When you’re a solo traveller people tell you a lot of stuff. When you’re a FEMALE solo traveller you can times that stuff by ten. The majority of this advice is usually pretty sound, but the rest of it is usually a bunch of garbage, outdated thinking or just plain useless. Here’s a whole heap of lies you do not have to listen or buy into as a solo female traveller...
“Oh you probably won't be doing crazy things, just sightseeing”
Some people have an assumption that every girl is a quiet traveller who just sees sights and has no grand designs on adrenaline packed adventures. WRONG! You do you here of course ladies, but if you want to run, climb, snowboard, jump off or dive under ANYTHING while you’re travelling, don’t let anyone make you feel like that’s not ‘for girls’.
“Never go anywhere alone at night”
If you never went anywhere alone at night as a solo traveller you’d have to be in lock down by sunset like some reverse vampire and waste plenty of your holiday sitting in your hotel. Hell nah to that. I understand the safety aspect of this, but do your research before you go and understand where you can (and can’t) go alone as a woman, be sensible and have a great time in the places that are safe. Get a taxi or Uber back to your hotel instead of walking and always be aware of your surroundings BUT don’t feel like you need to stay locked away if you’ve done your due diligence and know the lay of the land in your new destination.
“It’s not safe to go there as a woman
Forget going out alone at night, how about going at all! There are dangers in every part of the world and a good traveller does their research before they go, and while they’re there. You can take precautions like carrying a whistle and wearing a money belt, and you can even travel in a group like Contiki when going to regions that may not be as receptive of women as others (such as Egypt,Turkey and some places South America). There are ways to manage it and it should never stop you from going.
“Girls always pack too much”
Unless you’re (kindly) offering to carry my bag, it’s none of your concern how much, or how little, I bring on holidays with me. Women do understand that packing a lot makes a bag heavier, and we do it anyway because we WANT to bring those things. Don’t try to kill our vibe by telling us to pack 3 t-shirts, one pair of pants and no underwear so we can get carry on. Honestly, we know the price means carrying a heavy bag and we’re cool with it. Plus, we’ll come away with great arms.
“You’ll get lonely”
No we won’t. Travel is about seeing new places and meeting new people, and I’d say 90% of solo female travellers are open to that and not looking to lock themselves in a tower and order Uber Eats for the whole trip. Also PSA: being alone doesn’t equal being lonely. In fact some people enjoy being alone (myself included).
“Be careful of any men that try to befriend you”
We’re living in a time that is shedding light on women that have been abused, harassed or overlooked, and that’s come with a bit of wariness about men. But men are not ‘bad people’ and sure, you might get some annoying ones on holidays (or at home), but if you go out in the world thinking every man who is nice to you is faking it, well… you’re going to really limit your chance for genuine human interaction. Always play it smart and safe, but maybe a guy just wants directions or to ask you what kind of chicken it is you ordered because it looks so damn tasty.
“Forget makeup, you’re travelling”
How many people tell you to pack light (good advice) and then tell you to ditch your makeup, hair dryer and every other beauty product? There’s a bit of ‘makeup shaming’ that goes on in the hardcore travel community and I’m here to say a big fat nope to that. If you love makeup and you value makeup, please bring your makeup. If you do not, then don’t. But what someone else chooses to bring and makes them feel good is none of your business.
“If you travel so much you won’t have time to find a man/make babies/buy a house”
Ughhhhh who else hates hearing any version of the above?! It usually comes from well-meaning family members but as a solo female traveller who just bought her first apartment (in Sydney no less!), I am here to tell you it’s a total lie. Travel can be as expensive, or inexpensive, as you want and it’s YOUR money. As for the getting married and procreating thing, also a lie. You can have it all if you want it, and while it may not happen to everyone else’s timeline, just stay true to yourself and your dreams.