SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
"I've traveled alone to dozens of places, and come to the conclusion that solo exploration is one of the best ways to learn and challenge oneself. It's a great way to re-center, to escape from the details of daily life that can distract us from our own big picture and to come back with a new sense of self-sufficiency and purpose."
~ Jill Filipovic, "Do yourself a favor: travel solo at least once" / The Guardian
Solo Female Travelers
Women traveling alone is not new or unusual. In fact, solo female travel bloggers are plentiful, sharing their own real world examples on the internet.
Lisa of Girl About the Globe has traveled to 70 countries on her own. Full-time teacher, Lindsay, recently took a year off to do a Round The World Sabbatical. Shannon of A Little Adrift also did a round-the-world trip, but she just kept on going! Stephanie travels frequently for her work with international humanitarian organizations. As for domestic travelers, Jill works from the road full time with her Vespa, RV, and laptop - as do many other solo female full-time RVers!
These are just a few examples among thousands. Some travel full time, others take solo trips on occasion, others have picked up and moved abroad.
What do solo female travelers need to know about safety?
Safety is often a top concern for women traveling alone. Here are some tips and advice from other women travelers:
- Follow Your Instincts - Trust your gut and if something feels sketchy or uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation asap. Safety is more important than politeness. So be kind, but don't worry about hurting someone's feelings or seeming rude in order to minimize your risk.
- Travel During Daylight Hours - Whenever possible, plan your transit and move about town before the sun sets. Ask locals which areas are safe and what they recommend doing if you need to get from place to place at night.
- Blend In With The Culture - Most travel crimes are "crimes of opportunity." This means, you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming a target by blending in and looking confident about where you're going (even if you have to fake it). Let respectable local women be your fashion inspiration - avoid wearing revealing clothing and expensive jewelry.
- Stay Connected - Make sure someone back home knows your travel itinerary. If you're traveling more spontaneously, use social media to stay in touch. If you're serious about going off grid, consider getting a personal locator device.
- Research your destination - Every city and culture has its own unique concerns. Make sure you're aware of any frequent scams and unsafe neighborhoods to avoid. Don't let these reports scare you too much, but just be aware of them. Also, the more you can plan ahead and make back up plans, the less likely you'll be to end up somewhere you don't want to be.
Best Solo Female Travel Destinations
According to Travel + Leisure, the top international destinations for women - based on safety and accessibility - are currently:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Munich, Germany
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Salzburg, Austria
- Taipei, Taiwan
- Saba, Caribbean
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Melbourne, Australia
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Okinawa, Japan
- Norway's Fjords
- London, England
Although safety is certainly a concern for women traveling solo, most have found that it doesn't have to be a scary experience at all. In fact, the biggest challenge most solo female travelers report is decision fatigue. Being on your own means you are 100% in charge of your day. You decide where to eat three times a day, where to sleep, what to do, how long to stay, who to talk to, and more. It's a challenge, but it can also be a truly liberating and transformational experience.
Have you ever traveled solo? Would you consider it? Where would you go?
- Michelle Chang