When I declared that I was going to travel solo to South East Asia I got some mixed reviews. People said I was ‘brave’ or ‘crazy’. That is was ‘dangerous’ and that I should not go alone. Well ‘PAAAHHH’ to them. Many women travel the world alone each year and love it.
The beauty of travelling solo, especially as a female, is that it has taught me so much about myself. It has made me more independent, braver, stronger, and more resilient. I have encountered so many amazing women out there doing the same thing. If fear is the thing stopping you. GET OVER IT.
Here are some tips to think about if you are considering traveling solo:
Forget the excuses.
No one will come with me. Go alone. You are never alone.
I can’t afford it. Yes you can! Travel can be so cheap. Stop spending all your cash on s**t you do not need and get saving!
I can’t leave my job. This one makes me so sad. Jobs will come and go. There will always be good jobs around. You will never be as young as you are now. A career break can re-energize you, give you new skills and resources and help you re-examine your career path.
Confidence is key (If you don’t have it fake it)
As women we are used to having to fake a few things. Confidence is sadly sometimes one of them.
Nobody starts out as a amazingly confident, experienced solo traveler. It comes over time as you become more comfortable finding your way by yourself and making your own decisions.
Sometimes solo women who look confused or lost often attract the wrong kind of attention. Try to look confident and walk as though you know where you are going until you do actually know where you are going. However, do not confuse confidence with cockiness, follow your gut.
Dress, Act and Think like a local
If you do not want to stand out and attract the wrong kind of attention, be sure to check out what others are wearing and follow. While it may be hot and humid for you in Malaysia or Laos, respect the culture and do not treat it like you are on the beach in Benidorm. If you do not want to be targeted as a tourist, you may not have to wear look trousers and long sleeves but do not walk around in hot pants or a bikini. Us Brits do love to get naked at the first bit of sunshine we see!
Do not get too drunk
A few drinks is fine, but do not expect your new friend you met 2 hours ago to look after you when you can not walk. Partying is fun and if you had told 18 year old Sally that partying was more fun when you were not too drunk to remember anything, she would have laughed in your face. But it is true. Drinking clouds your judgement. Getting majorly intoxicated in a strange city surrounded by people you do not know will not end well.
The most imported thing when travelling solo… Enjoy it, embrace it, make the best memories you can. Yes you may feel lonely at times and yes you will get home sick. But don’t be scared, the world and people in it are inherently good. I remember so many occasions where I just had to take a minute and think ‘Wow, I am watching the sunrise on a beach in Thailand’ or ‘I am at the top of a volcano, this is amazing’. Don’t be put off by what others around you are doing; settling down, having babies, getting married. If you want those things, they can wait. This is about you and you will be a much stronger, more independent person because of it.