According to Vox, female solo travellers now outnumber their male counterparts. Some experts chalk the phenomenon up to demographic shifts; others nod toward changing societal norms that enable women to enjoy a greater sense of autonomy, self-reflection and freedom; others maintain that Instagram and its emphasis on exotic travel pics helped spur the trend.
In reality, it’s probably a combination of all these factors and more.
Regardless of the reasons, women are travelling more, and they’re doing so without the conventional safety nets of partners, friends or guided tours. If you’re thinking of travelling alone but harbour some (justifiable) concerns about the prospect, this guide is for you.
Let’s explore how to fly solo as a woman in the wide world.
Where to Go
The ideal answer here would be: anywhere you darn well, please. And while sentiment holds mostly true, there are areas of the world where a solo female traveller may be met with suspecting glances – or worse, hostility.
This Worldpackers article lists a few of the safest places for solo women travellers. Places like:
- Finland and Canada: perfect for outdoor adventuring
- Austria and Belgium: ideal for soaking in some central European culture
- Japan and Chile: safe countries that combine urban excitement (nightlife and foodie culture, e.g.) with opportunities for a slow-paced, mindful rural experience
Wherever you decide to go, do some light research before you depart. This leads us to our next point…
Balancing Research and Intuition
It’s never a bad idea to research local customs and manners before flying to a new place. While the impulse to be rebellious is a noble one for women, remember that, as a traveller, you are a guest and ambassador. It’s incumbent on travellers (men, women, groups, individuals) to be respectful. Look up the local dress code, commonly accepted modes of etiquette and any prevailing taboos.
At the same time, use your intuition when you travel. If that voice in the back of your head tells you not to enter this cab or follow this “new friend” to a downstairs nightclub – then listen. Often, that voice in your head is right.
Hauling a bulky suitcase around has a few downsides. First, it eats away at your time, money and energy. More importantly, a big suitcase signals that you’re a tourist, drawing unwanted attention from thieves and other ill-intentioned people. It’s best to pack a streamlined carry-on bag.
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As you travel, stay connected in every sense of the term. It’s best practice to carry a cell phone at all times in case of emergency, as well as a portable power bank in case your battery dies. Likewise, form connections with fellow travellers and trustworthy locals, especially if you plan on enjoying the nightlife at your destination. Besides representing added security, these connections form a meaningful facet of the travel experience.
Will 2023 be the year you travel alone? If you choose the right destination, pack light, use your wits and stay connected, you will likely enjoy a fruitful, safe and exciting solo trip.