More and more people – also women – decide to travel on their own. But what is it about? Wouldn’t you want to create and share memories with your friends or partner? What do you gain from this lifestyle? Is it even safe to travel alone as a woman? A few thoughts and aspects about travelling alone.
Play the „yes“ game
Going on a travel alone is the best opportunity to say yes – yes to new people, yes to a different culture, yes to new experiences, yes to things you normally wouldn’t do when you’re at home. It is that time when you can reinvent yourself to some extent, find out new attitudes and characteristics about yourself and walk off your common tracks. So go out and find new things you like, new things you don’t like, take the time to reflect and develop yourself.
Learn to say „no“
Just as important is another little word: No. Especially when you grew up in a very polite culture, sometimes it might be difficult to clearly speak a „nono“. When you are out there all on your own, you have to take responsibility. For the way you travel, for the decisions you make on your way, for your safety, for yourself. Playing the yes game doesn’t mean saying yes to everything and everyone, so I want to stand up for my very own point of view. If I feel uncomfortable with a person or situation, I leave. And then sometimes, there is a small line between taking adventurous or brave decisions and being thoughtless and naive. In my experience, when travelling alone it is good to have that line pretty much drawn.
One opportunity that comes for free with a solo trip is that I am more likely to leave my comfort zone. There won’t be a „If you do it, I’ll also do it“. I depend on myself. So everything I will do, it will be because of my decision. Everything I won’t do, I cannot blame it on somebody else’s decision as well. Simple, isn’t it? So what are the ways to challenge yourself? Is it a scuba dive, bungee jump, wrestling experience? Is it approaching strangers and make new friends? Is it going out without drinking alcohol? Is it climbing a mountain? Doing a road trip? Going a certain distance by foot or by bike? No matter what it is, you will grow with this experience.
Female Solo Travel: 5 Rules
When I travel alone, over the time I developed some basic rules to go with for myself. The main reason for those rules is safety. I tend to think very good of people which got me into some trouble before, so by following those rules I avoid weird situations:
- When travelling alone, no alcohol. Especially not in a night club. For me, it is okay to have a drink (but not much) if I found a nice group of girls that will return to the same hostel afterwards and that I trust. A clear mind is a must when I travel alone.
- When walking around alone or with guys I don’t know, I walk on crowded streets only.
This also has been helpful already. I tend to think I hang out with nice people, but how would I know? So I stay on busy streets with other people around me, on streets that are fully lighted, especially at night. When people try to lead you any other direction, feel free to say no. A simple „No, I do not want to walk that way“ or even a „Sorry, I don’t feel comfortable with this direction, let’s walk that way“ is honest and will be respected by honest people as well.
- When getting into an ambiguous situation: Safety first, politeness after. I try not to be naive about peoples‘ intentions. That includes e.g. not „quickly“ joining guys „to pick up stuff from their home“, not getting into a car with them although I don’t feel safe, not staying in cars where I don’t feel safe for any reason, not drinking what unknown/little known people offer me, especially when I don’t see the glass or bottle all the way from the barkeeper to my hand.
- Paying my own. Another basic rule that does not only apply to travels. I can pay for myself, I don’t want to feel obliged to stay or hang out with people just because they invited me for a coffee or anything. Sure, I still don’t have to feel obliged, but it makes it easier for me.
- Last but not least: Respecting different cultures. Besides being disrespectful showing some parts of your body in various parts of the world, skirts, tops and hotpants might lead to sexual attention in countries where men normally don’t see such things. By adapting to the cultural dresscode to some extent there will be less eager looks, simple.
To sum it up, there is a fair amount of pros for a solo trip, also as a woman. With some basic rules, a female solo trip stays safe. What you can gain from it is true freedom, independency, and so many opportunities to grow and develop yourself. One last thing: This post should be about encouraging people willing to do so to go on a solo trip, but this doesn’t mean everything has to be just great. I’m not a fan of just hyping one side of the medaille, so here’s for the cons: When travelling solo, I will be lonely sometimes. I can choose not to be, by staying in hostels, approaching people, being open-minded. But when you choose to be alone, there will also be moments where you wish somebody was there. It’s part of the game I think. Also, there will be moments when you think „Wow this would be so much easier when I had help of a friend.“ That’s when you say hello to your comfort zone. Getting over those inner conflicts will let you grow though and are also part of the process.
Any thoughts or recommendations? Please feel free to comment and share your experiences with me!