Traveling the world solo can be one of life’s greatest treasures. The sense of freedom and independence when traveling alone is a feeling like none other. It is so glorious. However, traveling solo can also be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your life. This is why it is imperative to acknowledge some of the barriers females face when taking the leap of faith to travel alone! It is important to also discuss potential solutions to these barriers. And that is what this blog is all about! So, let the reading commence!
PEOPLE QUESTIONING YOU (EVEN ARGUING WITH YOU) ABOUT WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO TRAVEL BY YOURSELF
You have just booked your first international trip by yourself! All the positive vibes are running through your head right now. You are giddy with anticipation about experiencing a new country and culture. Your taste buds are already on edge with all the new and delectable foods you are going to try. Your mind is racing with the plethora of activities you will be doing. The possibilities are endless! You tell your family and friends the big news, and they say, “What? Why would you want to do that?” Are you serious?! What a total buzz kill!
Sadly, this is not an uncommon response to females traveling alone. I have gotten these types of responses far too often, and it really can bring you down. And guess what? I even have had people argue with me so much to try and bring me down; it made me cry in utter frustration! Not cool, people! I do not wish this on any female traveler.
So, how do we overcome this barrier? We stay strong and stick to what our heart tells us. And if it is telling us to travel, then we travel! In all honesty, though, this is YOUR life. You are entitled to make your own choices and travel wherever your amazing heart desires. My best piece of advice for you? Say a little one-liner like this, “If you are not supportive of my travels or happy for me, then I do not think it is a good idea if we talk about this topic any further”.
And that is it! Taking on the world alone is a task in itself. You do not have the time or energy to be brought down by other people’s negativity. Positive vibes only! And trust me, there are plenty of women in the travel community who would be glad to support you and your travels.
BEING ALONE FOR MULTIPLE DAYS OR WEEKS
This is a significant barrier that many women struggle with when thinking about venturing out on their first solo trip. My question to you is this: What is your biggest fear of being alone? Fear is a very strong emotion that can often paralyze people from truly experiencing life and engaging in new adventures! I can honestly say, with my whole heart, that the most cherished memories I have in life produced the greatest fears, as well. Let me share with you one of my fondest memories…
Last year, I made the trek out to The Big Island for the first time. In fact, it was my first time in Hawaii, in general. My one and only goal for visiting Hawaii was to see a magnificent and majestic sea turtle. I told myself I literally would not leave the island until I saw one. And my ultimate dream? To swim with a sea turtle in the ocean!
My only problem? I do have a little fear of the great, blue sea. Eeeek! It is true. I am completely in love with the idea of the ocean, but sometimes when I actually get to the ocean, I just freeze up. I think it may be because the ocean is so powerful, and I just have so much respect for this part of the earth. But I was not going to let this fear stand in my way! I was determined.
One day, I was body surfing at a pristine and secluded beach called, Kua Beach. There was part of the beach that was a little more hidden with no one around it, so I headed there for some perfect island seclusion. While walking through the warm sand, I looked out and saw a black circle floating along the waves. OH MY GOSH. IT WAS HAPPENING. It was a sea turtle! Just to confirm that what I was seeing was true, I climbed along the sea rocks to get a better view. And there I saw it, the sea turtle’s little head bobbing up through the crashing waves.
I quickly climbed back down the sea rocks and sprinted back to get my snorkel equipment. It was now or never! So, I just did it. I ran through the crashing waves and dived head first into the warm, swirling ocean water. And there THEY were. Not one sea turtle, but TWO! They appeared so graceful and peaceful. They just looked as though they were so at ease and at one with the water. In turn, their calmness helped me remain calm. I simply floated atop the ocean water and watched them. My heart was so full, and I honestly could have stayed there in their company all day.
The point of that whole story was to really push home the notion that fear can negatively control a lot of what we do in life, and that includes missing out on amazing opportunities and travel! So, if the fear of being alone is an idea you struggle with, I would encourage you to investigate this a little bit more. Maybe instead of thinking about how lonely you would be, think about the positive aspects that being alone would bring. For me, spending some quality time with me, myself and I build strength, courage and independence. Being alone also gives me time to focus on myself, as a whole, and rejuvenate my body and mind. I re-energize myself from alone time. Find out what benefits being alone would serve for you!
UNDERSTANDING THE METHODS TO MAINTAIN YOUR SAFETY AT ALL TIMES
I feel like safety is one that people, in general, get hung up on the most. Let me just say, the media does not help. The media is constantly telling stories of how women get kidnapped or murdered when they are out traveling alone. Please let me caution you here. The media can be deceiving many times. So, always do your research before believing the first piece of news you hear. While there is no rational, rhyme or reason why such terrible events happen to such vulnerable and innocent women, there are a number of safety methods to practice in order to keep you as safe as possible.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Even though you are traveling alone, that does not mean you can go everywhere alone. Do loads of research on where the safe areas are to travel and do even more research on the areas that are not so safe to travel. There are certain parts to every city and country that will be deemed “not so safe”. So, plain and simple: DO NOT GO THERE. It is always smart to be around people and not place yourself in a secluded and potentially dangerous area. If you do need to go somewhere off the beaten path, let a friend or family member know. Or let your hotel concierge know of your whereabouts and when they should expect you back at your hotel.
While one of the perks of traveling is meeting new people, you do have to exercise caution with this. Never give out too much personal information about yourself, and never let anyone know where you are staying. I strongly believe that women have gut intuitions. If you feel like something is off, follow your gut. Stay away and get to a safe place.
Especially if you are in a foreign country, make sure you know where your country’s embassy is and where the local authorities are. If you are ever in an emergency, you do not want to be frantically searching for help then. You want to be set and ready to go to get help as soon as possible.
Besides taking into account these safety tips, I would highly suggest talking to other women who have previously taken solo trips. It is very helpful to discuss your concerns with other women, and learn from their experiences. It can also be comforting and uplifting to know that women do travel alone, they have remained safe, and have had so many amazing memories!
FULLY PLANNING AND ORGANIZING YOUR TRIP
Planning and putting together a trip with your family or friends can be a challenge with everything that needs to be reserved and accounted for. Now, think of doing everything by yourself. That may seem like quite the daunting task and may leave you feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. Do not fear! Help is on the way!
One of the major aspects of successful trip planning is time. Never rush your trip. When you rush your trip, you end up feeling anxious and stressed. In turn, this could lead to you making mistakes for your adventure and have you just not feeling the greatest about your upcoming exploration. Everyone is different, but I typically plan out all my solo trips about a year in advance. This allows me to properly do all my research, make reservations, and find the best prices!
Do your research! And when I mean research, I mean read a bunch of travel blogs, like here on We Are Travel Girls. There are endless amounts of travel blogs that go so in-depth on destinations all over the world. You are bound to find one that will help guide you with the destination you are going to. Do not see a travel blog that speaks to where you are going? Do not be afraid to reach out to travel bloggers and ask them if they know of fellow bloggers who may have knowledge in the destination you want to travel to.
DEVELOPING A SMART AND RELIABLE FINANCIAL PLAN
Money, money, money. A tangible item that is needed for every trip, but sadly does not grow on trees. A big roadblock for solo travel is that it costs money. Sometimes, it can be more expensive than traveling in a group because you are not splitting the costs between other people. But all you have to do is a little budget planning and research, then you will be good to go!
Time and research are two substantial aspects that are also very important for the monetary aspect of travel. When you have time, you can save longer and in a more structured fashion. Also with time, you have the ability to research for longer and find the best cost-effective options for your trip.
A financial practice I put in place when I first started solo traveling was writing out a monthly financial plan. I included all costs of the trip and broke it down into even monthly payments. I would put this amount towards my trip fund every month, and this considerably helped with any financial stress or strain. Having a plan can make formidable tasks seem so much less intimidating!
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
So, what are you thinking? Are you ready for your first solo trip?! Take all this information in and deeply think about if solo travel is right for you. There are numerous variables that go into solo travel, but the most important variable is this: Always follow your heart and your greatest desires. They will lead you to where you need to be.
We hope that this article has inspired you to take a solo trip. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
Want to share your own travel tips by guest writing for We Are Travel Girls? Go to our Contribute page for guidelines and to submit your article.
Read More About Solo Travel
- Top 5 Adventures For Solo Travelers
- Ultimate Tips For The First Time Solo Female Traveler
- 9 Tips For Solo Female Travelers
We Are Travel Girls Contributor Ashley Woldman
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