6 Reasons Why Every Single Woman Should Travel Solo At Least Once
When it comes to solo travel, there’s a bit of a gender gap. I’ve known plenty of men that have embarked on solo trips, but very few women. Anytime I’ve planned a solo trip, the general reaction I receive from loved once is a mixture of fear and confusion as to why I’d do such a thing.
If you’re a single lady who wants to see the world but doesn’t have someone to travel with, don’t wait for someone to join you. Just do it. Here are six good reasons why every single woman should travel solo at least once:
1. There’s no better way to get to know yourself
When I spent a week alone in Paris last spring, I was feeling pretty terrible. I was supposed to make the trip with someone (a male) and, for lack of wanting to air someone else’s dirty laundry, let’s just say that I was cancelled on last-minute. However, being alone in a place where I was cut off from phone calls and most internet activity forced me to work through everything that had been bothering me.
2. It’s a vacation for your brain
If you make the decision to travel alone, consider going somewhere where you don’t know much of the language. I’ve forgotten 90% of my high school French, and this was actually kind of a blessing. I knew enough to get by, but not enough to understand any of the chatter around me.
I’m a chronic inadvertent eavesdropper, and being able to tune out everything around me for a week straight was magical. The few times I entered into a touristy area and overheard people speaking English, I secretly got annoyed. They were hijacking my braincation!
3. You can truly “leave it all behind”
With no one there to bring up what happened last week at work, or why your friend Judy is being such a bleep, you can truly leave everything behind you and be in the moment.
4. You can do what YOU want to do
When I went to Miami solo, this meant sleeping on the beach all day, every day (hint: I was stressed). When I went to Paris, however, this meant walking… a lot of walking. In fact, the only touristy thing I did while in Paris was take a picture of the Eiffel Tower. I skipped the museums and whatever else I was “supposed” to do, and just walked for upwards of ten miles per day and took pictures of things I found interesting. Not only was this one of my favorite trips to date, but also, I think I got a better idea of what Paris is really like by skipping the touristy activities and just observing everyday life.
5. You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone
Incidentally, I think this is the thing that people fear most when traveling solo. However, it happens to be the most beneficial parts of traveling alone. I can’t lie – anytime I’ve gone on a solo trip, I was intimidated. When traveling abroad with a friend or two, you have someone else to lean on, someone to get lost with – and someone else to look like an ass with when you try to speak the local language and fail miserably. When I first arrived in Paris, the thought of facing two rather intimidating things (eating alone and ordering in French) freaked me out so much, that I went hungry. And then I got over it… mainly because surviving solely on croissants was starting to make me sick. I went to a bistro, ordered a croque monsieur, preoccupied myself with chain smoking, and survived.
Which leads me to…
6. You’ll come out of it feeling stronger
One memory that sticks out from my study abroad experience six years ago was part of an ill-fated trip to Barcelona with friends. Everything that could go wrong, did – the place we booked and pre-paid for didn’t actually exist, the friend we were traveling with didn’t know that we had to move locations and we lost her for a few days, and then she had a seizure and had to go to the ER. After a few days of this, I decided to head back to London alone. At this point in my life, I hadn’t ventured out much alone and I remember sitting in the back of the cab thinking, “Holy shit… I just navigated my way home through a foreign country all alone.”
At the end of every solo trip I’ve taken, I’ve come out of it feeling not only stronger as a person, but also accomplished. I’ve done something many people – especially many women – wouldn’t dream of doing, and that’s pretty awesome.
Don’t get me wrong – I love (and general prefer to) travel with friends. However, I truly believe everyone should try traveling solo at least once in their lifetime – particularly women.
If you’re considering taking a solo trip but are a little nervous, start small. Book a weekend trip somewhere where you know you can occupy your time alone (for me, that was Miami). Once you’re more comfortable with traveling alone, start working your way up to bigger trips.
Have you ever traveled alone? If so, what tips do you have for others that may be trying it for the first time?