Women Traveling Solo Realities

//Women Traveling Solo Realities

Women Traveling Solo Realities

I’ve previously posted about why you should travel solo, at least once in your life, and also provided some tips in another post for traveling alone.  This time I decided to post about Women Traveling Solo realities by asking some ladies who often travel alone regarding the realities they face and combined this great collaboration post.

There’s a variety of advantages and disadvantages for female travelers who travel solo. I’ve read a lot of stories which have raised a lot of interest to the related subject, like the one of Alyssa Ramos who posted about ‘How Traveling Solo Destroyed My Dating Life’  which has changed here life. Sadly travelling alone might also end up in a bad way, like the recent story of Maria Coni and Marina Menegazzo, the two girls, who although weren’t travelling alone they had a sad ending. 

It’s always good to make a small research before travelling alone somewhere. There are a lot of places which are not consideres as a safe place for a woman to travel on her own. As  TravellerAU reports, India, Brazil, Turkey, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Kenya are some of the countries considered dangerous for women travellers.

I’ve gone through situations where I had to deal with aggressive men who came up to asking me where I’m from and why I’m alone but I’ve managed to take care of this without getting in to trouble. Just by being nice and eventually walked away by ignoring them. Also walking in the Brussels tourist area I once had someone shouting at me and following me but I ignored them. He continued to follow me up to the metro station where I eventually got lost in a packed tube station. I was once walking in Palermo and there was a fight with 2 men throwing empty glass beer bottles to each other and shouting. So I turned back and got a different route for my way back to the centre.

I’ve never thought of couchsurfing just because I prefer to avoid surprises. You need to be extra careful if you decide to stay in a stranger’s house so I always prefer hotels, even if I’m going to spend more.

I’ve gathered some nice stories by five great lady travel bloggers. I would encourage you to read the different stories and tips they provide. This post is a collaboration post with some great ladies who often travel alone and have answered some questions regarding the realities they face. I asked them if they feel that they are risking their life when they travel alone, if they’ve ever had to deal with a dangerous incidence, if they became ill and finally to provide some tips to women who travel alone.

Katie McIntosh from The Katie Show Blog

Women traveling solo realities - Katie McIntosh from The Katie Show Blog

1. Do you feel you are risking your life?
It can be a little scary to go on a trip by yourself, but I don’t feel as though it’s any riskier than say, driving a car. I find it to be a liberating experience and I love the freedom that comes with solo travel. I also love that it forces you to make connections with people in the area you are visiting because you can’t just cling to your travel buddies. As long as you use common sense as far as your safety is concerned, I think your just as safe as you would be in your hometown.

2. Tell us an incidence that you felt you were in danger.
I do a lot of walking when I am traveling and I remember feeling uncomfortable when walking around at night being catcalled constantly by random men that passed by me walking or driving. It made me feel like I was standing out (something I don’t like to do when traveling alone) and it also made me feel as though I was looking like a target. Since then I try my best not to stand out, not to look like a tourist and always walk with a purpose like I know exactly what I am doing (even when I don’t).

3. Have you ever become ill while traveling alone? How have you dealt with it?
I am lucky to say that I haven’t become ill while traveling alone, knock wood!

4. Give some tips to women who travel solo?
I think basic, common sense goes a long way to help make your solo travel experience a safe and memorable experience. For example, it makes sense to avoid things like heavy drinking, walking by yourself late at night and spending time in shady parts of town. I think telling someone where you will be going each day and getting some advice from a local can help as well. On my last solo trip I explained some of the places I was going to be visiting to a female staff member of the hotel I was staying at and she gave me some great advice on the trips I could walk to and from and the ones I would need to get a taxi for because to get there I would’ve been walking through some unsafe parts of town. This advice was really helpful to me as a tourist!

Katie’s Blog: http://www.thekatieshowblog.com
Instagram: @katieshowblog

Ashlyn George from TheLostGirlsGuide

Ashlyn George -Travelerette


1 .
Do you feel you are risking your life?
I would be lying if I didn’t admit there have been moments on my travels when I have been genuinely concerned for my safety. But it’s happened only a few times. Considering I’ve spent more than 26 months traveling 43 countries on 6 continents on my own, it’s a very rare occurrence.

2 .Tell us an incidence that you felt that you were in danger.
I put full trust into the intuition I get in the “pit of my stomach.” Unfortunately, there is no way to give advice about a gut instinct. But, the more I travel, the more adept it has become to alerting me of a dangerous situation.

I was alone on a series of buses for more than 30 hours between Sucre, Bolivia and Puerto Iguaçu in Argentina. At one point I was the only occupant of a double decker bus with two drivers. The entire trip, one bus driver kept harassing me and making feel uncomfortable – insisting he chat with me in Spanish and even attempting to kiss me while I was seated. I tried to be polite but firm with him but he kept finding excuses to come to the top of the bus to talk with me – to the point where I would pretend to be sleeping to avoid speaking with him. I was so worried about my safety that I considered getting off at the next stop and buying a ticket for another bus even though it would wreck my timeline to catch several flights back to Canada.

Thankfully, several other people boarded at the next stop and I was no longer alone. My instinct was warning me of danger and I knew I needed to trust it but I was fortunate the situation was diffused before it could have become much worse.

3. Have you ever become ill while travelling alone? How have you dealt with it?
I seem to have an iron stomach (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself) and I’ve been able to avoid being seriously sick while abroad. I have, however, sliced my feet open surfing on two occasions and needed stitches (which I never did get). I also visited a doctor in South Africa for an infected bite which turned out to be from a tick.

The most important thing is to travel with great health insurance. The next most important thing is to realize when to seek out medical care. A third piece of advice is to carry a small amount of medical supplies like band-aids, antibiotic cream and a general antibiotic.

4. Give some tips to women who travel solo.
My biggest tip to women traveling solo is to educate yourself before you arrive at a destination. Understand the differences in cultures and what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. This way you’re less likely to encounter dangerous situations because you’re more aware of the environment you’re travelling in.

Ashlyn’s Blog: TheLostGirlsGuide
Instagram: thelostgirlsguide

Nam Cheah from Laugh Travel Eat

Women traveling solo realities - Nam Cheah from Laugh Travel Eat

Nam Cheah from Laugh Travel Eat is a third culture millennial who spent half her life in Hong Kong and the other half in UK. Planning to make the most out of life, she documents her passion to laugh, travel and eat on her suitably named blog: Laugh, Travel, Eat. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s either catching up on TV while online shopping or writing her novels.

1. Do you feel you are risking your life?
No. Even though I had travelled solo for over three months, I had made sure that I picked cities that has a safe reputation and stayed in the hostel or AirBnB during the night. There are always risks associated with travel, whether you are travelling alone or with someone else. The key is to be careful and stay vigilant, research your destination and routes and stay in public places when you can.

2. Tell us an incidence that you felt that you were in danger.
Even though I had tried to stay away from situations that might be dangerous, I met up with a couchsurfer in Verona, where he agreed to take me to a medieval festival. I belatedly realise that it wasn’t the best idea to get into a stranger’s car. He was behaving inappropriately and I didn’t have an escape strategy at hand. Fortunately, nothing bad happened, but I had learned a valuable lesson about having an exit strategy at hand and that I will need to be more careful in the future.

3. Have you ever became ill while travelling alone? How have you dealt with it?
Luckily I had never been ill when I was travelling alone, however, I did get some allergic reactions and had to rest my knee for a while. I just ended lounging in bed the whole day!

4. Give some tips to women who travel Solo.

  • Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do
    • There are a lot of opportunists out there who preyed on tourists, and you would be an easy target if you are alone and looking lost. So act like you know what you are doing even if you don’t. If you walk with confidence, then people would assume you are a local.
  • Always research your route
    • If you want to avoid situation number one, then you should research your route beforehand or download an offline map to keep in handy. You can plan your route or have a map handy with Google My Map or OsmAnd
  • Have an exit strategy
    • If you are meeting with strangers, you should have an exit strategy in hand, so when a situation arises, you can get out of there as soon as possible. For example, make sure you have enough money to bail out of here on a cab or a preliminary excuse that would get you out.
    • Stay in safe places after dark
    • If you are travelling alone, you should avoid places that have a bad reputation and even going out after dark. Although not all places are dangerous, it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

Nam’s Blog: Laugh Travel Eat
Instagram: 
@laughtraveleat

 

Laia  from Dream Travel Girl

Women traveling solo realities - Laia from Dream Travel Girl

1. Do you feel you are risking your life?
Not at all! One of the many things you learn while traveling is that the world is not a dangerous place.

Most people are good, everywhere. I’ve travelled alone in Europe, Asia, Oceania and South  America and in all places I met friendly people and received hospitality.

When you travel and meet locals you realize that, in essence, we’re not so different. Kids make drawings and play games. Adults work and raise their children and have dreams and fears just like anyone else. We’re not so different, and the world is not so dangerous.

2. Tell us an incidence that you felt that you were in danger.
There was only one time when I thought I was in danger, in Cambodia. It was mid morning and I was walking in the street when several dogs came out from a house and jumped on me. They encircled me and barked, their teeth barely a few centimeters from my legs.

I didn’t know if the dogs in Cambodia receive the vaccine for rabies. I tried to scare them but they could smell I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do.

Fortunately the noise alerted the owner who came out and called them inside. This was the danger in Cambodia, the guardian dogs who are not trained. They cannot tell the difference between someone who’s walking in the middle of the street and someone who’s entering the house to steal. People never scared me that much.

3. Have you ever become ill while travelling alone? How have you dealt with it?
I traveled alone for 11 months and I fell sick only once, in Bolivia. I believe my body is wise, because it happened while I was visiting a friend, so I wasn’t completely alone.

I had the typical diarrhea that most travelers have experienced in one trip or another. I took the medicines I had with me and rested 3 or 4 days at my friend’s place. Then I continued my trip.

Since I wasn’t completely well I avoided dorms and looked for rooms with private bathroom. I went to local restaurants to eat and I told them that I was a bit sick. I asked them for a glass of filtered water to take my medicine and they recommended me what to eat. Everybody helped.

If I had been alone from the beginning, I would have done the same thing. Find a private room where I could take rest, and ask for help to the owners.

4. Give some tips to women who travel solo.
Be confident and listen to your intuition. As I said before, most people are good and are willing to help. Be open to meet new people, make friends. That said, incidents might happen so take precautions and listen to your intuition. If something feels wrong, go back.

Ask locals. Locals know better than anybody if it’s safe to walk alone at night, or if it’s ok for a solo traveler to do a day trip alone (most of the time the answer is “yes, it’s safe”, but it’s better to confirm). They can also give advice on food and water (if it’s safe to drink tap water, for example, or if it’s recommended or not to eat street food, and where).

Laia’s Blog: Dream Travel Girl

Stella Gold from Travelerette

Women traveling solo realities - Stella from Travelerette

1.Do you feel you are risking your life?
I do not feel that I am risking my life traveling solo! After all, a fortuneteller once told me that I would live to be 96, so I’ve got quite some time to go. There’s no real way to prevent a terrible accident from happening to you, and I don’t believe in living my life by avoiding risks. I’d rather soak up as much adventure as I can in the time I do have!

2. Tell us an incidence that you felt that you were in danger. 
Actually the only time I felt in danger on a trip happened after I returned home. A man stole my phone number off of my suitcase at JFK Airport and used it to start texting me slimy messages at 3 AM. Of course he would not believe me when I told him I was not interested. Only telling him I had a boyfriend got him to stop. Unfortunately that line is the only thing that will make most creeps leave you alone.

3.Have you ever became ill while travelling alone? How have you dealt with it?
I’ve never been sick when traveling solo except for one time I got a cold in New Orleans. It is no fun to have a cold in 90 degree humidity let me tell you! I just bought some DayQuil and persevered as best as I could. I believe in telling colds who’s boss!

4. Give some tips to women who travel solo. 
When I first started traveling solo, my biggest worry is that people were judging me for being on my own. So the best advice I have to give is that people are too busy worrying about themselves to bother judging you. If they do stop to think of you, they probably think you’re brave and intrepid for exploring the world on your own.

Another piece of advice is to take short tours (either a day trip or a tour that lasts a few hours) when you are traveling on your own for a long period of time. The longest trip I’ve ever taken by myself lasted a little over six weeks, and if I hadn’t done some food tours, I would have been too lonely. Food tours are an easy way to make friends and get a great meal at the same time. If booze is involved, people are especially friendly, of course. My favorite global tour company is Urban Adventures, but there are many great local tour companies as well as wonderful free walking tours in cities all over the world.

My final piece of advice is to keep a well-stocked Kindle with you at all times. This way you will never be bored. Plus I find eating out alone more fun with a book as my companion. I also keep a small commonplace journal in my purse so I can write if I have some downtime. I write down at least one thing I learned after each attraction I visit or every meal I have. After all, the whole point of solo traveling is so that you can experience the world more deeply and thoughtfully than you could if you were distracted by companions, right?

Stella’s Blog: Travelerette
Instagram: travelerettenyc
2016-11-01T10:30:59+00:00 May 17th, 2016|

About the Author:

Dora Christofi

I’m Cypriot, with a London touch, experimenting with photography, working in marketing, love cooking, reading books and wishing to travel the world. I currently live in Limassol, Cyprus and try to travel as much as I can.

Visit the [Meet Dora] section for more.

4 Comments

  1. Laia May 25, 2016 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Thank you Dora for giving me the opportunity to collaborate in your post! It’s great to read about other women’s experiences, to confirm that following our intuition and common sense traveling alone is possible. I see that even falling sick is not that common 🙂

    • Dora Christofi
      Dora Christofi May 25, 2016 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Thanks Laia! Ask me about getting sick. I always carry tons of pills with me – for every emergency.

  2. carolina June 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Excelent post ! that is interesting knowing the differents women´s traveller experiences

    The best of post is to to knock down thoughts that limit us to acting !

    Congratulations for All !!!

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