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Why I’m Comfortable With Traveling Solo as a Female

I traveled solo from 2007 until 2010 when I met my now husband Mike – we now travel together as a couple.

As a generally outgoing and confident person already, the decision for me was a fairly easy one to make when it came to traveling solo. I’ve always been of the mindset that I’m not going to rely on other people when it comes to doing something I want to do, or let their choices dictate my life. I was never going to miss out on a life-changing experience because I didn’t have the guts to do it alone.

Faced with the idea of embarking on a journey to faraway and very foreign lands all alone, a lot of people decide they’re not up for the challenge. Many decide that they don’t have the courage to survive as a solo traveler, so the trip doesn’t happen at all. Others might even postpone the trip hoping that they’ll find someone to eventually tag along. But I mean, why should you miss out just because your friends don’t want to do it with you.

The following reasons are why I’m comfortable traveling solo as a female, and why you should be too.

Travel for Women Being Different from Travel for Men

In certain countries, yes, there are greater challenges for women traveling alone as opposed to men, and this is usually always due to a more conservative cultural background.

For instance The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country with very strong religious roots, and as with any country, travelers are expected to respect the local culture and customs while there.   The UAE is one of the safest places in the world to visit – however I learnt pretty quickly while in Dubai that women travelling alone are somewhat of a novelty, and attract a LOT of unwanted attention.  Never once did I feel unsafe while in the UAE, and my trip overall was a phenomenal one; however there were many instances where I did feel incredibly uncomfortable, and I have since written a guide for women traveling alone in the UAE.

So certain countries will require extra safety precautions for solo female travellers, however I’ve generally found that if you travel with common sense everything turns out fine. Ie be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut instinct, and don’t take any risks you wouldn’t take at home. Just because a country may be more challenging to travel through as a woman doesn’t mean that women can’t or shouldn’t get out there. The world in general is a very safe place, and in reality no one ever really travels alone. You make friends and meet people along the way. If you’re really worries, there are companies like Friendship Travel specialise in singles holidays.

Traveling alone in Dubai.

Why You Should Travel Alone as a Female

I would absolutely recommend solo female travel. Not only does travelling alone completely push you out of your comfort zone, challenging your insecurities and helping you overcome your fears, it forces you to interact with those who you wouldn’t normally interact with.  You speak to strangers, you experience new things, and as I mentioned above, I’ve learned that even if you’re traveling solo, you’re never really ever alone – there are ALWAYS other likeminded travelers you meet along the way – friends you haven’t yet met!

You’re free to wander at your own will, and don’t have to compromise your bucket list or itinerary to suit the needs of others – it’s amazing being able to travel with literally zero drama! Solo travel teaches you confidence, you have time for reflection and self knowledge, to discover parts of yourself you hadn’t yet discovered, and learn more about yourself.

While travelling alone as a single woman may have been a strange concept in the past, today it is very normal and quite common – everybody’s doing it!

Hitch-hiking for free transport

Solo female travel – everybody’s doing it!

The Myths Surrounding Travel For Women and How to Overcome Them

The usual “the rest of the world isn’t safe”, “You’re more vulnerable to attack when traveling alone”, “local men will be aggressive towards western women”, “don’t talk to strangers”, “eating alone is scary”, “you’ll be lonely”, or even “you’ll jeopardize your career”.

The best way to overcome these myths is pulling up a google search of “myths about female solo travel” and reading article after article to realize that NONE of them are true – all of these myths are travel advice you should ignore.

Everytime someone gives you a piece of advice about travel which is discouraging or negative, ask if they have traveled solo themselves. Most of the time this terrible, terrible advice comes from those who have not travelled themselves, let alone gone at it solo, so they genuinely have no idea what they’re talking about. People let fear of the unknown dictate their opinions, so source your information from people who know what they’re talking about firsthand. You’ll find this will be the polar opposite of the myths I listed above.

The Faroe Islands

Very open minded, forward thinking peers would question my decision to travel alone.

How Travel Has Shaped Me as a Woman

I absolutely believe that travel has shaped me into the woman I am today. It’s how I originally discovered who I was, and is how I continue to discover who I am. While I spent 5 years completing two college degrees, I believe I am truly educated because of travel.  The lessons I have learned from the road are far more applicable to life than anything I learned from a text book.

Travel taught me to be accepting of all people and opinions. It taught me how to survive by myself – taught me to become street smart.  It taught me that kindness exists in the world, and that strange cultures should be explored and not judged.  It continually teaches me new skills, and has opened my mind to new perspectives on history and politics.  I will forever be curious, forever be intrigued by different cultural norms, and forever have a thirst for world knowledge and new experiences.

Dealing With Feeling Lonely When Traveling Solo

As I mentioned above, you’re never really lonely. There are genuinely so many travelers out there wandering around the globe, and even if you only stay together for the day, you’ll find the people you meet will be, in that moment, some of the best and most supportive friends of your life. I equate the experience of meeting travellers along the road to what it’s like making friends in kindergarten.

“Do you remember in kindergarten, how you’d meet a kid, and know nothing about them, then 10 seconds later you’re playing like you’re best friends, because you didn’t have to be anything but yourself?” That’s meeting other travellers through solo travel.

When I was traveling solo if you wanted to meet other travelers you were forced to be an outgoing person and were generally limited to interacting with those who were staying at the same hostel. Though nowadays there are a sleuth of technology, apps and start-ups which make it easier and easier to connect with all travellers around you, and you can find and interact with like-minded travellers before you even arrive.

Advice to Encourage More Women to Travel

It’s one of the most amazing and empowering experiences you will ever undertake, and the benefits will always far outweigh any perceived cons. If you’re worried about being set back in your career, don’t. The life skills you will learn from travel may actually put you ahead and make your resume stand out. If you’re worried about being lonely, don’t. I haven’t met a single person who traveled solo and came back to report they felt as if they were alone.

Every single one of your worries and fears pales in comparison to the benefits you will receive from travel – you’ll jump on that plane and never look back.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

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