Taking a solo road trip is a hugely memorable experience and a powerful chance to learn about yourself, but it’s something women are routinely discouraged from doing. But that might be changing: a 2014 study found that there’s been a significant increase in women traveling solo, both for business and leisure trips. For International Women’s Day, we thought we’d highlight some travel tips for women who want to empower themselves with knowledge before hitting the open road alone.
Get your vehicle ready.
Take your car to a mechanic and have it tuned up and inspected before you leave. Namely, it’s a good idea to get your oil changed, have your tires checked out, and swap out your old wiper blades for new ones. You also might want to have your mechanic check your steering and suspension—you don’t want to be stuck with a serious steering problem when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home.
Next, make sure your car is equipped for an emergency. A first-aid kit is a good thing to have on hand, and you should have a spare tire, a lug wrench, and a car jack in the back.
Even if you don’t feel confident about your ability to change a flat, there are other resources available to you—our app, Urgent.ly, provides on-demand roadside assistance services, so help is just a few taps away if you get stranded or locked out of your vehicle.
We also have a feature called FamilyView that allows family members to put multiple cars on one account. Let’s say your parents are concerned about your safety on your trip. They can easily add you to their account, and if you need roadside assistance, the charges will go directly to the card on file and they’ll receive minute-by-minute updates as help arrives.
Crowdsource to plan your stay.
TripAdvisor and Airbnb are both good places to look when you’re planning where you’d like to stay. Just be sure to read reviews exhaustively to get a sense of which areas are safest, and favor accommodations with a higher number of reviews.
Map your trip.
These days, standalone GPS units have been rendered all but obsolete; most people just use their smartphones to navigate. Invest in a car charger so you can keep your phone charged as you drive. Also consider picking up an atlas or some physical maps, just in case you get turned around in an area where you aren’t getting service.
Check in regularly.
Stay in regular communication with a friend or family member over the course of your trip. Make sure he or she is informed of your route and when you’ll be arriving at each of your destinations. Smartphones make this easy—just check in frequently via text.