To travel solo is still something many women are afraid to do. Here’s why it’s awesome and advice to help you go for it.
The most common response I get when I tell people I’m going on holiday on my own is ‘By yourself? God I could never do that’. These women are successful, independent and charismatic, but it seems travelling alone is one step too far. ‘I’d be way too scared’ and ‘It wouldn’t be any fun’ being the most common objections when they don’t realise that there are whole jobs that women can do that mean they’re travelling alone! My friend wanted to travel and learn a language so she became a Cultural Care Au Pair and loved every minute!
Personally, I’d never planned to start travelling on my own but as I approached my 30’s, the majority of my friends were settling down. I didn’t want the fact that I was single to stop me from seeing the world, and my urge to travel was much greater than any worries I had. Now after at least 10 solo trips across 5 continents, I’ve found it to be neither scary or boring. In fact I love it so much, I worry I won’t be able to travel with others now! You can do exactly what you want to do, see what you want to see, eat where you want to eat and never have to think about another person wanting the opposite. You meet fascinating people and have experiences you never thought you would. What’s not to love?
So if you think you couldn’t do it, here are my top 5 tips:
Remove as much anxiety as possible, it’s good to have a plan, with key things like your accommodation, airport transfers and any internal transfers booked in advance. This means you know exactly what you’re doing and won’t end up panicking when you arrive. I travelled through California for a month, and while I wanted the flexibility to change my plans, I ensured I had at least the first four nights of accommodation booked before I went, as well as a rough plan of the route I wanted to take. Another benefit of being organized is that it gives you time to research and read reviews, which leads me nicely onto point two….
Do your research
Ask as many friends as possible who have been to your destination about areas they really liked and any areas they’d avoid. Ask which experiences to go on. For example, if you’re lookint to go on a whale watching California excursion, ask your friend if they went on one and whether they would recommend it. When booking accommodation (whether it’s a hotel, hostel or Air BnB), make sure you read all the reviews and go with your gut if something doesn’t sound right. I always stay in all female hostel dormitories and with female Air BnB hosts and have been lucky enough to never feel unsafe.
Recommend a friend
When I set off on a solo trip around the world, so many people gave me the contact details of friends they had in the countries I was visiting. I only met up with one person from these introductions, but the knowledge that I had the details of someone local was always comforting.
Book onto a group trip
Whether it’s a one-day trip on the first day you arrive, or a week long trip somewhere, group trips can be a great way to meet people. I’ll often meet someone on a day trip then end up spending a few days exploring with them, or at least having dinner over the course of the trip. You’ll be surprised at just how many people are also travelling on their own and looking for company. I’ve met some amazing people on group trips, but this does mean that you have to…
I appreciate that this comes easier for some than for others, but If you’re travelling on your own then you do have to make more of an effort to talk to people. The benefit of travelling is that there are so many things to talk about, even if it’s just small talk about the scenery, where else they’re going on the trip or how nice the weather is. The worse that can happen is that they don’t want to talk and you’re never going to see them again anyway! I’m lucky enough to have met life long friends while I’ve been travelling, who also happen to be some of the most interesting and generous people I’ve ever met. Just get over your initial shyness and I promise you’ll be rewarded.
That’s it! Bon voyage solo travelers!