Women Solo Travel – A Comprehensive Guide & Most Important Tips!

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Dear women, I write this article with a lot of love and excitement. As the fairer sex (which in itself might be an extremely sexist way to address us! But, I digress), we are hard-core champions – whether it is multitasking and slaying the corporate life, taking care of family and home (which is 2 full-time jobs combined together, with no off-days!) or writing content online to create awareness in however little way possible. Women are doing it all and killin’ at it!

However, traditionally, we might have been bound by the expectations of society and confined to our roles as defined by others. But, no more! Women are conquering newer heights on a day-to-day basis, redefining what can be achieved and breaking notions of what defines being a woman.

Why Women!

With ever increasing number of solo women travelers, the curiosity to explore the world is increasing and women are dropping their inhibitions to see the world for themselves.  In fact, statistics show that world over females are travelling solo far frequently than their male counterparts.

We are travel girls  is an exceptional community of avid travelers who connect over their shared passion of discovering new places and improving the world through community outreach programs.  #notanad

Also, I am certain a few might ask what’s the need for a separate guide for women, if we consider ourselves to be so equal? To the questioners, I say, being equal doesn’t mean we ain’t got different needs or that we don’t have to navigate the world differently. The point of equality isn’t to erase our personal identities, but, to provide a safe environment for us to be our perfectly diverse selves.  #mytakeonfeminism

So, dearest dame, if you haven’t embarked on a solo expedition yet, I am hoping to be your source of knowledge & comfort. I know, I know, there are endless blogs online covering this exact topic; I am just throwing in my 2 cents! Let’s dive in to the deep end, shall we?

Why you MUST travel solo

Traveling with friends and family is a rewarding experience. Most importantly, when you need to reminisce and revisit a place from the time gone by, someone will understand the exact moment and the exact emotions that moment evokes in you. That is a pretty special bond to share.

Traveling alone will make you uncomfortable, put you in situations where you have only your quick wit to rely on, and make you far more responsible of yourself and aware of your surroundings. Indeed, it can sound daunting to the unprepared and inexperienced. But, and this is a big but, you will be your own boss, do as you fancy and make plans only for yourself.

Being selfish is such a luxury, you’ll be addicted to the feeling. As women, we are often prepared to take on the role of care taker from a very young age. As women, we are ones people rely on. We’re taught responsibility and sacrifice as part of our ethos. So, when we get to break free from the notion of Woman,it is such an evolution of perspective. Be selfish, ladies – it is a joy!

While traveling in a group setting is often comfortable, solo travel is out there to challenge us! The confidence you’ll gain in yourself and the escalated trust on your abilities will stay with you long after the trip ends and, THAT, I truly believe, is a beautiful bond to share with yourself!

Why to travel solo?
Why to travel solo?

Pros & Cons of Solo Travel

Obviously, you will feel an immense sense of achievement. It is a different feeling altogether to do things on your solo expeditions. You’re the only one to pump you up and give pep-talks, you’re the only one who is responsible for safeguarding important documents (read identity cards, credit cards, cash etc.) and eating alone can be a triumph in and of itself.

Now, you won’t need to convince a buddy for a random off-beat location you have wanted to explore or accommodate anyone else’s itinerary into yours. You’re calling the shots and you get complete freedom in choosing your pace. This freedom will introduce you to who you really are, stripping off layers of activities you partake in and leaving behind the things you’re truly passionate about.

Want to curl up beside the hotel pool and read a book? No one to stop you! Craving for some local delicacies that might gross other people out? Dig in and enjoy, as you please! Feeling a burst of energy and want to go on a long walk exploring the random alleyways of a small town? By all means, you’re the master of your time.

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world


Freya Stark

10 Tips from a Solo Female Travelers

Well, let’s look at some of the important tips for solo female traveling in detail. I hope you enjoy them and in case you think I missed on something, I will be glad to hear in comments sections.

1. Destination is the key

Truly enjoying the great gin-joys of solo travel is elevated by your choice of travel. Why you want to go to a particular place and understanding your attraction to that location will help you have a more enriching experience.  While research is important, and your safety MUST be your paramount concern, please note that you must be realistic in your research.

2. Pack light

Ladies, we are infamous for the satirical amount of packing we partake in prior to a trip. Yes, yes, we pack the essentials that others might forget, and yes, they WILL be using your toiletries and essentials as and when required. But, we are alone and packing for ourselves. Let’s not overindulge.

Of course, this requires truly knowing your travel style. I, for one, avoid wearing heels at all costs, but, every vacation I have taken I have packed a pair – JUST IN CASE! Why? I fail to understand as well. Have the said pair of heels ever been used on any trip? Nope, not at all. Know yourself and pack accordingly.  

3. Control the stress level

It is a daunting task, to venture out on your first solo trip. Just know that things will definitely not go your way entirely. Have the crux of your trip planned and fit everything else in between. So, ensure your flight/bus/train tickets to and from your destination are booked, you have your first day’s accommodation all planned and you have a list of things you’d like (more or less) to do. Keep some buffer in your schedule and enjoy your own pace. Also, have enough cash and spread it out across your bags.

4. Travel Insurance

This is easily the most skipped item on any list. But, I am a big advocate for the same. Whether you’re travelling internationally or locally – ensure you get a decent plan.

5. Never disclose your accommodation

This is your safe haven. Regardless if you meet a cool boy at a pub, make some new friends with the locals, you can never be too safe. Make plans to meet up in public spaces. During random conversations, if people are curious to know where you’re staying, just be vague(which is a great skill to learn)!

Don't forget to enjoy as you travel solo
Don’t forget to enjoy as you travel solo

6. Take a break from technology

Yes, it is important to document your trip, but, try avoiding social media in general and immerse yourself in the now! Women tend to lead busy lives and have a lot of multitasking they manage on a day-to-day basis.

We are so used to being busy & having something to do that when all the pretense of societal living is stripped off, we might start feeling a bit uncomfortable and, for the sake of familiarity, start messing around with our gadgets. Resist the urge. Be comfortable in your skin and soak in all that is around you!

7. Enroll in activities

While it is joyous to be alone, it is also equally fun to meet new people. Whether it is a local cooking class, or any of the multiple tours that go on in most cities – take part in some activity. Great way to open up new horizons.

8. Trust your instincts

If you ever start feeling uncomfortable in a situation, take stock of the situation and remove yourself from it as inconspicuously as possible. While you might seem to think it is overreaction on your part and you’re reading too much into a situation, your gut is stronger than you might think. Just be proactive and alert and if you’re not feeling it, it is completely okay to choose to disconnect.

This trip is all about you and you alone – don’t feel like you’ll be offending someone (that you might barely know in the first place!!) by choosing yourself. Also, pepper sprays should always be carried, regardless of whether you’re travelling or not.

9. Emergency contact numbers

Make sure to have multiple copies of emergency contact numbers with one in each of your travel bags. If you are travelling solo, in adverse situations you don’t want to be stranded for help. Not just a physical list, you should have these contact numbers on your speed dial or as emergency calling numbers on your phone. Good to include your Hotel’s number on your list of contacts.

10. Snacks and munchies

Always have something to munch on and boost your energy while you travel. If you are more of an adventurous type, you are bound to find yourself in areas where food might not be easy access like in the cities. Mint, candy, protein or energy bars and a water bottle is a must.

Always have a packet of Glucose and a few tablets of Digene. Glucose will help for an instant energy boost and Digene will help as you will be eating out mostly.

Bonus Tip

Must always break the norm and do more! 😉

11. Be open to new experiences

Don’t be afraid to be open to new experiences. Being worried about your safety might be a legitimate concern, but it is a concern to be aware of, not to be obsessed about. Don’t be afraid of interactions. Most people are inherently like us and not everyone is out to get you. The odds are most likely in your favor. That being said, don’t be foolhardy and brash either. Walk the fine balance.

Learn from the experiences of traveling solo and inspire others too
Learn from the experiences of traveling solo and inspire others too

Word of Advice

  • Be cautious of what you wear – This is the worst thing I can think of saying, and it pisses me off. As human beings, we should be free to do as we please and enjoy wearing clothes that feel comfortable/ good to us. However, it is better to be cautious and know that situations might change quickly and you don’t want to be in the limelight for what you’re wearing. Be discreet in your presentation. (Have I said I hate giving this advice? I really do!)
  • Pack the essentials – Whether it is ensuring you have tampons/sanitary pads, or a decent medicinal kit – be prepared with things you will required. This list should include sunscreen, toiletries, or just hair tyes, ensure your daily needs are safely packed with you! Also, pack a good paid of sneakers for all the walking around and exploring you will be doing.
  • Don’t be over friendly – While it is important to interact, just be careful initially. It’s okay to use your judgement. However, don’t take this to mean you should be closed off. Again, walk the fine balance.
  • To combat unwanted attention – ensure you drop hints of your significant other/ partner/spouse/ kids coming along. Easiest way to ward off creeps is to put them on alert! By all means, if you find someone cute- be as flirty as you like. Just use your judgement.
  • Always ensure you have someone from the hotel meet you at the airport/railway station/bus stand – especially if it is night time when you’re reaching. This might cost you a bit more, but it will be safer.
  • Speak up and make a scene if teased – Being touched inappropriately? Just speak loudly and affirmatively. Ensure there are people around you when you do this. People around you WILL speak up in your defense (people are inherently mostly nice, after all) and the culprit will feel guilty if nothing else. Also, I would suggest to not immediately leave the scene/public space, especially if you’re to take an isolated route after. Bruised egos can make people do crazy things. Just lay low for a bit, if something like this happens and wait for the moment to pass.
  • If travelling internationally, ensure you have all your travel documents ready! Don’t leave this to the last second.

International or Domestic Travel for Solo Women?

Now that you know you want to go and how to go about going, you need to pick a place! There are some great resources online in helping you choose. The first and foremost question you’ll have to answer is whether you want to explore something in your own country or take an excursion in foreign lands. Both are viable options, with different beasts to tackle. India gets a bad rep when it comes to solo female travel. But, I have experienced legitimate joys and unforgettable conversations with strangers on my own soil.

The hills have a charm of their own, are very safe, though slightly tedious to access. Whether you’re choosing the Himachali hills or their Uttrakhand counterpart, whether the North-East is calling out to you, or the Ghats in the Western India – all are viable and beautiful options.

The beaches of Goa, Gokarna, Kerala all offer an amazingly relaxing vacation with lots to contemplate and explore! Coonoor and Pondicherry are beautiful locations where you can idle around and enjoy the local culture. The places to count are endless.

Internationally, of course, it might be a bit easier in terms of the unwarranted attention from the opposite sex, but, comes with challenges of its own. Not knowing the local language, not liking the cuisine, being too home-sick for the familiar are all possible complications. But, with a starkly different experience, you will have the place to call your own, forever!  

World is waiting for you, go out and enjoy solo
World is waiting for you, go out and enjoy solo

Conclusion

Living in a very patriarchal society, the traditional definition of a woman’s role has been the house-maker. Thus, I truly believe we have more hunger for individuality & independence then men of our generation, or any generation for that matter.

Wanting to do as we please is a luxury and while we might feel uncomfortable doing it and breaking stereotypes- the desire to be acknowledged as an individual, a human, surpasses any of the hesitations. Studies say that women who take one trip every year are happier and productive.

You are reading this page, knowing you want to go on an adventure just for yourself. Don’t be hesitant and take the plunge, dear wanderer!

So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, pack your bags, make sure you have everything we listed above and say adios to you day-to-day life. Comment below if you have any questions and concerns. I will be happy to help and respond!

Are you looking for the CUSTOMIZED TOURS?? Get in touch with our our handpicked & trusted Destination Specialists from the Himalayas who offer SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATES to all the readers/followers of the Devil On Wheels website.


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About Author

Shefali spends most of her time day dreaming about her next big vacation. A happy-go-lucky personality, she is an amalgamation of all the places she’s lived in and experienced! She is always confused as to where to call home, having lived in Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Mumbai, Hyderabad in India and Vancouver, Abbotsford in Canada. Her love for travel is only challenged by her love for reading and eating delicious food! In order to sustain her dreams, she brought out her inner geek, got an MBA and has a job in the corporate world crunching numbers. Do follow @nomadstoryteller on Instagram for updates on her next great adventure.

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Are you looking for the CUSTOMIZED TOURS?? Get in touch with our our handpicked & trusted Destination Specialists from the Himalayas who offer SPECIAL DISCOUNTED RATES to all the readers/followers of the Devil On Wheels website.


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