road trip alone as a female and stay safe? Obviously, safety is never guaranteed but there are precautions you can take to make the most of your adventure and put your mind at ease.

Here is my essential solo road trip advice for women. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more info, visit this page.

15 Tips for the Best Solo Female Road Trip

1 | Download the best apps for road trips and navigation.

There are a million apps for road trips and navigation. The one I consider essential is Google Maps. For months before a trip, I start saving restaurants, hiking trails and other places I want to stop as pins on a list within the app. That way, when on the road I can easily see what is nearby.

Pro Tip: Cell service can be unreliable on road trips. Be sure to download the offline maps for your route in advance. This means that even without service, navigation will be a breeze!

Here are other apps I find helpful for logistics and navigation on solo road trips:

  • iOverlander – find places to camp, water, showers, etc.
  • HipCamp – book overnight stays on private land
  • HotelTonight – book a last minute place to stay
  • Gas Buddy – find cheaper gas
  • AAA – if you have a membership, discounts, roadside assistance
  • Vehicle insurance app – download your insurance provider’s app for easy claims and support
  • iExit – what’s available at upcoming exits
  • AccuWeather – weather
  • WiFi Map – crowdsourced list of free wifi hotspots with passwords

2 | Ensure your vehicle is road trip ready.

Silver SUV parked on the side of a windy road on a summer day
Stop to enjoy the view whenever you like on your solo road trip.

Check your tire pressure and fluids (oil, windshield wiper, etc.) before you leave to to ensure you’re road trip ready. Don’t know how to check these things? Take your vehicle in for service several weeks before your road trip and have a professional look it over.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check the tire pressure and condition of your spare tire too!

Low tire pressure makes your car less fuel efficient, which means your road trip will be more expensive. The ideal tire pressure is usually located on a sticker along the inside of the driver’s side door frame.

Be sure to have your vehicle owner’s manual and jumper cables with you when you hit the road!

3 | Get roadside assistance coverage.

Accidents happen and it seems like they happen at the most inopportune times. Roadside assistance covers things like spare tire installation, battery jump-start, fuel delivery if you run out, lockout assistance and towing. 

Pro Tip: Many auto insurance companies provide some level of roadside assistance. Check your insurance plan to verify whether you have this coverage already.

4 | Load up on healthy(ish) snacks.

On long road trips, I recommend sticking to healthy nutrient-dense snacks that will give you prolonged energy. My favorites are veggies, nuts, meat sticks, and fresh fruit. Foods packed with sugar and processed carbs are so tasty but they also can make you sleepy, which is not great when you’re behind the wheel on a solo road trip.

Consider bringing a small cooler and keeping it in the front seat for easy access.

5 | Bring the essentials.

Me and dog sitting in back of an SUV having a picnic
I consider my dog, Hank, an essential solo road trip item. We love having a picnic in the trunk of my vehicle.

Be sure to bring the essentials with you on your solo road trip, including:

Other things I always bring but may not be considered essential are:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Napkins
  • Ibuprofen/ Tylenol (in case I get a headache)
  • Chapstick
  • Toll tag (for use on some toll roads for contactless payment)

6 | Keep yourself entertained.

There’s no one to talk to on solo road trips, especially if cell service is limited and you can’t make phone calls. Before you leave, create a few killer playlists, download bingeworthy podcast episodes or find that perfect audiobook. 

Pro Tip: Consider downloading a variety of podcasts and/ or audiobooks. You may find that certain stories or voices make you sleepy on long stretches.

My favorite entertainment apps for solo road trips are:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify or Pandora
  • Libby (download free audiobooks from your library)
  • Audible

7 | Get out and stretch your legs.

View of Monument Valley through the passenger window of a vehicle.
Be sure plan time to get out, stretch your legs, and explore along the way on your solo road trip.

Break up those long hours on the road with roadside attractions, hiking trails or whatever your favorite outdoor activity is!

Pro Tip: Find hiking trails along your route using the AllTrails app. Bring a picnic and enjoy the view! Upgrade to the Premium version for offline trail navigation.

If mountain biking is more your speed, find trails on the MTB project app.

8 | Stay connected.

Again, I love disconnecting when I travel. And, when I am on a solo road trip, I also like knowing that I can get help if needed even when cell service is limited. On my solo road trip in between Levi and Rovaniemi in Finland, I used my Solis portable wifi device to help me navigate. It put my mind at ease knowing that if I got lost (or hit a reindeer), I could get help.

Use code THISBIGWILDWORLD for 10% off your Solis portable wifi purchase.

Another option is using a personal safety device like Garmin InReach. It offers you 2-way communication, location tracking and interactive SOS functionality (subscription required). This is great for solo hikers and outdoor adventurers who enjoy the backcountry.

9 | Wear sunglasses.

Even on a cloudy day, sunglasses can help to keep you alert on a solo road trip. Direct sunlight dries out your eyes and causes you to squint, which contributes to drowsiness. Sunglasses can also help manage the glare on wet surfaces or bodies of water.

10 | Go hands-free with your phone, if possible.

By now, we all know that distracted driving creates real risks for everyone on the road. On a solo road trip, you will likely be navigated to places you are unfamiliar with and this means you will probably be using your phone to do so. 

If your vehicle doesn’t have hands-free navigation, a phone mount can be helpful to keep your navigation in your sightline. 

Pro Tip: If listening to podcasts, create a queue of episodes each time you stop so you don’t have to use your screen while driving.

11 | Monitor the gas gauge.

Gas pump filling up a car at a gas station
On solo road trips, monitor the gas gauge closely and fill up proactively to avoid running out of gas in remote areas.

On a normal day, I’m the kind of person that drives until the gas light comes on. On a solo road trip, however, I am much more proactive especially if I am in a remote or less-populated area. When the gauge goes below a half tank, start paying attention to where gas stations are located. If you are unsure where the next town with a gas station will be, take the time to fill up proactively to avoid getting stranded.

12 | Share your location with someone you trust.

I’m all for disconnecting and going off-grid, but on solo road trips I always make sure someone I trust knows where I am going to be and the approximate route I plan to take. Though it’s unlikely something bad will happen, it gives me peace of mind that someone knows where I’ll be and when.

Pro Tip: On an iPhone, you can share your location by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > and turn on “share my location.” You can share for an hour, until the end of the day or indefinitely. 

13 | Avoid broadcasting your location on social media in real time.

There are two reasons not to broadcast your solo road trip on social media in real time. First, it notifies potential thieves that you are not at home and increases the risk of a break-in. That’s definitely not something you want to come home to! Second, it puts you in a vulnerable position when people on the internet knows where you are and that you are traveling alone. 

Pro Tip: Be mindful to not broadcast that you are solo when checking into hotels, campgrounds or dining at restaurants. When camping solo, I bring a second set of shoes and an extra camp chair to give the appearance of being with another person.

14 | Carry protection and keep it with you.

It’s unlikely you will need to use protection, but having it nearby will give you some peace of mind. Carry whatever protection you are comfortable using. Options include pepper spray, personal safety alarm (like this one), knife, or a gun (with required permits). 

15 | Don’t leave valuables visible.

Keep valuables like your laptop, purse, cell phone and other items out of sight in your vehicle. Either carry them with you or cover them up with a blanket or trunk cover. If you are stopping at a hotel or other location overnight, consider bringing your valuable items inside. Yes, it is inconvenient, but it’s even more inconvenient to have your vehicle broken into.

15 | Be mindful after dark.

Once the sun goes down, there are different risks to consider on a solo road trip. For instance, your vehicle could break down which leaves you vulnerable and alone in the dark. If you are in a well-populated area this may not be a concern, but if you are in a remote or less-populated area this could be a real issue (especially if you don’t have cell service). 

At night, I recommend stopping for gas and restrooms at well-lit and high traffic places like gas stations and fast food restaurants. While rest areas along the highway are very convenient, they often have low lighting and traffic at night.

16 | Fu** politeness.

As Karen and Georgia from the podcast My Favorite Murder would say, fu** politeness. If something doesn’t feel right when you’re on a solo road trip, don’t worry about being rude. Do what you need to do to remove yourself from the situation and stay safe.

Pro Tip: Keep your cell phone charged and close to you at all times in case you need to call 911. When I lived in Sydney, a taxi driver attempted to kidnap me and after jumping out of the vehicle at a stop sign I realized my cell phone was out of battery. Read more in this blog post.

Enjoy Your Solo Road Trip – Safe Travels!

With these 16 pieces of essential solo road trip advice you should be ready to go. Stay safe and have a great time on the open road!

Related content to read next:

LA to Denver Road Trip: An Alternative Southwest US Route

Perfect Minnesota Road Trips for a Weekend Getaway

15 Dog-friendly Things to See Near Rapid City South Dakota

Check out my road trip travel guides page for even more inspiration and tips!

Did you find this article helpful? Save it for later or share it on social media!

Woman leaning out of driver's side window looking at the ocean

6 thoughts on “Essential Solo Road Trip Advice for Women

  1. This Big Wild World says:

    That sounds like a fun adventure!! Great tips! Keeping snacks fresh is a priority for me too 🙂

  2. This Big Wild World says:

    I completely agree! I’m able to enjoy myself more when I know I have a plan in case something unexpected happens.

  3. This Big Wild World says:

    Love connecting with other solo travelers! Hope there’s a solo road trip in your future 🙂

  4. Sonia says:

    Great advice! I just finished a 19 hour solo road trip split over 3 main driving days, and used many of these techniques. One thing I always look for also is a hotel that has a mini fridge. Usually I can then freeze my ice pack, so that it keeps my snacks fresh for the whole next day. I also try to map out in advance interesting stops (even if short ones) every few hours. It’s amazing what you can find when you research ahead of time.

  5. Chelsea Messina says:

    It’s so important to have a plan when you’re traveling solo. Especially an emergency plan just in case the unexpected happens!

  6. Meghan says:

    As someone who travels solo a lot, I really appreciate this post! I haven’t done many road trips solo, but should really venture out and do more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.