As a woman, it can be hard to take the plunge and travel solo. Everywhere you turn, someone is telling you how dangerous it will be, or there is another sensationalist horror story in the news. But there are also so many reasons to pack your bags and do it anyway. The experience of a lifetime will only be made more exciting, more enriching, and more enlightening by the fact that you faced your fears and proved to all the naysayers that you are stronger than they think.
Here are the ten best and worst things about being a solo female traveller:
Nothing will make you feel more empowered
There are so many things that make it hard to take the plunge and travel by yourself if you’re a woman. The news is constantly splashing sensationalist stories about women being kidnapped and assaulted, your mom can’t even talk about it without having a panic attack, and even your friends question if it’s a good decision. So when you bite the bullet and get out there, you will feel not just out in the world, but also on top of the world. Every wonderful experience you have will be enhanced by how much you have to be proud of. You’re a badass lady! Own it.
Other women will be inspired to take their own trips
Because there are so many cautionary tales, other women need to see your example and hear another women’s recommendations and amazing stories to feel secure enough to put themselves out there. Because of all the things working against us, women really need each other to lift us up and encourage us to get out there and experience the world. Everyone deserves to feel the amazing gratification and incredible enlightenment of travelling solo.
It proves all the haters wrong
Take that, Fox News! We can take care of ourselves, and we’re not afraid to go and eat the most amazing pad thai or aloo saag or shawarma of our lives and post that business All. Over. Facebook. We know you’re jealous!
For every creep, there’s a million people who want to help you out
When you’re on the road, there are so many people who will recognize the leap you’re taking by getting out there on your own, and they will want to support you. Whether it’s a smile, directions, or an invitation to something amazing, every country is full of wonderful people who want nothing more than for you to have an amazing time in their homeland.
You’ll make friends that last a lifetime
One of the best and most beautiful things about travelling alone is that it really opens the door to new friendships. Instead of staying in your own circles, or alienating people by talking to your old friend about the folks at home when you travel in a group, you are a free agent, completely open to strike up new conversations and say yes to opportunities and invitations on a whim. And other women travellers will be especially excited to meet you and bond over all of the amazing things that you have in common. They also tend to be some of the boldest, bravest, and coolest people on the planet. So what are you waiting for?
Everyone feels the need to comment on how “risky” it is
When you’re travelling alone as a woman, every stranger on the planet will feel the need to tell you, probably completely unsolicited, about how dangerous the world is. And it gets really old. Being talking down to is never fun, but being constantly discouraged by strangers is a real drag. But just take it in stride and let it fuel your fire, girl.
Single rooms are more expensive
Travelling with a partner can be way cheaper. Splitting the bill is always a good way to go. But no worries! You’ll make friends to go dutch with in no time.
Yes, there is some validity to all the cautionary tales. But the unfortunate truth is that there are creeps in every culture. You’re not any more likely to encounter one on the road than you are in your own town. So just be smart, take care of yourself, and don’t let hypotheticals stop you from having the ride of a lifetime.
People will underestimate you
Whether it’s well-intentioned or just condescending, people will constantly underestimate your strength, your smarts, and your travel-savviness. People will tell you that things would be better if you found some guys to travel with. But you and I both know that you are as smart or smarter as any other traveller and probably twice as capable from a lifetime of being the underdog.
Now nothing you do will feel as cool as that time you travelled alone
Now that you’ve completed your solo trip, told the haters to shove it, proved to yourself that you are wonderful and capable and worldly, and made the best friends of your life, what’s next? It’s a tough one, but you’re a tough cookie and I know you’ll figure it out. And hey, maybe it’s just time for your next trip!
Originally published over at the Happy Nomad: