There was an era when women travelling alone used to be a piece of news. Long gone are those times. With the whole world coming closer and closer today many wonderful women venture out alone. And we see them all the time. On social media posting pictures that make us crave for such a holiday. Or among our friends who don’t stop bragging about that one time, they went solo. There are so many things that no one tells you about solo female travel. When you want to make that first step alone, you need to know these.
Time for yourself and introspection
First and foremost, travelling alone will give you a lot of time for yourself. You will know yourself better and what you really like. Many times we as women follow the choices of others to make everyone happy. Society and our dear ones knowingly or unknowingly pose obligations on us. When you are travelling solo, you yourself are the only obligation you have. You understand whether you like the Alpine mountains or the sandy beaches. You understand what is right and wrong for you. And most importantly you learn to love yourself and enjoy your own company.
When you travel solo selfies are your best friend. Surely you can ask that guy with a hefty camera to take your picture, but there is a possibility that he may rudely deny. Or maybe you are shy and awkward to ask strangers in a tourist place to take a picture for you! There are also many thieves and creeps at the tourist places and you don’t want to lose anything.
The reason can be anything! But the fact remains that when you are travelling solo, selfies are the best. You might want to consider taking proper photo equipment if you badly need perfect pictures for the gram. But mostly when you travel solo as a female you will take fewer pictures than usual. Yes that beautiful statue there, taking only one picture with it is enough for the memory. As against the 100, you would take if you were with someone. And we all know what happens when we shove those screens (be it a camera or a mobile phone) away. You will experience the place in the best possible way.
Making new friends around the globe
Another thing that no one tells you about travelling solo as a female is that people support you. Wherever you go most of the people understand your situation and they support you even without you asking for help. There are men who would gladly help you and also women. This is a great opportunity for making friends around the world. When you travel solo as a female you meet many other amazing women on the way. They might or might not be going to the same places as you, but they will be along most of the way.
Safety measures and gut feelings
You will have to take care of yourself. People will support you, but sometimes they can be over-friendly. Make sure to cut all ties and get out of the place and situation if your gut feeling says something is fishy. You don’t have time to find proof or wait until something bad happens. Trust your gut and use common sense. Many tourist places have numerous thieves, pickpockets, creeps, tourist traps and people who might think of taking advantage of your situation. Travelling as a solo female makes you a perfect target for these people. Travelling as a solo female also limits the places you can visit. If you think it is dangerous to visit a place alone, trust your gut and don’t go alone. But you don’t always have to play it safe. You can venture out to the places you like, but make sure your cellphone works and you have one contact from the locals who can support you.
Comfort Zone and Loneliness
Let’s face it. You have always been surrounded by your people, family and friends 24/7. When you suddenly get out of the comfort of your homes alone, you are going to feel homesick. At some point, you will feel lonely and crave for people. But don’t worry this feeling doesn’t stay for long. And in the end, you will merge out stronger than before.
Your first table for one is going to be awkward, if not scary. Eating alone from a restaurant whose menu you don’t really understand can be overwhelming. Doing all the things alone and visiting all the attractions alone will be awkward. Some people may gawk at you and your idea of travelling alone. Sleeping alone in a hotel room on your first night also may seem scary. But you will have a sense of achievement at the end of the day. You will emerge out much more powerful and better than earlier.
Luggage, Things and Budget
When you travel solo, you will obviously have half the luggage and things to carry. But the catch is you have to carry everything yourself. Not to mention the fact that you cannot leave your bag outside the washrooms in the airports, with someone you trust. So you must pack accordingly, and take only the things which are a necessity for you. Your backpack is going to stay on your back all the while you change your flight at connections, when you go shopping, or when you are trekking the Alps. So be wise when you pack that backpack.
When travelling alone, you have the opportunity to save and budget the travels. When you are with someone you tend to spend more as against when you are alone. Not to mention the unnecessary expenditure, splitting of bills, etc you had to do because of the other person.
Confidence, Freedom and Empowerment
Surely, you can find a partner or friend you can travel with. But travelling alone will give you a lot of freedom. You don’t like that historical museum and would love to spend more time in the markets shopping? You can just do that. Do you want to go a regressive hike through the mountains? You can do it too. You don’t have to depend on others for your decision and choices.
What’s more amazing is when you go alone and find your way through those beautiful streets in some Bohemian city, you know you have achieved something. Travelling solo will also give you a sense of freedom. You are your own boss here and you can just follow your whims and fancies!
“It wasn’t until I took a walk down to the water for a solo dinner and sunset and discovered the magic of going it alone: no one but myself to please, and that sensation is not one to take lightly — especially for women.” – Jen Duchene
This article is written by Shraddha Maheshwari who regularly writes on her blog Shepherd Traveller – Travel through Nature and adventure