I never know what to expect when I tell someone about an upcoming solo travel trip. While some people are overly enthusiastic about how amazing it’s going to be, there will always be critics who just don’t understand what could possibly make me want to travel all by myself in a foreign country that I have never been to before. I tend to get expressions of concern, shock, or (my favorite) the blank face when they don’t know how to respond. “Why” is a common question I get asked a lot when it comes to solo female travel, along with “are you scared?” and “what are you going to do by yourself?”
The good news is that these reactions are on the decline as more people are starting to travel solo and encourage others to do the same. Unfortunately, there are still some misconceptions when it comes to traveling on your own, especially when you are a solo female traveler.
Do you have a dream trip in mind but you don’t have anyone to join you? Or are you looking for a challenge that will leave you with tons of interesting stories and unforgettable memories? I’m busting five solo female travel myths (guys, the majority of these are applicable to you too!) so you can worry less and start planning that trip of a lifetime!
You’ll get lonely.
Let’s get one thing straight first. Being alone is not bad. Sometimes you need to be alone and clear your mind, or reflect on your journey so far. By spending time alone you may learn a lot about yourself that you didn’t know before.
Loneliness will come around, but it will also leave pretty quickly. There are always other people who will strike up a conversation and befriend you. Or you may start chatting with them. That’s the beauty of traveling by yourself – you can literally make your trip exactly what you want it to be. If you want to hang out with other people, go for it! If not, grab your favorite book and head over to your favorite chill spot for some relaxing alone time.
You need loads of money.
While travel is definitely not free, it is also not a luxury only for rich people. Despite the advertising and media you see glamorizing the fancy resorts and high end tours, there are countless other more affordable options out there to fit your budget. If you are really short on cash, it’s still not impossible. This is where mindset comes in – if you are absolutely determined and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary, it is possible to make it happen. This may be as simple as spending less on clothes, or it may be a more intense transformation that is more of a lifestyle change like only cooking meals at home or moving someplace less expensive.
If you’re flexible with where you go, where you stay, and your style of traveling in general, it is totally possible. I only paid $30 per night at the hostel I stayed at in Dubrovnik, which is an inexpensive rate for Croatia considering it was peak season in their most popular city for tourism. Take the time to do the research and you may be surprised how affordable travel really can be!
The world really isn’t the scary, dangerous place that the media makes it out to be. Of course, some places are much riskier to visit than others, but in my travels I have met some of the kindest and the most welcoming people that have taught me how to trust in the goodness of humankind.
Why is it that everyone thinks the safest place to be is at home? Violence and crime happens everywhere in the world, and if you look into actual data it may even be more dangerous at home for some people than the country or city they are traveling to! The key is to keep using common sense, be aware of your surroundings… you know, all the things your mom tells you before leaving the house.
Yes, there are unfortunately additional precautions that female travelers should take to stay safe. However, as long as you travel smart, potential danger is no reason for any gender to write off solo travel. Because the truth is, I’d rather face danger and live a life I’m proud of than stay at home scared to try anything new or uncomfortable.
It’s embarrassing to eat alone in public.
Have you ever thought something like this before? Stop that! Never be embarrassed to be alone. Especially when eating. It’s such a special opportunity to be alone while dining out, as it is one that probably doesn’t happen all that often.
Sometimes I use that time to catch up on emails or social media. Other times, I put my devices away and savor the moment. I pay attention to all the little things you wouldn’t notice if you were surrounded by a group of people. I focus on the rich flavors of my meal and the different smells wafting through the air while watching the people around me.
Solo travel is for people who are young, single, don’t have kids, etc.
False. This stereotypical solo traveler is exactly that. A stereotype. While you may not be in the majority, it is certainly not unheard of to be a solo traveler that doesn’t fit into these categories. I have met plenty of older solo travelers and I have a boyfriend who can’t always travel with me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go on my own! I cannot speak from experience about having kids, but A Family Travel Blog has a great post about why moms should travel solo at least once. Don’t let the status quo hold you back. If traveling solo is a dream of yours, by all means go for it!
You can spend all day thinking up excuses and “what ifs” for why you shouldn’t travel solo, or even at all. Take the leap and go explore. Prove the solo female travel myths wrong. There are so many opportunities and experiences waiting for you just a plane ride away.
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