Solo female travel- How I see it

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In the blogosphere and social media concerning all things travel-solo female travel is a hot topic. Some people love it some people think it’s crazy. This is just my opinion but know that I for one love it! Traveling as a woman alone in the world gives you a unique outlook.

Disclaimer that these are *my* experiences, all ladies who choose to travel abroad will have different experiences. There are obviously lots of factors like age, race, etc. For your consideration: Please Step Over Here: The Perils Of Traveling As A Trans Woman, How Gay Travel is Different (and why it matters), Solo Travel for Black WomenViewpoints: Traveling Solo as a Woman of Color with Maya Bhardwaj and Brown Girls Fly. These blogs are great and there are many out there on the subject.

Why is solo female travel such a revolutionary or controversial idea for Americans? I think I know why

So in the United States we’re pretty known for not wanting to leave our boxes. By boxes I mean comfort zone. We’re content to stick to what we know and places where we’re comfortable.

When I was a study abroad peer advisor I worked these events called “parent mixers” during Freshman orientation. So talking to parents of incoming college Freshman about their child studying abroad they had one of two reactions. Either they really wanted their child to go abroad because they had traveled or they had not traveled and wanted that for their child.  Or “MY KID ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE/ABROAD/LEAVING THE STATES” and then they would refuse to hear me out. As if their kid wasn’t an adult who could make their own decisions.

Obviously they care, they want their kid safe I understand that and safety is a huge part of any study abroad program or office. However I think it’s kind of a combination of helicopter parenting and perpetuating these fears or the movie taken that really discourages a lot of people especially young women from traveling let alone traveling solo.

The things solo female travelers hear

“HAVENT YOU SEEN TAKEN?!”

“A traveler doesn’t act like a tourist. BLEND IN. WATCH YOUR DRINKS.”

“I always worry about traveling outside USA specially if you go alone”

“and this is why you don’t leave America”

“Seriously stop vacationing in the third world!”

Don’t you get lonely? Is it safe?

Solo doesn’t mean lonely or alone. One of the best things about solo travel is you get to plan your itinerary and do exactly what you want to do. You can meet up with friends who live abroad, make new friends via airbnb/couchsurfing/hostels or a female centered FB travel group like “Girls Love Travel” or “Girl vs. Globe”.

My rule of thumb is to take precautions, never compromise safety and only do what makes you feel comfortable. Do your research and avoid sketchy areas, don’t go out at night alone without a friend, always watching your drinks when you do and not drinking too much by yourself. Trust your instinct and if something feels off just get back to where you’re staying. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times no matter where you are.

“But the world is a scary place”

Yes the world can indeed be a scary place, I don’t want to say it isn’t and pretend that everything outside of the US or inside is completely 100% safe. And of course traveling alone can be scary but there are things you can do!

Like share your itinerary with a friend or family member. Come up with a realistic communication plan with a family member or friend and check in with them. Sign up for the STEP program and get travel alerts from the US embassy sent to your phone or email. Change sim cards so you have cell service in the country you’re going to. Do your research on the local customs so you can blend in a little better and maybe look up some basic phases in the language to get around.

Of course things do happen and when they do it wasn’t your fault. These things do happen at home and abroad and the best thing we can do is listen and support them. The worst thing we could do is live our lives in a box out of fear and never go out and have experiences in new places. At the end of the day we’re all different with different needs and you need to do what feels comfortable for yourself while traveling.

Solo travel makes me feel….

Empowered. Alive. A part of the world. Like I can do anything I put my mind to.

What about you?

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30 Comments

  1. Rebecca
    February 14, 2017

    Gotta love solo travelling! True, as long as you’re careful and you keep your wits about you, it should be relatively safe traveling on your own. Enjoy Prague, Budapest, and Berlin, especially: I’ve been to those cities and loved them!

    Reply
    1. Thanks Rebecca! It’s definitely been a fun week of adventure and I’ll be blogging about it soon!

      Reply
  2. theartoftravellingsolo
    February 15, 2017

    Love your thoughts on solo travel. It’s not exactly been a conscious choice for me but it’s sort of the way life has worked out, I’m usually single and I love to travel so I’m not going to hang around waiting for a partner to join me, there is simply too many amazing places to visit and I am not going to miss out because I’m solo! Of course you have to be sensible and practical about the places you visit by yourself but you’re right, it is unbelievably empowering to explore the world solo! Can’t wait to read more about your journeys! Happy travels:)

    Reply
    1. Thank you! More Posts to come on my most recent adventures 😄

      Reply
  3. kimssojourn
    February 15, 2017

    This is a great post and it is nice to see more of us going off to see the world. If we were to wait on others we would probably be stuck at home.

    Reply
    1. Thank you Kimberly!

      Reply
  4. smalltalkplace
    February 17, 2017

    I would love to do that too! Solo travel. But, It is just too hard for me to travel leaving my husband!!! how to overcome this feelings?

    Reply
    1. Do things when you travel only you would enjoy! Or meet up with girlfriends. I’ve never traveled with anyone I’ve dated but usually I’m always sending them like updates and pictures. I like staying in a hostel or airbnb so I can make friends easily while traveling.

      Reply
  5. smalltalkplace
    February 17, 2017

    Yay. Thanks. I’ll certainly follow your tips!! Must plan my 1st solo travel asap !

    Reply
  6. crafts4kidsz
    February 17, 2017

    It takes a lot of courage. Not sure I would be able to do it.

    Reply
    1. You can do anything you put your mind to 💗

      Reply
  7. cathysrealcountrygardencom
    February 17, 2017

    You go girl!

    Reply
    1. Thank you 💗💪💁

      Reply
  8. lindseylivings
    February 20, 2017

    No matter where you go there will be danger. I remember my dad giving me a taser before I went to college in the US because the campus was known for rapes. I went to Germany and while waiting for my boyfriend in the train station, a guy I never met almost dragged me on a train to some party he told me all about. Luckily my boyfriend showed up and he left me alone. I still love both places though! I agree with everything you said, and I think life would be pretty effing boring if you didn’t ever step out of your comfort zone

    Reply
    1. Exactly right Lindsey! 😄

      Reply
  9. Sabrina
    February 20, 2017

    Hey Liz,
    I just stumbled over your blog and I love it!
    And your words just expressed what I was thinking, too. Of course it is never a bad idea to be careful – but why deny yourself the pleasures that travel can give?

    From my family and also some friends, I always hear that I should not travel alone – too dangerous. But then I think of all the men that travel on their own as well. So women should be forbidden? In my opinion that’s definitely unfair. I don’t suggest that you should be too reckless, of course. But as you said, there are various Facebook groups that can make it easier for women.

    Btw maybe you want to take a look at my new feminist blog? 🙂
    https://feministgossip.wordpress.com/

    Reply
    1. Thank you so much Sabrina! Glad you agree 😄 I’ll have to check your blog out

      Reply
  10. mrstressbuster
    February 21, 2017

    loved your point of view. it’s quite refreshing. Travelling is more about reveling your point of view than just visiting. I recently went on a road trip and it was a wonderful experience. you may like to check it out. http://wp.me/p8p4rd-3g

    Reply
    1. I agree! Thank you 😄 I’ll have to check it out

      Reply
  11. […] via How I see female solo travel — A lot of world to see […]

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  12. Zoe
    February 23, 2017

    this is so inspiring 🙂 i love your point of view and the way you put it into words! have fun in your trips, i must definitely try this soon!

    Reply
    1. Thank you Zoe!

      Reply
  13. qrovadotravels
    February 23, 2017

    This is very encouraging and inspiring. I’m very sure what you wrote would have been embedded at the back of their head when it comes to travelling. Learning comes with exploring that’s for sure.. Really nice write up Elisabeth! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Thank you so much 😊

      Reply
  14. camisupernova
    February 25, 2017

    Thank you Elisabeth, this post was much needed.
    I too will be traveling across Europe for the first time ever (after 25.y of being on this Earth) as a solo traveler. Being an African/Arab woman and traveling on my own can be quite scary, with pre-made prejudice and false stereotypes everywhere, you’re not sure who to trust! I know that it won’t be an easy adventure, but if I don’t step out of my comfort zone now, then when will I?

    Reply
    1. I hope you have a great and safe journey!

      Reply
      1. camisupernova
        February 25, 2017

        Thank you 🙂

        Reply
  15. crocherie
    February 26, 2017

    I really enjoyed your article. I too am a solo female traveler and do it as much as I can. Although I love travelling with friends and family but as you said, travelling alone gives you a unique outlook on many things. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to wait for anyone to go out on your journey, or check with anyone if they’d have a snack from a cart on the side of the road, or simply if someone is ok with hanging out by the pool all day cause that’s what kind of mood you are in. I encourage it as much as possible because the experience, and the feelings you get while travelling alone can never be reciprocated and the memories remain with you forever. great post.

    Reply
    1. I agree! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  16. […] most successful blogpost to date has been my recent post about ‘Solo female travel’ as it’s gotten quite a lot of views, 30+ comments and 100+ […]

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