Myths about Solo Women Travelers

I have been a lost & found kid, not once or twice, but thrice! And the first time I realized that I was lost, I found myself holding an ice cream cone, sobbing out loud, and pronouncing my name horribly wrong, making it even harder for the announcer at the amusement park to call out for my parents. Given that I hold a grudge against crowd responsible for all the lost & found drama in my childhood, travelling somewhere far, ALONE, has ever since been on my itch list. But only wishing to do so does not suffice. Somewhere we still lack the inspiration to travel alone. So we asked a few known women travelers, (Sharell Cook, Rutavi Mehta, Anuradha Goyal and Priyanka Dalal) about the fear involved, the go-to destinations, things to learn, and some safety tips. Read on to know what they have to say about this!

#Fear

Just because you chose to travel alone does not mean you are a lonely person. Maybe you just waited too long for the right travel companion, and at last the perfect match you found was yourself! If you’re one of those who goes all OMG! Noway on hearing about traveling alone; Trust us, you are more likely to solo travel places. The common fears every solo traveler has faced or will face is:

  • Am I brave enough to travel alone?

  • What happens when I run out of money?

  • What if I feel homesick?

  • I can’t do this, I am too shy!

  • How will I make new friends?

  • What if the locals don’t understand my language?

  • Is solo travelling for a single women even safe?

  • What if I get bored? Or feel lonely? Or miss someone?

When we asked Sharell Cook from About.com (India Travel) about how she overcomes these fears, she quoted, “In regards to safety, I always do a lot of research about the places I’m going to, so I’m prepared. I book accommodations in advance, and also hotel transport if I’m going to be arriving at a railway station late at night. I’m also sensible and don’t take risks, such as being out alone at night in unfamiliar places or going anywhere with strangers. In addition, having learned martial arts gives me confidence that I’m not completely helpless should an untoward situation arise.”

#Go-to Destinations

India fascinates travelers across the world. But often Indian women have mad fears running in their head when asked about solo travelling. The fear of staring, stalking, groping and the worse and most serious, raping is understood and justified. However, how about just wearing that confidence on your face and walking around every place like a local? Just to make you feel more safe and in your comfort zone, what if you get a chance to live with a local family instead of killing time alone in a hotel or a resort? Live with the locals, understand their nature and culture, make friends and spend a good time on your holiday!

Places across India where you can chose to stay with a family over a hotel:

Rutavi Mehta, Founder of Photokatha shared with us what she learnt about herself while travelling alone, she says, “It would be confidence to do anything I can aim at. I have learnt to adjust, experience new world, dream big & how to conquer those dreams.”

#Things to learn

Nothing can be more educational than traveling alone, at least once in your life. It is the most exciting, scary and challenging thing ever. The moment you realize that you are completely alone and on your own on the trip, you are sure to learn the following:

  • You love being completely alone.

  • You will understand the difference between loneliness and solitude.

  • Social skills and Independence.

  • Open Mindedness.

  • You will know how grateful you are to make friends.

  • You will know exactly who you are when no one is watching you.

  • How to be comfortable in your own company.

  • Lastly, you can be whoever you want to be.

Also, when you travel solo, you are open to new learnings and adaptations. Speaking about India and its culture, blogger Priyanka Dalal says, “In India cultural & social norms are being pushed on us all the time, especially as women. Solo travel around India, traveling in local buses and mingling with people from different walks of life I have gotten to understand the deeper aspects of our culture. It let’s me love, respect and accept my culture and yet make my life the way I want without becoming a prisoner in it.

#Safety Tips

  • Scan your driver’s license, passport, health card and every important document. Mail it to yourself and a friend/family. In case if you lose any of your documents while traveling, this scanned copy will be a savior.

  • Be confident and smile back at people. This will allow them to help you when in need.

  • Trust your instincts. It is okay to feel uncomfortable and negative around some people, do not refrain to sssh them off!

  • The locals know you are a tourist, and public transport services are the places for most pick pocket complains. Avoid carrying much cash or other valuable things when you take the local transports.

  • If you are more comfortable sitting next to a woman traveler, ask while booking your ticket, the person accepting the bookings might be happy to help you.

  • Lastly, be aware and not afraid.

A message from famous travel bloggers:

World is safer than we think or the media wants us to believe. Biggest tool I have used to remain safe is to merge with the destination – the more you stand out, the more you are visible and at riskAnuradha Goyal

Just plan a simple trip to begin with and go. There are now a lot of solo women travelers who can easily guide you, so there is really nothing holding you back except yourselfPriyanka Dalal

The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself while traveling alone is that I’m very capable and adaptable. Perhaps women who aspire to travel solo should start out slowly in order to gain confidence. Visit nearby destinations first for a few days, then expand to places further awaySharell Cook

Hostel is the best way to learn about culture, food and make new friends while travelling. Also, staying at a hostel makes you feel more safe & comfortable. Use public transport instead of private vehicles and keep your family informed about places you are visitingRutavi Mehta

Does this make you feel any better about solo traveling? We know this is in your secret to-do list. For those who have already traveled alone, go on, brag about your solo trip in the comments below.

About the Author: Keenjal Patel, a reader at mind, a writer at heart, a believer at soul and an achiever overall, is what she want to be. She loves to express through words. She’s a firm believer that imagination rules the world and the day this world absorbs the essence of her words, that would be a day of pride for her!

 

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