Up until several years ago, the extent of my solo traveling pretty much consisted of the length of time a typical flight takes to reach my home town. Then, when I broke off my engagement to the man I was set to marry in just a few months, I had a bit of an awakening. You might even call it a rebirth. I started taking trips on my own and though I am now in a relationship with a wonderful guy, I still travel solo when the desire hits me.
Some folks, when they hear of women traveling solo have some pretty negative feelings about the matter. Of course, none of which they’d ever say to a man. I’ve heard it all….
“What if you get lost? Who will take your pictures?”
“That isn’t safe, women are exceptional targets”
“Won’t you be lonely/afraid/bored/have less fun?”
My response? I can take care of my damn self. A security blanket of my significant other, or anyone for that matter- will not help me be safer, have more fun or be my personal photographer. Sure, I might get lost- in fact, I have…a lot. I might even find myself a little anxious or afraid. Heck, in Dublin I was so jetlagged and tired (Oh, and Guinness was involed) that I got lost, at night, in the rain. I called an Uber and survived to tell the tale!
I am my own woman, and I figured it out and learned how to hail a cab, ask for directions or for people to take my photo- it can be done!
Women traveling solo for the first time, listen up! You’ve got this. Everything is figure-outable. Yes, it may be weird, but isn’t being weird the whole point of travel? Get out and be somewhere and someone different.
And for those of you still on the fence: consider these reasons for trying solo travel for the first time………
You Will Discover How Self-Sufficient You Truly Are
Whether you are a type A-planner, with a minute by minute itinerary in place, or you are just going to hop on a plane and see what comes, things will never go perfectly. You may find that you forgot your phone charger or your plane is delayed in a country where you don’t speak the language. Stuff like this will happen, but it will also teach you just how capable you are. When you have no one else to make the decisions, you will step up and discover how self-sufficient you can be. This is incredibly empowering.
Of course, I highly recommend being prepared. Do what YOU need to do to feel ready. Don’t be willy-nilly with you money and passport, make sure you pack your meds and undies, watch your drink and purse, and have safe sex. You know, all the stuff your mama taught you, that you likely do at home.
You Will Create New Relationships
It’s kind of amazing how many more connections you make when you travel solo as a woman. And I am not talking about hookups, although those are certainly an option- no judgement here!
Instead of leaning on your travel partner for conversation, you seek out other travelers or locals. Even if it is just a passing conversation and you forever part ways, you are broadening your mind. You are learning about other people’s culture, country, and life perspectives. Some of my best conversations were had during pub crawls I signed up for, knowing it’d be a good way to meet people.
If you’re especially interested in making new friends, consider staying in a hostel. They’re a safe, fun way to meet people and save money. You can read more about hostels and the social opportunities they offer via my post Staying in Hostels: What You Need to Know.
You’ll Get To Know Yourself
When you travel with a companion or group, it is difficult to find time to reflect on your life. Alternatively, when traveling solo, you have days (or weeks) to yourself. Without anyone else there to build you up – or knock you down – you learn to work through self-limiting beliefs, issues at home, and lack or low self-esteem. It is a perfect time to consider where you are in life, if you’re happy, and what you can do to improve your relationships with yourself and others.
Give yourself time to explore the world’s historic sights and experience a different cultural heritage by yourself to start to realize how undistracted you can be. You get to take your time, be in your own head and respond to where the day takes you. It’s refreshing and enlightening to say the least!
You’ll Learn To Make Your Own Decisions
Decision making with even one companion – much less an entire group – can be incredibly tedious and even frustrating when traveling. And usually, there’s always someone who isn’t happy with that decision. When traveling by yourself, you can do whatever you darn well please.
If that means spending every minute on a beach, sipping margaritas, you can do that. Alternatively, you may want to hit up every single tourist attraction a location has to offer, and going it alone means you won’t have anyone holding you back. The world is your oyster, my friends!