The Best Travel Resources for Women on the Road
Although I spent the majority of 2020 on road (yes, even during a global pandemic), the year before was defined by restlessness. I had a good job in a magical city but craved something more. I was checking the boxes, had done the things that were expected of me… but who’s boxes was I checking?
As fate would have it, one of my best friends came to visit me in SF and we made up a pact. On a mountaintop in Lake Tahoe, we conjured up a plan and committed to a year of exploring the most beautiful places on this planet—and find the freedom we’d been yerning for, to live the life we wanted, to go by our own rules. And we did.
I’ve spent the last 18 months living a fairly nomadic lifestyle, first traveling internationally (until the pandemic closed borders) then around the US in a van. As a woman on the road, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself and I’ve also become a pretty proficient traveler.
Torres Del Paine O-Circuit in Patagonia
As women on the road, we understand the inherent risk of traveling more than most men will ever truly comprehend. Walking by myself at night in a foreign place makes my heart race a little bit faster than the average man’s heart. And I’m probably a little less trusting. What some fail to realize is with that fear comes freedom. Despite the added risk, traveling is one of the most empowering things we can do as women (I’ll expand on this in another story). As you start planning your first post-pandemic trip—whether it be a weekend trip, a month sabbatical, or over a year of adventure—here are some of the resources I used to travel most effectively and safely.
Booking your stay.
I usually choose to stay at a place that’s a little bit more expensive if it has better reviews. Here are the tools I use to ensure I’m always staying at a primo location, usually on a shoestring budget:
Airbnb – Great stays around the world. While traveling, I tend to book a private room (own room, shared common spaces) so I can really feel the heartbeat of the community I’m visiting.
Hotels Tonight – I’m a procrastinator. HotelsTonight gives me the flexibility to get a great rate for a hotel room the night of.
Hostelworld – Stay in a hostel and meet the real world, not the tourist brochure. This app is super easy to use and great user feedback to comb through while making your decision.
The cutest (& affordable) little Airbnb in Nelson, New Zealand
Camping Spots (car camping or #vanlife).
As a woman on the road, I battled trying to find the safest spot to camp with the most epic spot to camp. These resources helped me do that with user-generated camping spot pins with reviews and pictures.
Campendium - Easily compare campgrounds and share your best camping sites.
iOverlander – built by and for overlanders. This was my go-to resource for finding the best camp spots on either public land or rural communities.
Hipcamp – finding a campsite can be hard, hipcamp makes it easy. Think of it like Airbnb for the great outdoors.
Beach camping in Pacific City, OR; found on iOverlander
Whether you’re traveling around a new town or in the backcountry, these tools have got your back. I’ve personally used them all and recommend getting familiar with one or all of them before you head out:
Maps.me – this is THE map to use while traveling. Downloadable (no cell service needed), seamless navigation built-in, trail maps, coffee shops, it has it all. If you only download one navigation tool while traveling, maps.me is it.
Garmen Inreach – how did we stay connected in places where there’s no cell service? Garmin Inreach. With its interactive SOS, two-way messaging, tracking, and location sharing, you’ll be able to get anywhere or get help from anywhere.
AllTrails – Find the best hikes/outdoor adventures in the area. AllTrails has got your back all around the world.
Somewhere in the backcountry using maps.me
Meeting new people.
Connecting with like-minded women travelers is always important to me. A sisterhood of gals banding together and sharing stories is deeply empowering. Here are a few tools
El Camino Travel – book your spot on a group trip through this woman-owned tour company with a commitment to sustainable and responsible travel
Tourlina App – with this app, women can find interesting and entertaining female travel companions and locals within a secure and trusted network.
The Solo Female Traveler Network on Facebook – connecting you with other female travelers around the world.
Nomads at the Intersection– this podcast and digital community aim to dive deep into the stories of fellow road travelers and outdoorists, weaving through the challenges, journeys, and inspirations of the diverse voices who, often unheard, make the outdoor community greater.
Torres Del Paine trail buddies
We’re all strong badass women, but sometimes we like a little security. Check out these tools to ensure you’re prepared for whatever your journey might throw at you... even a poo-mergency:
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – if you're planning a trip abroad to a location that is a bit politically unstable, consider enrolling in STEP. You’ll receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country and help the Embassy contact you in case of an emergency.
TripWhistle – Every country has a different emergency number. This app helps you find it.
Flush – The most essential app on this list—the toilet finder, for when nature calls and you gotta go!
Somewhere in the Moroccan desert
Happy Women’s History Month, gals! Be safe, stay rad, and don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from getting out there!
Camp spot in Telluride, CO. Happy as a clam in my van Wanda.