Solo female travel is becoming increasingly popular and more accepted. Regardless, some views and misconceptions linger which hold back women who would like to travel solo from the cost to the big scary world out there. Here are some debunked myths of solo female travel.
1. Traveling solo is difficult, scary, and dangerous if you are a woman
Fear-mongering news stories about women travelling alone coming to harm from harassment to sexual assault and murder. This is interesting for many reasons especially considering the fact that most women who are murdered or sexually assaulted suffer these fates at the hands of people known to them including relatives and intimate partners.
Of the 87,000 women killed in 2017, 137 per day, 30,000 were killed by an intimate partner, and 20,000 by a relative. Another study found that 51.1% of rape victims were raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance or someone known to them. The same stats ring true for male victims of rape. Over half, 52.4% were raped by a stranger and 15.2% by a stranger.
There will always be risks involved in everything, that’s the only deal we get, and preparation is the only way to minimize the potential dangers. In any event, female solo travel is clearly safer than spending any time in the company of male acquaintances, relatives, and partners.
2. It’s more expensive and a lot more work to travel alone
Travelling with someone else looks cheaper because of the perception of shared costs from hotel rooms to transport. However, you can switch your mindset and choose solo traveller options. Choose a hostel dorm instead of a hotel room if you don’t mind sharing space, take the bus, train, or other public transportation options instead of cabs or renting cars and search for deals online to cut your costs.
While you may have to plan everything yourself, it’s far much easier because you don’t have to consult on every decision. You can be more serendipitous and follow your whims. You don’t have to worry about whether the other person or people are having fun or okay with the choices made. It is in fact far easier to plan a solo trip with far more freedom to boot. The benefits far outweigh any extra effort required in planning.
3. Solo travel means being lonely often
One of the benefits of travelling with other people is the assured company. Human beings are social animals so it makes sense that people would worry about this. However, solo travel does not necessarily mean being lonely. You are not the only one going on a solo trip. More and more women are travelling alone, so you’ll be in good company. Thanks to social media and the sharing economy, there are online communities created specifically with female solo travellers in mind.
Plus, loneliness is linked to this fear of being alone, yet in this world where something is always stealing your attention, there is something liberating about spending time by yourself, getting to know yourself, and having fun to boot. It’s also easier to talk to other people and make friends when travelling solo. When travelling with a group, people tend to stick to their group or pairing and not venture out to meet new people.
4. Solo travel is only for those who are single (and sad)
Female solo travel is often perceived as the only option available for sad, single women. Tied to this is the fear of being seen eating alone in a restaurant and being perceived as sad and alone. This one is linked to shaming women for being unattached and low-key suggesting that women only get to travel in the company of others or worse, men.
Women, whether single or in relationships should maintain their sense of independence by doing things on their own and not falling into codependency and reliance on men or other people in order to travel.
5. You must be extraordinarily brave to travel on your own
You don’t have to be incredibly courageous or brave to go try female solo travel. If anything, courage, and confidence come as a benefit of travelling solo. They do not have to be prerequisites. Making yourself do new things, face new challenges builds your courage and bravery like a muscle making each subsequent trip easier to go on than the last.
Tied to this is the belief that you have to be an extrovert to engage in female solo travel. Introverts may have to work harder to approach new people and make new friends but that should not be a hindrance.
If you want to travel and can afford to, do it. Don’t let any warped societal views about solo female travel hold you back. There’s something to be said for travelling alone and enjoying one’s own company, after all, everywhere you are you’re there.