Solo Travelling & Women: Does It Make Sense?
Once thought of as a strange idea, travelling alone has become mainstream over the past couple of decades. More and more people are realising that travelling does not necessarily mean planning a trip with family or friends but something that you can do on your own and still have fun. And it's not just men, but women too are now keen on exploring new lands on their own.
Women travelling alone has always been something of a rarity. Increased safety issues, doubts about being able to manage complex situations, and worries about uncertainties that are often a part of travelling are some of the top reasons that dissuade many women from considering a trip alone. These are also the reasons why women travelling solo continues to raises eyebrows in society.
Overcoming Worries of Travelling Alone: Why Women Should Go Solo
Is travelling alone worth it? Is it fun to go it alone? Will it be too dangerous? Won't it be super boring to travel on your own? Such thoughts are common when you considering a solo trip. But the joys of travelling alone are many indeed. Here are just a few of the top reasons every woman should consider making at least one trip alone:
Breaks You Free of the Need for Travel Buddies
A lot of us have been fantasizing about our dream vacation for years, whether that be trekking in the Himalayas or backpacking through Europe. But it is not always easy to find companions for such trips. Your friends might not be interested in the places you want to go to or may want to travel in a different style (eg luxury vs backpacking). Or perhaps there might be no one in your life who wants to travel! In this case, do you give up your dream? No!
Travelling solo gives you the freedom to plan exactly the kind of vacation you want - the places you want to go to, the kind of itinerary you want, the kind of experiences you want and how you want to spend your time. No more dropping of that museum you wanted to visit because your companion is in no mood for yet another museum!
Teaches You To Be Resourceful
It can feel overwhelming thinking about the unknown things that may face us while travelling alone in a strange place. You may wonder if you will be able to tackle the challenges - will you be able to find your way without knowing the language, enjoy a meal alone, find a safe hotel and many more such things.
When you start travelling, you realise that actually you can deal with most challenges very well. Yes, the first few times may be nerve-wracking and full of anxiety, but you soon discover your hidden capabilities and overcome your hesitancies.
Gives You a Confidence Boost
Accomplishing your first solo travel can feel like a real achievement. In fact, every trip gives you a feeling of empowerment. Making detailed plans, navigating strange places, dealing with uncertain situations and being in charge of all decisions are things that ensure you come out stronger from the experience. As you look back, you will feel proud of yourself that you did something that took you out of your comfort zone!
Solo Travelling for Beginners: Should You or Should You Not?
Travelling alone may not be for everyone, but with preparation, most will be able to have a fun time. It is a great opportunity to challenge yourself and get comfortable with the idea of spending time alone. and managing potentially tricky situations by yourself.
One of the best ways to explore the idea is to spend some time reading up on travel blogs run by women travellers. This will give a full understanding of what it feels like to plan a solo trip and go on one. This second-hand experience can help you think through if you will be comfortable with the idea.
Essential 5 Things to Keep in Mind While Planning a Solo Trip
Choose Your Destinations with Care
Picking out the destination for your vacation is naturally the first step but when you are travelling alone as a woman you do need to spend a little extra time to check if the destination works for a solo trip. Some places are safer than others and it may be wise to initially stick with places that do not make you feel too uncomfortable. Do your research to figure out how safe a place is (eg, the prevalence of mugging, random violence etc) and how "female-friendly" (safe and comfortable for women to move about alone). You should be able to find several online resources and travelogues by fellow female travellers where you will find accurate information that will help you make a judgment.
Research, Research, Research
The secret to a smooth trip (as much as you can ensure beforehand!) is research. Knowing the weather, where to stay, best places to visit, best ways to travel (Intra and inter), planning your itinerary so you make the best use of your time are basic elements. The other important part is to understand a little about the local customs and etiquette so you do not go wrong inadvertently, whether is your dressing style or the way to approach locals.
Having all the necessary knowledge ensures you feel prepared and ready when you step out of the plane. It gives you a feeling of confidence and so even if you face something unexpected, you can use the information you have to tackle the situation on hand.
Be Cautious in What You Share
It is best to be cautious in the amount of information you share with people you meet while travelling. Do not be free with information regarding your travel plans or with the fact that you are travelling alone. Do not volunteer identifying information like the hotel you are staying, your itinerary etc unless you feel comfortable. While in most cases, there might be no cause for worry, it can become an issue if someone uses such information to harass you in any way. Another major point to remember is to leave all relevant details with your family or friends back home. Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and details of where you are staying. You should also consider updating them either via social media or direct contact to let them you where you are currently and how you are doing.
Trust Your Gut
Our gut instinct often picks up that something is fishy even if our logical brain does not. So do not ignore anything you feel is off. For example, if you feel the hotel you have booked looks sketchy, then do not hesitate to move. Or perhaps the guide you have hired does seem too reliable. Or if you feel unsafe in any city. Take heed of these inner warnings and act on them. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry.
While packing before leaving for a vacation, it gets very hard to decide what to carry and what to drop. Suddenly everything we use in our daily lives seems indispensable and we want to have it with us. In no time, you will find your suitcase full and you may be considering carrying another bag. Don't! Prune out all stuff that is not absolutely essential so you only have what you absolutely cannot do without. Don't forget you can always buy something similar at the place you are going to. Exceptions are of course things like medicines, chargers, documents and money!
Top 5 Destinations for Women Travelling Solo in India
India can be a daunting destination for most travellers given its complexity and unpredictability. But it is even more so of a challenge for women since many consider it as a country that's rather unfriendly to women travellers. While the country is definitely more challenging than many other countries, it would be incorrect to say that it is completely unsafe for women. Following precautions and making informed choices after thorough research will help you reduce much of the risk. We have shortlisted some of the best cities/areas to visit in this vast country.
Known as a top spiritual centre for Hindus and the yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh attracts visitors from the world over. Set by the Ganga, Rishikesh is a quiet mountain town that teens with ashrams, yoga schools and temples. If you want a laid-back holiday just soaking in the serenity of the mountains and the calming atmosphere then Rishikesh is a great pick. If you want to amp up the fun, then consider adventure activities like white river rafting and bungee jumping, for which too Rishikesh is popular.
Located in the deep south, Kerala is a verdant small state that offers plentiful choices in destinations from beaches to mountains. The state as a whole is safe for women and you will feel comfortable travelling alone at any time. Some of the best destinations to explore here includes: Munnar, Kochi and Varkala.
Tucked away next to Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is a quaint town with a unique blend of French and Tamil culture. An erstwhile French colony, Pondicherry still retains a strong French culture that you will see reflected in its French quarters - from the architecture, roads and cuisine. The must-visit place in this city is Auroville, a township built around spirituality offering a peaceful welcoming atmosphere. Pondicherry itself is relatively small so you can walk around its main streets to enjoy its ambience.
Located in the extreme north, the forbidding landscapes of Ladakh are like no other. Predominantly Buddhist, this land offers sprawling mountains stunning lakes and monasteries, which feels quite different from the rest of India. The entire region is very safe for women and you will have no trouble moving around here. Do note that the area is not accessible for much of winter.
Bonus: If you don't find Ladakh an interesting option, then Mcleodganj makes for a fantastic alternative. The current abode of the Dalai Lama, the small mountain town is the perfect place for a quiet retreat and is completely safe for women.
All of the northeast is safe for women. The region's culture is matriarchal which is reflected in its culture. There are several destinations you can explore here. We suggest Gangtok and Sikkim or Darjeeling in West Bengal. Both these are mountain towns that offer fantastic scenery and a welcoming atmosphere for women
Top 5 International Destinations for Women Travelling Solo
Travelling abroad has an added layer of thrill that makes it more exciting and also scarier! There is a wide range of choices by way of safe destinations for women across the world, though again some parts being safer than others. We have selected a few destinations that are both safe and easy to travel across different continents:
The Netherlands is one of the best places to pick for your solo trip if you are doing it for the first time. Europe, in general, is safe for women and Amsterdam, in particular, is friendly and safe for a woman travelling alone. English is spoken widely, there is plenty of choice in safe accommodation for women and has ample public transport options so you can travel in and around the city without any worry.
Apart from Just walking around this pretty city, there is a whole host of things to explore here. Some of the top attractions are Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, BLOEMENMARKT, a canal cruise, Anne Frank House and Vondelpark.
This stunningly beautiful country is very friendly to solo travellers. Small and easy to travel, New Zealand is a popular destination with gorgeous scenic landscapes, and buzzing urban centres. The country is particularly a haven for those who love outdoor recreation and adventure sports. You can enjoy alpine mountains, serene lakes and lush forests which can all be easily accessed from major towns. Those looking for thrills will find ample opportunity to explore skydiving, bungee jumping and zip-lining. Some of the best places to visit include Auckland, Mount Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo, Wellington and Rotorua.
Named among the safest countries in the world, Iceland is perfect for both first-time solo women travellers and veterans. Perhaps most well-known for its Northern Lights display, the country is also home to some of the most striking natural landscapes - from volcanoes to fjords to glaciers and waterfalls. The country is best travelled via road so it is best to have a rental car or take group tours. Some of its unmissable attractions include a drive down Ring Road, Golden Circle which covers Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park and hiking on its famous trails like Fimmvörðuháls. You should however note that the country is expensive to travel to!
Easy to navigate and very safe, Canada is a great option to head to in North America for solo women travellers. The country is huge and you will have no dearth of places to explore - from skiing destinations to charming cosmopolitan cities. Offering absolutely breathtaking scenery, the country has several destinations such as Banff National Park, Vancouver Island, and Killarney Provincial Park where you can soak in its natural beauty. Cities like Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal provide a bustling vibe with innumerable cultural and historical landmarks.
A highly popular backpacking destination, Thailand is also great for women to plan a solo trip. Warm and welcoming, the country is largely safe and has robust tourist infrastructure from plenty of reasonably priced accommodation as well as safe public transport. The country offers an amazing range of experiences - you can choose to stick to the major tourist spots like Bangkok and Phuket, or head out to places farther north like Chiang Mai.
When You’ve Had Enough of Single Travel
When you travel alone the constant sensory input and vigilance can wear you down. If you feel your body flagging, don’t be afraid to back off your ambitious itinerary, slow the pace, and kick back for a bit.
When travelling abroad, seek out a place where you can hang out and speak your native tongue with some fellow expatriates and travellers.