First-time solo travel can feel daunting and in a society that puts all sorts of restrictions and fears in the minds of women, it might feel even more of a tough uphill climb. However, it’s common knowledge that once someone has a serious case of wanderlust they can be restrained by nothing and no-one. If you’re considering going off on your first solo female adventure then here’s a couple of tips for you. Bon Voyage!
Just Go: Obvious as it may sound often enough this is the stage when the best and the most adventurous plans wilt. If you want nothing more than to get out there and explore, then seriously, stop thinking about it and just do it. You’ll get lots of opinions and “advice” telling you how dangerous the world out there is for women and it’ll all be well meaning of course. However, most of these pearls of wisdom tend to come from people who’ve never travelled solo themselves. Ask any girl who’s travelled solo around the world and she’ll tell you to “Just Go!”
|Ocean views first thing in the morning! Want to be here? Just GO!|
Dealing With Parents: Solo female travel or just girls travelling together is steadily catching on in our country but a lot of Indian parents still haven’t come around to the idea. The best way to ensure your sanity and theirs is to keep them clued in …but not too clued in. If you plan to hike up an active volcano with poor connectivity, let them know you’ll be in the countryside where the connectivity is poor but perhaps keep the active volcano bit out of it. Sitting miles away from you at home, all they will do is worry. You can tell them all about your adventures once you’re back. A key point here is also financial independence, if you’re going away for adventures of your own then make sure the money is your own too. Work hard, save and then travel harder. For more help with this particular issue, click here.
|Hiking up an active volcano? Best to keep that information to yourself until later|
Choose Your Destination Wisely: When deciding to travel solo for the first time try and choose a place that’s easy to get around, where you’ll be able to meet other solo travelers easily and one that is known to be relatively safe. It’s important to first get used to the idea of solo travel and to decide whether it’s for you or not. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend heading to say Morocco on your first trip as a solo female traveler. Handling the attitude of men in the cities, understanding the local transport system and venturing into the countryside all require a level of confidence that comes from experience. European countries, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia are generally good places to start with for your first adventure. Once you have the knowhow then the world is your oyster.
|Bruges, Europe. Romantic but ideal nonetheless for a solo female traveller|
Be Cautious, Not Paranoid: As women travelling solo it’s a good idea to exercise caution and our instincts are our best friends. However, that doesn’t mean every stranger trying to strike up a conversation or every invitation into a local home for a meal is ridden with sinister motives. It’s sometimes frustrating that as women you can’t just go into a local bar in some countries and grab a drink without worrying about your safety. As far as invitations into homes of local families and festivities go, women tend to get invited a lot more often. There are pros and cons to everything. Be aware but not overly so because all you’ll end up doing is missing out on experiences that could’ve otherwise been lifelong memories. Also, don’t be paranoid about using websites like Couchsurfing, AirBnB or Roomorama to meet or stay with locals and expats. If you’re worried about safety stick to places and people that are verified and well reviewed. Remember, thousands of women and men have used these websites before you.
|Making the most of local festivals and cultures|
Do Your Research, Don’t Overplan: With all the visa regulations, parent’s possibly breathing down your neck and your own nervousness, it might be tempting to plan your adventures down to a T. Try resisting that urge. The best travel memories are often the unplanned ones and you might want to leave room for spontaneity. Once you’ve reached your destination, the best guidebooks will be the locals in the area, fellow travelers you meet along the way and local tourist offices. It’s always a good idea to book your accommodation for the first night or two in a new place and to make sure you’re carrying enough converted currency. Always research enough to feel confident in the knowhow of the culture, traditions, and geography of the place you’re in and after that it’s best to go with the flow for the most part.
|Bicycles are my favourite way of exploring|