We all hold a certain version of ourselves in our heads. A version that ‘defines’ who we are. When we hear the term “solo female travel” thoughts may pass through our minds, unknowingly hindering us from reaching our full potential. Well meaning family say “It’s too dangerous for you to travel alone,” and friends might ask “Wouldn’t you get bored all by yourself?” You may find yourself thinking, “Well, it’s just not for me.”
Many SoFe members became solo travelers because of the stories and support they found on The Solo Female Traveler Network. The sense of community is truly inspirational, and the heartfelt, authentic messages that come through motivate us to journey out into the world. If we see other people doing it, it becomes easier to imagine ourselves doing it. Read articles on brave women who don’t let anything hold them back, like Chelsea Lew who travels while bing both deaf and blind. Follow solo female travelers on social media, and read books written by solo female travels. We recommend avoiding travelers who over-glamorize travel, and learn instead from women who share honest truths and insights.
One of the first things you can do to start getting a feel for solo travel is to take explore your own home city. Date yourself! This way, you can get to know yourself. Ask yourself what you want to do. Start with something small, like a comedy club, a movie, or a community event. In my hometown, we had concerts in the park every week over summer. I used to go alone, and at places like this, it wasn’t unusual. Everyone was out enjoying the sun, swaying to the music, and bonding over cover bands during hot summer nights. Going out for adventures in your own city can help give you the confidence to know that you can do it, no matter how uncomfortable you may be when you first start.
One of the most intimidating things for many solo travelers is eating out by themselves. Oftentimes, it has a stigma attached to it that many of us have to work hard to unlearn. So, take yourself out to eat. Whether you plan a fancy dinner date or decide to grab a bite at your favorite taco truck, try to spend time getting comfortable not only eating, but enjoying your ‘meal for one’ with only your own company. Sometimes I like to journal or read while waiting for my food. If you’re looking for conversation, a good tip is to sit at the bar – there’s often other people eating there alone.
You’ve ventured out in your home city, and the thought of eating alone no longer scares you – now it’s time to go on a weekend trip! This is where you really start enjoying your own solitude and realise one of the fundamentals about solo travel: what you think you want, when you’re around people, may actually look different to what you actually want. We’re influenced by other people’s opinions, energy and mere presence more on a daily basis. Solitude gives us the clarity to discover who we really are.
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It’s one thing to take yourself out alone for a night. It’s another thing to do it all weekend. Some people prefer to be by themselves for longer, while others thrive off meeting people. Solo traveling can feel lonely sometimes, but rest assured, you have friends just waiting to meet you in all corners of the world. When you feel like company and your book or podcast just isn’t cutting it, then it’s time to reach out to the communities around you.
Put your phone down. As tempting as it is to use curb anxiety by scrolling on your phone, its counterintuitive to forming real-life social connections. Phones, headphones and books are all ‘avoidant’ social cues, and people will assume that you do not want to engage.
Join in on an activity. People bond over doing things together. Search on Facebook for hiking groups, yoga classes and craft makers, leaning into your interests. Your passions are the roadmap to meeting diverse people connected by common interests – no more small talk!
Make a social goal for yourself. For example, when you go to an event or gathering, aim to talk to at least three people. It could be as simple as giving someone a small compliment; you never know out of which interactions friendships will blossom. Of course, do this all with the same safety precautions you always adhere to when by yourself.
Allow yourself to be spontaneous. Say yes to opportunities and events that your first instinct is to say ‘”no” to. That response has everything to do with the limiting ‘version’ we have of ourselves in our heads, and being open to changing plans leads on to encounters and experiences we would never have expected. This is where the real magic of travel lies!
If you’re still unsure about traveling by yourself, then join up with a group tour. Sometimes we all need a small push before we decide to take the leap. Tours are the perfect way to dip your toe in the water. You’re able to meet other travelers who are also going solo, and often find yourself making plans to meet up again in the future.
P.S: You can come with us! We travel all over the world with solo women just like you. Check out our Meetup Tour destination list.
A dream is just a dream without a plan. Jot down your bucket list travel destinations, and collect images that inspire you of places you want to see and experiences you’d like to have. Start researching flights, accommodation costs and transport. Once you have a budget to work off, you can make a saving plan and start working towards your trip.
Read: Planning a Solo Trip: A Guide for Beginners
Don’t overthink it – book the flight, the roadtrip, or cruise. If you’re feeling nervous before you travel, reach out the The Solo Network Facebook community. There are so many women posting daily who are in the same situation as you.
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