So you want to go traveling. You’ve saved up enough money, checked out where you want to go, and requested the time off from work or have a break from school. Now all you have to do is find someone to go with you. You start asking all your good friends and family but they can’t do it: not enough money, not enough time and besides you, who wants to go to Asia anyway? Ok, you think to yourself, I still have a few weeks, I can find someone. You start asking your friend’s friends, people you work with and maybe even that guy who lives around the corner that you just can’t stand. None of them want to go either.
Frustrated, you start to think about canceling your trip and spending the week at home, sleeping in. Then one of your friends asks, “Why don’t you just go by yourself?” You start listing the reasons: I’m too young (or old), it’s not safe, and besides, I’d be lonely!
“Well,” she says, “Sarah went traveling by herself last year.”
Sarah?!?! You think. “But Sarah’s so young and petite and too high maintenance to backpack!”
Your friend shrugs, “I dunno. She did it.”
That night you’re laying in bed, thinking about your trip. You know, you say to yourself, if Sarah did it then maybe I can too…
This article is here to show you that you can do it. Solo female travel can be successful for any woman. Traveling alone can be an amazing, eye-opening experience, no matter where you go or what your age. I did my first trip around-the-world by myself, at the age of 20. I was nervous, but had I not been traveling alone, I never would have met the Irish couple who gave me a free place to stay in Luxembourg City, or decided to go camping in the Swiss Alps with people I met at my hostel in Bern. Yes, sometimes bad things do occur, but for every negative story, solo females have hundreds of positive ones to counteract it. I’ve debunked a few of the common myths below.
I’m too young/old:
Oh really? Who says? Although some hostels have age requirements, they are not the majority. We’ve never heard of public transportation that won’t sell you a ticket because you’re only 18 or over the age of 55. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it only matters how old you feel.
I’ll be lonely:
Maybe if you’re going to Antarctica or the middle of the desert you’d be lonely – but there are thousands of solo backpackers traveling every day, staying in hostels, checking out tourist sites, eating in local restaurants and looking to meet fellow travelers like yourself. Walk up to some of them and introduce yourself while she’s cooking dinner at the hostel or while you’re both waiting for a bus. Would you snap at someone who started a conversation with you? Well, neither would most of them.
It’s not safe:
A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t do it at home, chances are you shouldn’t do it while you are traveling either. Getting so drunk that you don’t remember where you are staying or wandering around the streets of a large city at 3 a.m. are not wise decisions. Use your head and trust your instincts. If someone makes you uncomfortable, walk away from them, or ask a passerby for help. Don’t be afraid to make a scene if you need to – anyone who want to do harm would flee from the attention. Don’t carry large amounts of money and if you insist on carrying a purse, wear one that you can drape across your chest so it can’t be easily taken off of you. Check out our article with more women’s travel safety tips.
>> There are more articles in the Women’s Travel Guide, have you read them all?