More and more women are traveling alone but there are still fears preventing first-time solo travelers from trying. Am I going to be safe? Am I going to feel lonely? All these obstacles can seem daunting but it does not have to be this way. In this post, we will talk about the main concerns you might have and mitigate your fears.
Let’s tackle the first, and easiest, roadblock: your budget. Why easiest? Because you have complete control over it. Traveling alone is, of course, more expensive since there is no one else to share the price of a room with and the large majority of properties barely reduce their rates for a single traveler… The “accommodation item” will likely be the largest chunk of your budget but that does not mean you will have to break the bank.
The first thing is to identify your needs in terms of travel and comfort level. Are you OK sleeping in a dormitory or do you need a room by yourself? Some hotels/hostels have single rooms that are cheaper than a standard double room. Renting a flat, home swapping and couchsurfing might also be a solution to keep your budget under check. Are you happy walking around and sightseeing or do you need to do a lot of activities where extra costs may be involved? Do you like to eat out or prefer cooking? All of these questions, and more, have to be answered so you can plan your budget according to your own travel style… and how expensive or cheap your destination is.
Let’s face it: this is the main concern of women traveling alone: “How safe am I going to be?”. The answer is: unless you visit an unstable destination or a region at war, you are going to be safe. The world is not a monster ready to pounce on you like a predator and more often than not, you will meet kindness and open arms rather than danger. Research your destination beforehand. Is there something you should know about general safety or tourist scams? Guidebooks and blogs are a great start to get informed and if you can, talk with someone who has visited your future destination. Experience is invaluable.
One important rule of thumb: leave your bank card locked up (or at least one of them if you have several) and bring enough cash for your day out. Leave the expensive stuff in your room or locker when you’re out and about. Keep your wits about you, don’t do things you would not do at home and trust your instincts. For instance, if you feel like you need to take a cab back to your accommodation after a night out, don’t hesitate to do so.
This is also a big one. A lot of women put off their solo travel plans because they are afraid of being lonely. You won’t be, at least not the whole time. During the day, you will be so busy exploring, you will barely notice but when the evening comes and it’s time to wind down, that’s where you might feel a little weird if it is your first time traveling alone.
There are ways you can meet new friends though. Staying in a hostel, even in a private room, might be a good solution. Common areas (depending on how strict the Covid rules are at your destination) are great places to interact. You can join a day tour, stay with a local instead of a hotel, join a couchsurfing community get-together, etc.
But despite all that, you have to be ready to know that there will be times when you will be alone, sometimes even feel very lonely, but nowadays solitude is not really what it used to be. With social networks, there is always a connection to your friends and family back home. But most importantly, this is THE moment for you to be in the Now. Enjoy this time to yourself, observe, keep a notebook with you and write down your experiences… Make the most of it. And remember: it’s better to be alone than in bad company!
If you don’t feel ready to take a big plunge, why not start small? Going little by little will help you figure out if you’re comfortable and what you are comfortable with. Think of it as a training. The more you do, the more you get used to it and the more you want to push your limits. For instance, start by enjoying a weekend break alone in a familiar destination. Was it a good experience? Then, try another weekend in a new place. Soon enough, you will feel like spending a week traveling alone, then two weeks and pretty soon, you will be ready going it alone for an extended amount of time.
More importantly, trust yourself and take everything in strides. You are more capable than you think. Not everything will go according to plan and you will be surprised at how resilient and adaptable you can be when the unexpected comes along. Traveling solo will boost your self-confidence. Embrace that time to yourself where you, and you alone, will be fully in control of what to do, how to do it and how to feel about it. The biggest risk you’re going to take is wanting to travel solo again, and again.