I’ve been traveling alone for years and I love it. Trying to remember exactly when it all started, and I think it was about 20 years ago when I first started going camping by myself. Then it progressed to long weekends in Northern Michigan and trips to out of town conferences with some vacation days tacked onto the end. Then suddenly I found myself on the balcony of my stateroom on a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean.
That first cruise in 2013 was the big leap for me. I went from timid weekend trips or safe camping trips to something big, scary, and expensive. Not only did I go on a cruise by myself but I was also traveling out of the country. Alone. Yes, I was a bit nervous but I wasn’t scared or fearful about the trip. My mother, on the other hand… she was making plans for my estate and making sure she knew where to look for my body when I didn’t make it home. (But she was also excited for me and a little bit jealous of my freedom, she later told me.)
That first cruise had me hooked and I’m about to embark on my third trip to the Caribbean. In the past few years I’ve settled into a routine of solo travel and I’m loving it even more now that I’ve found my confidence and sense of adventure. OK – maybe the word adventure isn’t the right word for the kind of travel I enjoy, but we’re going to go with it anyway.
If you search the Internet for “female solo travel” you’re going to find dozens of websites about how to do it safely. So yes, pay attention to those things. Tips like:
- Always letting someone back home know your full itinerary
- Making copies of your driver’s license, passport, credit cards and emailing them to yourself or keeping a copy with you while you travel
- Trusting your instincts and playing it safe in dicey situations
- Smile and be friendly to strangers
- Research your hotel before you book to make sure it’s in a good part of town
- Keep a tight hold of your purse or bag because thieves target people who are alone
- Know the area you’re traveling to and ask the locals about spots to avoid
- Keep your head up and look around when you’re walking around town
Great tips, huh? But why are they only female solo traveling tips? Shouldn’t everyone observe these tips – even if you’re traveling in groups or with your family? Believe me, I’ve read all the blogs and articles and I follow that advice. I just find it interesting that women need different safety tips than anyone else. But hey, if it helps women overcome their fear of traveling alone, I’m all for it.
I get one of two reactions from people when I mention that I’m going to be traveling alone (or when I meet strangers while on my trip). Those reactions are:
- Aren’t you bored being by yourself?
- Oh no! Be safe, it’s so dangerous for women to travel alone.
I’ve traveled with friends and family plenty of times and I can assure you that I don’t get bored being by myself. In fact, I love the freedom it gives me. There’s nobody to consult about where to go for dinner or if I decided to skip the planned activities of the day at the last minute. If I get distracted by an interesting site on the way to something else, I don’t feel guilty about wanting to stop and explore. There’s nobody to answer to but myself and I am allowed to be as selfish about my time as I choose to be. Honestly, the freedom is probably the best part of traveling alone.
I’ve also discovered over the years that I probably have some quirky things about the way I travel that others might find…. interesting (yeah, that’s a good word for it). So let’s just clear something up right away. I’m a self-proclaimed geek. I’m a girl but in my luggage you’ll find that the gadgets outnumber the pairs of shoes that I pack. Don’t judge.
Look for another blog article about traveling with gadgets. Ha! Maybe I need to focus less on “female solo traveler” and more on “female geek traveler.” It might be an untapped market.
I’ll close with that thought and just add one final thing. No matter who you are, male or female, solo or family, geek or non-geek, traveling and exploring is a life-changing adventure and I highly recommend you venture out and find your own style of travel. And have fun!