Solo Female Travel is on the rise since the last decade. And as we approach 2020 this unstoppable trend will grow even further. Solo travel for both male and female have been on the rise since 2010. But between the years 2016 and 2017 solo female travel has grown by a whopping 52%. There was a time when women travelling alone would be a piece of news and those times are behind us now.
If you are the girl bitten by the travel bug and have decided to venture out on your first ever solo travelling trip, you need to read this. There are things both good and bad about solo female travelling all alone. And there are so many things that no one tells you about solo female travel. Travelling alone as a girl is as simple as it can be provided you have done the homework, booked a few things in advance and are genuinely interested in this solo adventure.
Choosing the destination for your First Solo Trip
Choosing the destination for your first solo trip as a female is a very crucial step. Before you learn the art of solo female travel, you must first visit some easy places like Europe or North America. These places have been declared as safe by many other solo female travellers and the language won’t be a barrier here. Most of the places in these continents English is very well understood. If you are considering a trip alone as a solo female traveller to places like India or Egypt, then you must think again. There are several women who have had bad experiences here. Moreover, language and cultures here are different. Women, in particular, are supposed to be and look a certain way to not attract undue attention. And you would want to keep these places for later after you have mastered the art of solo female travel.
Research and make advance Bookings
Once you have decided the destination and planned your budget, its time to do some advance bookings. It is necessary to book in advance when you are travelling as a solo female. You don’t want to arrive late at a destination and keep searching for a place or hotel for the night. Plan an itinerary for yourself. Book in advance all the hotels. Check the reviews online for the Hotels or Airbnb that you want to book beforehand. That way you know what to expect and you know which place is right for you. And yes there are places where you can go without any bookings. But make sure to do some research about the place and where to stay before arriving at your destination. You will be in a foreign country dragging your bags all by yourself. A little research in advance won’t hurt you.
Taking Photographs is awkward
When you are travelling alone as a girl, taking photographs is a task. Surely you can set up your phone/ camera and take a self-timed shot. But there is far less possibility that it will turn right. For a perfect shot, you will have to spend some more time at the place, but it can be done. But taking a self-timed picture in an overcrowded tourist place is very difficult, and very very awkward. There are people who stare at you and your idea of travelling alone and it sometimes gets embarrassing. Surely you can ask that guy with a hefty camera to take your picture, but there is a possibility that he may rudely deny. Or maybe you are shy and awkward to ask strangers in a tourist place to take a picture for you! There are also many thieves and creeps at the tourist places and you don’t want to lose anything.
The reason can be anything! The fact is that when you are travelling alone as a girl selfies are your best friend. You might want to consider taking proper photo equipment if you badly need perfect pictures for the gram. (By the way, mine is @shepherdtraveller make sure to say hi so we can be friends!) But mostly when you travel solo as a female you will take fewer pictures than usual. Yes that beautiful statue there, taking only one picture with it is enough for the memory. As against the 100, you would take if you were with someone. And we all know what happens when we shove those screens (be it a camera or a mobile phone) away. You will experience the place in the best possible way.
Budget and Luggage
When you are travelling alone as a girl, your budget for some of the things will rise. For eg: Hotel rooms or tours which are split into two persons generally. If you are a solo female traveller who doesn’t like to share rooms with strangers you will be charged extra for the same. There is the taxi fare which you cannot split with anyone. So on so forth. But if you are clever with your planning you can save on these. While travelling in the city or intercity, take public transport. This solves two purposes – one is your safety and another is expenses.
If you are planning a visit to Europe, check my guide on Budget Trip in Europe here.
When you travel solo, you will obviously have half the luggage and things to carry. But the catch is you have to carry everything yourself. Not to mention the fact that you cannot leave your bag outside the washrooms in the airports, with someone you trust. So you must pack accordingly, and take only the things which are a necessity for you when you think of solo female travel. Your backpack is going to stay on your back all the while you change your flight at connections, when you go shopping, or when you are trekking the Alps. So be wise when you pack that backpack.
Health and Hygiene
One more thing worth mentioning for the solo female travel is you might want to pack your essentials and hygiene stuff when travelling. Your body is not going to wait because you are having a vacation. You have to be prepared for illness too and take all the necessary medications along. Of course, the country you are visiting has pharmacies. But you don’t want to be searching for them alone when you suddenly get your period. Hope that made sense!
Making new friends around the globe
Another thing that no one tells you about travelling alone as a girl is that people support you. Wherever you go most of the people understand your situation and they support you even without you asking for help. There are men who would gladly help you and also women. This is a great opportunity for making friends around the world. When you travel solo as a female you meet many other amazing women on the way. Almost always you are surrounded by people who are tourists just like you. They might or might not be going to the same places as you, but they will be along most of the way.
Solo Female Travel Safety measures
You will have to take care of yourself when you are travelling alone as a girl. People will support you, but sometimes they can be over-friendly. Make sure to cut all ties and get out of the place and situation if your gut feeling says something is fishy. Do not keep in mind the formalities or don’t worry that you will sound rude. You don’t have time to find proof or wait until something bad happens. Trust your gut and use common sense.
Many tourist places have numerous thieves, pickpockets, creeps, tourist traps and people who might think of taking advantage of your situation. Travelling alone as a girl makes you a perfect target for these people. Travelling as a solo female also limits the places you can visit. If you think it is dangerous to visit a place alone, trust your gut and don’t go alone. But you don’t always have to play it safe. You can venture out to the places you like, but make sure your cellphone works and you have one contact from the locals who can support you in the hour of need.
Solo Female Travel out of Comfort Zone and Loneliness
Your first dinner alone is going to be awkward, if not scary. Eating alone from a restaurant whose menu you don’t really understand can be overwhelming. Doing all the things alone and visiting all the attractions alone will be awkward. Some people may gawk at you and the idea of solo female travel. Sleeping alone in a hotel room on your first night also may seem scary. But you will have a sense of achievement at the end of the day. You will emerge out much more powerful and better than earlier.
Let’s face it. You have always been surrounded by your people, family and friends 24/7. When you suddenly get out of the comfort of your home alone, you are going to feel homesick. At some point, you will feel lonely and crave for people. At such times solo female travel can be difficult, but here is a solution. If you really feeling lonely consider taking a group tour. Getting a group tour is a great way to explore a place and make new friends who are travellers just like you.
Solo Female Travel grants Confidence, Freedom and Empowerment
Surely, you can find a partner or friend you can travel with. But solo female travel will give you a lot of freedom. You don’t like that historical museum and would love to spend more time in the markets shopping? You can just do that. Do you want to go on a regressive hike through the mountains? You can do it too. You don’t have to depend on others for your decision and choices.
What’s more amazing is when you go alone and find your way through those beautiful streets in some Bohemian city, you know you have achieved something. Travelling alone as a girl will also give you a sense of freedom. You are your own boss here and you can just follow your whims and fancies!
Time for yourself and introspection
Lastly, travelling alone will give you a lot of time for yourself. You will know yourself better and what you really like. Many times we as women follow the choices of others to make everyone happy. Society and our dear ones knowingly or unknowingly pose obligations on us. When you are travelling alone as a girl, you yourself are the only obligation you have. You understand whether you like the Alpine mountains or the sandy beaches. You understand what is right and wrong for you. And most importantly you learn to love yourself and enjoy your own company. Solo Female travel broadens your mindset and your perceptions change a lot.
“It wasn’t until I took a walk down to the water for a solo dinner and sunset and discovered the magic of going it alone: no one but myself to please, and that sensation is not one to take lightly — especially for women.” – Jen Duchene