One of the travel bloggers I follow (Oneika Raymond) recently spoke about this topic on her Instagram. She mentioned how traveling as a female shouldn’t really be any different than traveling as anyone else. You have to think of the same things and take similar precautions, but in most places in the world female travelers are like any other travelers.
Her explanation got me thinking about what are the truths to “solo female travel.” What are some of the myths and truths we read and hear about and are they actually true? I solo backpacked through 25 different countries and found that predominantly, I wasn’t taking any extra precautions than my fellow travelers who were traveling with friends or in couples. However, there are some truths solo female travelers have to deal with that not every traveler does. Below are 5 myths and 5 truths I discovered while traveling alone.
5 Myths and 5 Truths of Solo Female Travel
Myth 1: You Must Always Have Your Guard Up. One of the most popular beliefs is that solo female travelers must always look out for the next person to take advantage or attack them. That in certain parts of the world where human trafficking and pick-pocketers are rampant women who are traveling alone are primary targets and it’s not safe to go outside at night by yourself.
Truth1: While yes, there are people in this world that prey upon those who are alone, I often found that I was just as equally bugged or pestered when I was walking with another backpacker. When you are traveling by yourself you should be aware of the situation you are in and don’t put yourself in a place that may be unsafe. Overdrinking or taking drugs can lead to uncertain situations in places you don’t know with people you may not trust.
Myth 2: Females Have to Dress Conservatively in Certain Places. Another big topic is that in the Middle East or certain parts of Asia women must always dress modestly and cover themselves up.
Truth2: This myth does have some truth to it. There are places like northern India or Jordan where out of respect of the culture women should cover their legs and shoulders. However, this can be said for men as well. It’s always best to take cues from locals and dress how they dress to respect the local customs. For example, I dressed more conservatively in northern India but wore shorts and a tank top in Goa as it was a beach area and was an accepted practice.
Myth 3: Do Not Travel Between Destinations By Yourself. Female travelers should always find a fellow traveler they can go travel with between destinations.
Truth 3: Not necessarily. I know many female travelers who have traversed Egypt, Vietnam, and Peru all by themselves. For much of my travels, I have gone from destination to destination by myself, even at night! I know some travelers would recommend not traveling by bus or train at night as a safety precaution, but I felt comfortable when I did it. It all depends on your comfort level. If you’re nervous about traveling by train at night, spend a few more dollars to book a private room on the train instead of sitting in open seating.
Myth 4: You will always be lonely. Traveling by yourself means you will constantly be looking to hang out with other travelers and will get homesick.
Truth 4: Well, sure you may get lonely. I know I did a few times. However, those lasted only a day and I was ready to get out exploring and meet other people right away. Traveling solo isn’t for everyone, even though I highly recommend doing it once in your life. I found those few and far between lonely spells were greatly outweighed by the lessons and benefits I gained from traveling by myself.
Myth 5: Traveling By Yourself is Expensive. Since you are a solo traveler you have to pay for everything, and some tour companies charge extra for solo travelers.
Truth 5: This is a myth I am happy to debunk. When you do travel with others there is more sharing of the expenses, but when you are traveling solo you get to dictate where and what you do. When you are the one who is footing the bill, you become conscious of what you are spending your money on and where you really want to spend your money. I found that when I went out with other travelers I spent more than I normally would because we were in a group and aren’t always able to decide on where to eat or what to see.
Guest Author: Chris Slack
Chris is a travel and lifestyle blogger who left the legal field and office world in 2017 to experience the world around her. Chris has traveled to 25 different countries and is looking to travel to more in the future. Chris’s blog, Wandering Feathers, focuses not only on her travels and experiences but also how these travels have affected her day-to-day life and future. Check out her blog: wanderingfeathers.com