One of the most important things I can suggest for a woman is to travel alone.
Each time I do it, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. As women we can easily get swept away in thinking about the needs of others, that we forget about ourselves.
It got so bad for me, I could not make decisions. If someone asked what I wanted to eat my response was “I don’t know, what do you want?,” “What do you want to do?” response “I don’t know, what do you feel like doing?” See a trend? My thoughts and decision always revolved around what others wanted, making everyone else happy and forgoing what I wanted.
When you go out and explore the world on your own, you are forced to reconnect with your own needs and desires.
I believe this applies to women of all ages in all positions.
This could be a road trip, or a trans Atlantic adventure. No matter where you are though you choose what you do each day, where you eat, who you talk to, whether to turn right or left.
It gives you a place to truly hear your thoughts and connect to your desires.
As a woman who loves to travel alone, those I tell about my plans or experiences often meet me with shock. While there are definitely some places I may not desire to go to alone, I believe that your safety largely depends on your actions, and the situations you put yourself in.
Here are things to keep in mind as you embark on your first solo adventure.
Choose a place you can easily communicate with people
The first one may be a little scary, pair that with no one understanding you and there's a recipe for disaster. Choose a country that speaks a language you are fluent in so you can easily ask questions, meet people, get around and not have to stress. Language barriers can later be a fun challenge but I wouldn't advise embarking on that one if it’s your first go.
Plan out your first night
Transport and stay. Before you leave home make sure you know where you are staying that first night and how you are getting there. You don’t have to stay any longer than one night if you hate it but it’s good to have a place to put your stuff, rest your head and get settled. Check out time is usually around noon so you will have some time to figure out your next move.
When going out after dark stay in well-lit areas where there are many people
Do I really need to explain this one? I’m sure you would do the same thing at home. Unfortunately not all people are good and so let’s not give them a golden opportunity like a dark alley to do what they will. Ask other women you come across what it’s like in the evening, if they usually go out alone. If the answer is Yes! then just be sure there to stay where you are seen.
Don’t get too intoxicated
Sometimes drinking is a social thing, it’s how you may end up meeting people. Fellow travelers going to a local pub, locals inviting you of a beverage. It can honestly be fun. BUT DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH. Blacking out while traveling alone is dangerous. Blacking out no matter what is dangerous, but seriously never while you travel alone. You need to have your wits about you. So no matter how nervous you are, how many drinks people try to push on you be really aware and careful with how much you drink. (obviously this applies to any type of drug that could diminish your cognitive ability)
Trust your gut
Ever heard of women’s intuition? Yeah, we have a super power. Gut feelings are usually correct. Don’t brush them off. Always listen to that gut feeling.
Keep your important documents in a safe place
More than that always have copies or backups in your email. Most important would be passport copies, immunization records, emergency contacts and itinerary if you have one. Bring a lock with you and use lockers whenever possible. Keep identification on you, but back ups at your accommodation either in the locker or in your bag.
Avoid attracting unneeded attention to yourself
More frankly, wear modest clothing: Traveling alone is not the time to try to get validation or attention because of your body (actually there’s never a time for that but that’s another topic…) Especially when traveling to more conservative countries it’s important to avoid wearing low cut shirts or shorts that look like underwear. This goes hand in hand with don’t go down dark quiet allies or get too drunk. You do not want to make yourself a target for any reason. Do not give bad people any reason or opportunity to interact with you.
When you act and look like you know what you are doing people usually assume you do and don’t take notice of you. If you seem frazzled, stressed or lost people will know. Cool and confident. If you are lost or need help simply ask in a confident way.
Traveling alone can be an amazingly empowering thing. It is extremely important to travel smart and safe though. If you have ever wanted to travel, DO IT! You don't need to wait for someone to go with, but you do need to be prepared and keep these guidelines in mind.
If you have any questions about traveling solo feel free to leave them in the comments below!
PS. If you liked this post, or found it helpful at all I'd love if you would share it! Let's get more ladies out there traveling!!