Planning a trip by yourself often sparks concern for many women, however, millions are joining the “female solo travel revolution”, and here are five reasons why you should do the same.
When I first announced to my friends and family that I was planning a solo trip to South America, I was met with more concern than well-wishings. “You’re a woman, you can’t go there by yourself!” proclaimed one colleague, whilst others just wished me safe travels, emphasising the word “safe” worriedly.
The reasons behind going solo vary greatly from person to person; financial ties or being unable to commit to time away are to name a few. Regardless of the initial reason, having jet-setted three continents alone, I’m officially a solo traveller convert, and more and more women are joining the “female solo travel revolution”.
According to Travel Guard, 73% of women prefer to travel alone compared to their male counterparts and travelling solo has risen to 59% from a decade ago. Whether you’ve just completed education, fancy a change of pace from working life or just generally want to escape reality, here are five excellent reasons why you should embark on female solo travel:
Meet your new best friends.
Admittedly, this blog title is somewhat misleading. Contrary to popular belief, you are never actually alone when travelling by yourself. Staying in hostels can be an excellent way to meet your new travel buddy, or in many cases, a friend for life. When faced with the prospect of travelling alone, you become more involved in social activities.
Most of the popular tourist-friendly places such as South East Asia will offer guided tours specially intended for the lone traveller. These tours will connect you in groups from all over the world, enabling you to branch out to people you might never normally meet back home. Whether you’re skydiving in Dubai with a Kiwi, or trekking the Inca trail with a Swede, it’s guaranteed that you will immerse yourself (subconsciously) in two different cultures at once. Think of it as two for the price of one.
Let go of your fears.
No matter how cliché this sounds, Solo travelling is good for the soul. The initial fear of your first solo adventure disappears as you grow confident to new and strange things around you. Travelling alone truly enlightens you to let go of all the insecurities that prevented you from travelling alone in the first place.
Choose your own path
Life isn’t about waiting until the opportunity has passed, it’s about seizing the moment, which means you can’t wait around forever for your friends or partner to decide for you. Choosing to travel alone means you have made the first step towards your own spiritual freedom, to explore something new without the opinions of others. The ability to decide on a plan without having to ask for the consent of someone else is truly liberating. The opportunity to gather your thoughts independently with no distractions creates a truly memorable experience.
Map reading not your forte? When you’re travelling alone you have to learn to become the “jack of all trades”. Instead of relying on another person to do the hard parts you’re especially good at, solo travel strengthens your overall skills base. Think how impressed your potential employer will be when they hear you can sail a boat or navigate a compass. All CV building stuff.
Alongside physical skills, solo travel encourages character building in many forms such as self-confidence, decision making and increased awareness, all of which are beneficial for self-improvement.
Prove them wrong.
Safety is of course an important issue. Most Lonely Planet guides provide recommendations on female solo travel as there are countries and regions that will pose more of a threat than others. However, using common sense and extra precaution will put yourself at a low risk. Communicate with your relatives by letting them know your travel plans and who you’re with at all times. Prove others wrong by showing travelling alone can be done safely.
So what are you waiting for? Go solo and make new friends, open your mind, develop your own skills and start empowering others to be brave enough to take the opportunity and travel alone.
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