Have you ever wanted to take a holiday but you’ve had no one to travel with? Don’t let travelling alone put you off. Travelling solo can be a great experience and gives you so much more freedom to really make the most out of your holiday.
We’ve been chatting to travel blogger Becki Enright, from Backpacker Becki, about travelling as a solo female. Becki has been travelling through Asia for 10 months and she has no plans to stop anytime soon. She’s sharing her travel tips to encourage other women to do the same and reassure them that travelling alone is possible.
Whether you’re taking a long weekend away, a holiday in the sun or you plan to travel for a few months, here are Becki’s top tips for ladies travelling alone:
You are never really alone
One of the main fears of solo travel is being lonely… and this hardly ever happens. If you’re worried about being alone, spend a few nights in a hostel to make friends. Hostels generally attract other solo travellers or sociable types so it’s never hard to strike up a conversation or find a travel buddy heading in the same direction as you. I’ve been on the road for nearly a year and I actually relish the times I get to be by myself again; I crave the solitude. Never underestimate what solo travel arms you with – self-reliance, confidence, organisational skills, patience and an adventurous attitude. You will soon tire of others faffing, flapping and arguing over the most simple of decisions when in a group! Hurrah for freedom!
It’s SAFE. That is all.
Bad things can happen right outside your front door in your home town. The wrong time, wrong place theory applies everywhere. You should simply exercise the same caution when travelling, coupled with being aware of cultural factors which might offend or cause or an uncomfortable situation (such as how you dress and how you act) or which invite unwanted attention. When it comes to the local people, I’ve mostly trusted every person I have ever met. However, instinct is a wonderful thing and it is your best weapon – it certainly kicks in when it’s needed.
Listen to other travellers
OK, some are pretty damn annoying but most are more useful than all the guidebooks on the bookstore shelf. Learn from peoples’ experiences in destinations you are about to travel to. Ask them their thoughts on solo female travel there, what to avoid, the best spots for meeting other travellers and where they stayed in order to meet other people. This kind of knowledge is invaluable and saves a lot of time in planning. I’ve found that saving business cards of the accommodation and restaurants I have highly rated is a great means of passing on information to others.
Don’t be put off by group tour
Sometimes solo travel isn’t always the most efficient, easiest or safest way to see a country, explore a specific area or take part in certain activities (especially the most adventurous ones) so don’t be put off by the prospect of having to join a tour. I would never have been able to navigate through the vast plains on Mongolia for three weeks or remote parts of China without joining an overlanding tour and when it came to activities like trekking to Everest Base Camp, I found that having the camaraderie of a group made the experience much more memorable.
Pack light if you’re travelling long-term
Travel is not always glamorous and nor is it a time to care too much about what you look like so pack for travel, not a holiday. Pack essentials and practical items for your specific destination or region of travel. I live mainly in vest tops, shorts and loose trousers I can mix and match in Asia and I pack warmer clothing, needed for alternative seasons in other countries, in a compression sack.
Don’t pack your most treasured, favourite and most expensive items. You don’t need a science lesson to tell you about the disintegration and discolouring from heat, sweat, dirt and various washing methods that don’t quite fit with the ‘gentle’ wash we have at home. You could take one or two items that make you feel a bit more glammed up than the standard traveller wear, but be prepared to lament its loss when it dies of over-use.
The 60 litre bag or giant suitcase you bought doesn’t have to be filled to the brim until the zips are nearly popping because, while carrying a varied wardrobe was a great idea at first, it quickly becomes a huge annoyance when you have to lug it through the soaring heat of the sun, or up six flights of stairs. Throw things out as you go along and replace items on the way; there is no need to pack so much in a panic when you first leave.