Traveling can be a fantastic experience, no matter how you choose to do it. It opens your eyes to cultures and lifestyles you would never encounter otherwise. And, by taking you out of your comfort zone, it can teach you a thing or two about yourself as well. Nothing beats going away with loved ones and enjoying luxurious weeks of exploring new areas in each other’s company. In fact, traveling with a partner is an amazing way to re-establish your love, and grow together as a couple.
But, traveling solo has its appeals, as well. In fact, if learning is what you love most about going away, then it doesn’t get better than this. You could wander whenever you want, wherever the mood takes you. And, you can guarantee you would learn a lot more about who you are and what you like this way. Very few instances in our lives do we spend extended periods with just ourselves for company. That may sound daunting, but it’s one of the best ways to discover what our strengths and weaknesses are. Most times, we cope much better alone than we expect. As such, solo travel can be a fantastic way to boost self-esteem.
Of course, female solo travel is a point of much contention. Once upon a time, it wouldn’t have even been thinkable. How unsafe for women to go out solo, let alone to another country! Now, though, more and more of us are spreading our wings are conquering the world. In fact, it’s thought that around 32 million single women traveled last year. That’s huge!
Yet, there are still those of us who don’t take the plunge of traveling solo even when we want to. There are a variety of reasons for this, and many of them resort back to those old beliefs of it being unsafe. And, it would be naive to say that there isn’t some truth in this. There are still countries where a woman wouldn’t be safe traveling alone. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any safe options. Guides like this one found on bemytravelmuse.com should give you a few ideas. Iceland often appears on lists, and it’s no surprise, given that it’s been ranked #1 safest country. There are also some more exotic options, such as a variety of destinations in Asia. You’ll be spoiled on destination choices! The most important thing to do is to consider the culture of different destinations. In some societies, women are still expected to cover their skin and stay in the home. If visiting somewhere like this, respect the traditions. In such countries, exposing your skin is insulting, so make sure to adhere to the standards.
Of course, before you get to the point of picking countries, you need to break the barrier you’ve put in front of yourself. While the unsafe argument is usually a significant factor, it’s not always the only cause for hesitance. To help you get past your fears, it’s worth thinking about the following points.
What’s holding you back?
To stand any chance of overcoming your concerns, you need to consider what’s holding you back. As mentioned above, fears for safety are often a cause for concern. But, they’re rarely the only worry. Other common fears include worrying about being lonely, or not knowing how you’ll cope alone for that long. There can also be concerns about language barriers, and getting over them by yourself. And, of course, some of us are concerned about catching flights on our own, especially if we’ve never done it before. For some of us, the worries are more fundamental. Will people look at me because I’m dining alone? No one likes to feel as though others are judging them!
In truth, as with any fear, acknowledging these worries is the first step to overcoming them. So, sit down and write out a list of the things that most concern you. Then, turn your attention to unraveling each one. Once you set your mind to it, these matters may not seem like such significant issues. As mentioned above, choosing the right country will cover your safety. Equally, research and preparation will help you overcome any language barriers. If your worry is being alone, consider taking a short trip alone first, to see how easy it is to spend time with yourself. As for your flights, that’s a fear you’ll need to set aside. When you’ve done it once or twice, you’ll wonder why you were worried in the first place. If it helps, take a few solo train rides. The process of checking timetables and so forth is surprisingly similar.
Are other people holding you back?
Though you may not realize it, there’s a distinct possibility that other people are holding you back. Think back to whenever you’ve told someone you’re planning solo travel. Was their first reaction to say something like, ‘Is that safe?’. Something like this can be incredibly off-putting, especially if it brings one of your own fears to the forefront. But, you need to remember that this journey is about you. It isn’t unusual for others to have all the same fears about solo travel. After all, they’ve grown up in the same culture as you and are likely to have the same concerns. You should never let that stop you from doing what you want to. So much so, in fact, that it may be worth not discussing your plans with others, at least until your vacation is booked. That way, their reactions won’t sway you. It may also be worth talking to other people who have traveled solo before. They would be much more helpful than those who have never experienced it themselves. This way, you stand a better chance of understanding the processes, and also eliminating fears. In some cases, especially when talking to parents, you may come up against total resistance. ‘No, you aren’t going,’ has said many a solo traveler’s mothers. This is their way of protecting you, but it isn’t always helpful.
Keep it close to home to start
If you’re finding it tricky to overcome those fears, it’s worth taking things slowly. You don’t have to jump straight in with a trip overseas. Why not start with a weekend away in another state? Or, you could even get into the habit of going for day trips in new places. Bear in mind that it’s worth approaching these how you would if you were in another country. Instead of hopping in the car, work out how to get places using public transport. This way, you’ll get used to navigating systems. After all, you won’t have your car nearby when you go away for real.
Here in the U.S., we’re incredibly lucky. There are a wealth of fascinating places to visit, and for many of them, you won’t need to traverse a long trip. Why not head somewhere for a three-day weekend? You could take that much-needed trip to L.A. and finally see the Hollywood sign in all its glory. Or, you might want to head to Missouri, and visit the Gateway Arch, or embark on a wine tour. You can head to sites like hermannwinetrail.com for more information on choices like these. Planned trips like this can be incredibly useful, as they help you adjust to booking activities. Once you’re used to that, you won’t think twice about booking tours in another country!
Motivate yourself by doing things you’ve always wanted to
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to work through your fear, consider the things you’ve always wanted to do. It may be that there’s a particular activity you’ve always dreamt of, or that you’ve always wanted to go on a hiking holiday. But, for whatever reason, it may be that the people you usually go away with have never been interested. Keep that dream in mind, and use it as the motivation which brings your solo travel dreams to life. We all know that the best thing about solo travel is how it frees us to please ourselves. You won’t have to keep quiet, anymore. You can do exactly as you wish.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
After taking the above points, there will come a time when you have no choice but to feel the fear and do it anyway. If you take too long about this, you’ll always find excuses not to go. So, bite the bullet and book a flight. Do it fast so that you can’t talk yourself out of it. You can ease your fears a little by doing all necessary prep beforehand. As mentioned, learn the language and the culture. Then, get on that plane and head off for the experience of a lifetime. Once you’ve successfully done your first solo travel, the chances are you won’t be able to stop!