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The Pros and Cons of Solo Female Travel

Solo female travel has grown in popularity in recent years — many women choose to embark on a journey for freedom, self-discovery, and personal growth. With the proper planning, research, and preparation, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, as with any form of travel, there are pros and cons to consider before setting off on your own.

The PROs

Empowerment and Personal Growth

Traveling alone as a woman can be intimidating, but if you're courageous enough to do it, you can learn more about yourself than you’ve ever imagined. Stepping out of your comfort zone might feel scary and exhilarating at the same time, however, being in charge of every decision will give you a strong feeling of empowerment. The term "independent woman" is commonly used today, and solo travel can truly help you tune into and reconnect with yourself. It allows time for self-reflection and discovery.

Get out of Your Shell

Solo travel is great for exploring new cultures, meeting new people, and experiencing the world in a completely unique way. Because there is no one else to rely on but yourself, traveling alone urges you to develop social skills. As an introvert, I should definitely make use of this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my friends to step in for me whenever I had to order food, buy tickets, or ask for directions in a new environment. Having to handle everything by yourself boosts your confidence and makes you say: “I can actually do this, who knew?”

Meet New People

Being alone forces you to make new connections, but some of those might even turn into long-term friendships. You can join late-night hostel talks, take guided tours and strike up a conversation with fellow travelers in the group. Or why not connect with locals and get an authentic experience? Whatever we may say, us humans need social interactions, and solo trips are perfect if you’re open to new connections.

You’re in Charge of … Everything

Traveling solo comes with a lot of freedom. It can be liberating to embark on an adventure without having to consider anyone else's plans or expectations — you can take a guilt-free nap or stay up as late as you wish. You’ll be in complete control of every decision and will be able to get off the beaten path.

If you're tired of the big tourist attractions, just wander around aimlessly and you might find the best hidden gems. And one of the best things in all of this? Overseeing everything improves your decision-making skills and develops your problem-solving abilities, because sometimes things may not go exactly according to plan. Trains get canceled or the Airbnb you booked does not exist when you get there. So, flexibility is key!

Improve Your Language Skills

You will need to communicate by yourself, so why not practice the local language? Chatting with a local not only opens up the possibility of making a new friend but can help you get better at communicating in a new language. Plus, locals love it when you put extra effort into speaking their language, and they will probably help you get through the harder phrases.

Change Your Perspective of the World

Traveling allows you to see the world in a completely new light. And embarking on a solo journey heightens the impact of the experience. You gain a greater appreciation for the world's beauty, as well as the difficulties that many people face. Solo travel allows you to become more open-minded and understanding of different cultures and beliefs, which can help you become a more compassionate, mindful, and tolerant person.

The CONs

Higher Costs

The cost is one of the most significant disadvantages of solo travel. When traveling alone, you are responsible for covering all your travel expenses, including transportation, accommodation, food, and entertainment. This can quickly add up so it's critical to plan ahead and budget accordingly. One tip I can give you is booking overnight transportation. This way, you save on accommodation, and you sleep on the move, not wasting precious daylight with train rides.

Increased Risk of Danger

Safety should always be a top priority when traveling alone, especially as a woman. Being aware of your surroundings is very important, so stay in safe areas, remain vigilant, and trust your instincts. Come to terms with the idea that you might have to navigate scary situations.  Researching the area beforehand and familiarizing yourself with local laws and customs can already help you feel more equipped for the journey. I also recommend having an external battery just in case your phone needs an extra boost of energy.

Tourists are easily spotted if they’re  constantly staring down at the map on their phones. Luckily, Google Maps not only shows the way, but it also tells you. This means that if you don't want to be identified as a tourist right away, you can put on headphones and follow the instructions provided by the app. Oh, and to avoid getting lost in case your data suddenly gets disconnected, you can download the map of the city beforehand and pin the locations you want to get to. Pinning your accommodation is a priority in any case.

Other things to remember: don’t flash expensive items or jewelry (you can lock valuables up if you stay at a hostel or hotel), don’t tell the truth when a man asks you if you’re traveling alone, don’t post your location on social media, but do check in with friends or family regularly and send them your itinerary. In general, do things that make you feel secure and confident on your trip.

For more advice, take a look at our article on staying safe as a woman abroad.

It Can Get Lonely Sometimes

It’s easy to talk about making new friends and reaching out to locals, but it’s harder to actually do it. And when you’re an introvert, it’s even more challenging. So be prepared that on some days, you might feel lonely and demotivated. Try Facebook groups or even an InterNations event to get out of your shell. Having no one to share the experience with can be odd at times, especially if you haven’t traveled alone before and you might feel increased anxiety.

Traveling solo can be a rewarding experience. You’ll gain a greater sense of confidence and independence, and you’ll meet some incredible people along the way. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine if it's the right thing to do. You can even practice beforehand by taking yourself out on solo dates in your own city. So what do you say, are you planning on traveling solo soon?

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