Happy International Women’s Day 2021! A day that is always marked in my calendar as a day to rise and say I am proud of all I have achieved, as well as a day to reflect on what more can be done to ensure every single girl grows up believing she can do anything! As someone who is due to welcome a little girl of my own in 2021, this year seems even more special.
One quote that always stays with me is “to tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can”. This becomes really smack you in the face relevant when you travel. For those of you reading along at home, I would like you to think of a time when you as a female, have been given a list of things you “cannot” do or places you “cannot” go-to when travelling. Whether the intention is well-meaning or maybe a little naïve, I think we can all think of at least one instance where concerned loved ones or perfect strangers have given us “female-friendly” guidelines for our travel adventures. Well, I am here to tell you, you can do anything!
Starting off our series of female-focused travel blogs is the myth that “You can’t travel alone, it’s not safe! “
This one seems to be the biggest opposition to females travelling solo and whilst there is some validity to the comment, it is simply not true for the most part. You see every traveller male or female in every destination needs to be respectful and well informed when it comes to cultural norms, religious beliefs, and safety. Having said that, there is a difference between throwing yourself into harm’s way down a dark alleyway at night-time and simply travelling with some wits about you. Let’s face it, as females, we are often a little more cautious while out and about even in our hometowns and it’s no different overseas. I remember when I told my mother I was travelling solo to central America. My first instruction to her was to “not google” the destinations I would be going to as it would only worry her. At the time if you had googled Guatemala or solo travel central America, you were met with news articles and worst-case scenarios, concluding travelling through solo would almost certainly require a waiver. Not something a concerned loved one wants to see. But here’s the thing; Guatemala and Belize where I visited on my trip, were some of the most amazing life long memories I have ever made and had I listened to the voices that said “ I cannot” go there, I wouldn’t have the confidence and conviction I have to be urging you all to travel today.
Do Your Research
Being prepared will make all of the difference. From knowing what the cultural and religious beliefs mean for you and your attire to knowing which areas may be a little less welcoming than others. Research really is the key to ensuring you travel in the best way possible. Take your research one step further and know how much a taxi should cost to take you to your hotel. Know how long it may take. Studies show that solo travellers of both genders are more likely to be “taken for a ride” when it comes to scams and tourist taxes.
Share the Journey
Leave a copy of your itinerary, flight details, hotel addresses… the works with a trusted friend or family member. Not only will it be great to have someone playing along with your journey from home, but they will know exactly where you are should they not hear from you. This can be vital should anyone need to track you down if required.
Consider Your Timing
An overnight bus may be a great way to save money, but just keep your wits about you and your belongings close by. Without a buddy to sit next to and share the journey with you just need to make sure you are a little more clued on. Keep your valuables under your pillow or strapped to you and avoid leaving them in seat pockets or overheads. Timing is everything when it comes to arrivals too. Try as best possible to arrive during the day when checking into a new hotel or new destination. This will ensure you see your surroundings and get your bearings for your trip from the moment you arrive, as well as ensure your safety.
Trust Everybody And Nobody
I know how this one sounds, but it’s true. One of the most exciting reasons we travel alone is to meet new people, but this also makes us more vulnerable. I encourage you to meet new people and let them take you on adventures you had not even dreamed of even through all your research. However, let’s not go leaving them to hold our passport and cash on a night out. Sometimes even the best of friends are still strangers. Keep your guard up enough to stay as safe as possible, while still meeting and learning from all the new friends you will make.
Keep It To Yourself
Don’t scream from the rooftops that you are travelling alone. Try and avoid telling strangers you are riding solo. This can be as simple as saying you’re waiting for a friend who is inside the shop. Giving generic hotel names when asked where you are staying. Or my personal favourite which for anyone who has travelled with me before you would have heard this one a few hundred times: I am just on my way to the airport. Anything you can to avoid advertising you are here alone.
Up Next: With the chaos that has unfolded in the last 12 months worldwide due to the COVID-19 travel ban and restrictions, people are being forced to place their travel dreams on hold. With so much time sidelined we have the perfect opportunity to plan our ideal adventure when the time is right, now is an amazing time to start dreaming BIG! Whilst the final details and planning may be a little while off, now is the time to put together that bucket list trip that has been screaming your name! Our next blog will feature some great travel news for female travellers, from reduced single supplements to new destinations to consider. You will find some travel inspo with the Mostly Mindful Traveller.