The first thing most people do when I tell them I’m traveling alone as a woman is give me a long stare of confusion. Then, the questions start flowing in and they are almost always the same exact things everyone asks me. The typical questions are: aren’t you scared? Isn’t it dangerous? Don’t you get really bored or lonely?
Solo female travel is, in fact, one of the most liberating experiences. I always advise people who have never done it to at least try it once in their life. What’s the worst that can happen? If you hate it, you’ll never have to do it again. But what if you love it? Then the world is yours to discover all by yourself!
1. Traveling alone is NOT lonely, it’s actually the complete opposite!
Traveling alone as a woman can lead to adventures that are usually out of your comfort zone, but isn’t that a good thing? If you travel in a group, you usually end up talking only to your friends and not mingling that much with locals or other travelers.
When you’re alone, you’re naturally more prone to strike up conversations with people who cross your path. You can end up meeting travelers from all over the world or getting to know locals that can give you priceless tips and recommendations about their country.
During my solo trips, I meet people every single day without even making an effort. When I was staying in Bali, I met another female solo traveler and we ended up discovering off-the-beaten-path areas on the island with her scooter. We went on so many adventures, got lost on the way, and had so many laughs for a whole week. That’s definitely not something that would’ve happened if I was traveling with friends.
2. Don’t you get bored traveling alone?
This is the strangest question people ask me. It surprises me so much because I can’t imagine ever getting bored in a new city or country that I’m visiting for the first time, whether I’m traveling alone as a woman or in a group.
Being alone doesn’t mean you won’t get to do all the things you would’ve done if you had a group with you. It probably means you will do even more than planned. Imagine having all that time to yourself to plan your days exactly as you want them, to see all the landmarks you want without waiting around for anyone or to shop, eat or sleep for as long as you want.
I use my alone time to focus on photography. I carry around my tripod in my backpack and sometimes stay a few hours longer in some areas to enjoy taking different shots.
Related Article: How to Take Great Instagram Photos of Yourself
3. Yes, it’s OK to eat alone at a restaurant
I have to admit, the first time I ate alone in public, I felt extremely self-conscious. It doesn’t come naturally to us and we think that suddenly everyone is staring at us with pity. In reality, we’re just being paranoid, because eating alone doesn’t mean anything bad or negative. If you have the guts to travel to the other end of the world by yourself, then sitting alone in a restaurant shouldn’t be something that scares you.
I actually use this time to catch up on work or reading and it has now become something that I really enjoy doing. I like to pick restaurants or cafes with street views and I enjoy people watching. You can learn so much about a culture by watching locals go on with their everyday life. It’s amusing and interesting in so many ways that you can completely forget that you’re alone.
4. It is SAFE to travel alone as a woman if you take the right precautions
A lot of people are afraid to travel alone because of safety reasons. Some parts of the world are extremely dangerous and they are so whether you’re alone or not. If you’re planning your first few solo trips, choose destinations that have good travel safety ratings.
A few safety tips for solo female travel:
a) Ask people who have been to your chosen destination before about their experience (this can include travel bloggers).
b) Don’t carry a lot of cash with you
c) Don’t wear designer clothing that stands out or expensive jewelry
d) Carry a copy of your passport and store the original one in your safe
e) After dark, take taxis instead of public transport and stay away from dark alleys
f) It’s OK to talk to strangers but use your common sense so they don’t lead you to tourist traps
g) If you’re drinking alone, watch your glass carefully and don’t leave it unattended on the bar
h) If you’re unsure about the safety of a certain area, ask the locals that work at your hotel for tips
5. You will stand out in a crowd, but that’s OK
Let’s face it, if you’re a woman walking around alone in a strange city, you’re going to stand out. This is especially true if you look much different than the locals.
The first time I ever went to Asia was to China. I hopped on the overcrowded subway and minutes later I suddenly realized the whole train was staring at me. After getting off at my stop, I started walking around in a famous shopping street and people kept staring even harder. My first reaction to all this was “is there something wrong with me? Did I forget my zipper open?”. My second reaction was complete and utter fear. I was sure something extremely bad was coming my way. Then, the strangest thing started happening. Random people started coming up to me and saying “Your eyes are so beautiful and your hair is so pretty”. Then it hit me! They were staring because I was different and they loved it. Locals kept walking up to me to take selfies and I ended up feeling like a superstar!
The moral of the story is this: you will stand out when traveling alone as a woman, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have met so many people around the world because of this and most of the time it has made my travels so much more interesting.
I hope this article has convinced you to give solo travel a try. It will definitely be a unique experience where you truly get to know yourself.
More travel inspiration: How I Afford to Travel Every Month and How You Can Too