Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid To Travel Solo As A Woman

Society and media lead you to believe that it isn’t safe for a female traveler to explore solo, and I want to explain to you firsthand why you shouldn’t believe them.  I went on a mission trip to Haiti when I was 15 with people I had only met once. I was a nanny in France for a family I had never met before when I was 19. I backpacked through Europe for a month and studied abroad in Belgium when I was 20. 

I took all of these trips solo. I am not going to try to persuade you into believing that the world isn’t a dangerous place, but I am going to explain how the world isn’t as scary as people and the media make it out to be and that you ARE capable of traveling safely by yourself as a woman.

Before I left and after returning home from these trips I was constantly told how brave I was for traveling solo as a female. I can see how people think this, because in your everyday life you don’t encounter many women who do. However, when you are out traveling you meet tons of solo traveling females that are open to meeting new people and exploring with you. One misconception of solo traveling is that you are never really alone. You quickly meet new people, build great friendships, and spend a lot of time around new friends.

I’ve had a lot of women tell me that they would prefer going with other people instead of by themselves because they want to be able to talk and have those experiences with someone else. I agree with this statement because there are times when I’m traveling solo and I see something amazing and have no one to admire it with. However, in the times that you aren’t seeing these things with your newly made friends, you learn to be content with being by yourself. There is peace in knowing that you are experiencing something amazing that you wanted to all on your own. I always agree with the women who tell me this, but I also follow it with stating you should never put an experience you are drawn to on hold because someone else can’t, won’t, or doesn’t want to. If you wait for others to experience life, you will never experience it.

Another issue with traveling solo is cost. This is not an issue for women, but anyone traveling solo. When you don’t have more people to split costs with, traveling can get expensive. However, there are great alternatives to help lower the costs. Staying in hostels instead of hotels is a great way to save money on sleeping arrangements. A hostel bed in Europe averages around $20 a night (this varies on where you are and which hostel), they are safe, a great social place for travelers to meet, and the workers generally know a lot of good advice about local culture instead of tourist traps.

Now, the point you’ve been waiting to read all along: SAFETY.

The world is a scary place, but not as scary as you think. Traveling can be dangerous for anyone, not just a woman if you aren’t smart about it. Before you go to your destination, read about local tourist scams, dangerous areas to avoid, print a paper of basic translations to carry with you, read reviews of any places you are staying or going, don’t walk by yourself in the dark, don’t drink too much, watch your drink, and keep your things locked up. It seems like a lot to keep track of, but once you start traveling it becomes second nature.

The most important tip is to read reviews and research. Before you decide to go somewhere, research the safety for traveling to the location as an American (some places are safe, but aren’t a smart choice to travel to as an American). Any hostel you are considering staying at, read most if not all the reviews to make sure there haven’t been any serious problems. If you are taking a bus, ferry, or train somewhere, research the companies and read reviews to make sure they are safe and legitimate. If you are going to an attraction that isn't a common place, make sure to research it beforehand. In the event something happens, you can always leave and go somewhere else. I am not going to say you won’t have problems, but if you prepare well and listen to your instinct you have nothing to be afraid of.

Now, after reading all of that you are probably terrified to travel. But, don’t be! In the many travels I have taken I have only had a few incidents that made me uneasy, uncomfortable and scared, however I was easily able to get out of them because I was prepared and reacted quickly from listening to my instinct. The world is not as scary as you think it is and you will only find this more and more true the more you travel. I have had 1,000 good and safe experiences for every one negative experience traveling solo.

Don’t put life on hold, be confident in yourself, go out and experience the world, even if it is solo, you won’t regret it!