Traveling connects all corners of the world into one, unified, spectacular experience.
But with so much out there, it can be kind of an intimidating concept to go about it alone.
There are headlines that may deter you, but there are even more success stories, and stories about wonderful, enlightening experiences that are just waiting to be uncovered.
Traveling alone, especially for girls sounds taboo at first. But the world is not meant to scare you! It’s meant to invite you, and most importantly, embrace you!
So don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from finding it. For a quick run-down of some common misconceptions, check out this girl’s guide to traveling solo:
The World Is Much Safer Than You Think
Although there is never a guarantee of safety, the world is not as dangerous as they say on TV. That’s why there are so many solo travelers all around the world, including your country.
First and foremost in travel safety is being aware of your surroundings. This goes double for traveling alone.
And this doesn’t mean that you constantly have to be looking over your shoulder but rather that you start trusting your gut instincts.
Instead of going to that 1-star motel that still has old police tape on it, go for something more trusted like a reviewed hotel, or a heavier populated place like a hostel. Many solo girls have spent time there and can vouch for their safety, yet they are not expensive.
When traveling solo, reviews are your friend. They are real-life impressions made by other people, travelers, and ladies alike so while they might not get the whole picture, they can definitely offer up a piece of the puzzle.
Secondly, it is important to know where you are at all times. Learning the language is a great way to not only be in touch with your surroundings but to become familiar with them so look into a few things you’ll need to know before you go.
For example, try and learn these following phrases in the language of your destination: hello, thank you, you’re welcome, bathroom, and help.
And those are just a few suggestions to start you off, once you are in the country you are sure to pick up a few more necessary phrases. Knowing where you are can also mean letting others know where you are.
If you’re traveling solo, consider sharing your location on your phone with someone back home, or give someone a rough itinerary of your plans for the night.
While at restaurants or bars, keep an eye on your drink and try to keep a handle on your surroundings.
Again, as the world is not crawling with people of the worst intentions, this isn’t something that should steer you clear of a fun night. Merely that safety is in your hands now, and you should be equipped with the street smarts to handle it.
If You Don’t Travel Alone, You May Never Travel
Imagine that this year you won’t be traveling because your best friend is afraid of traveling abroad. Then the next year he or she wants to come, but they don’t have the money. The next year there is another reason to delay the adventure trip of your lifetime.
Eventually, you don’t travel at all because you have no company.
For as many people will rally around the idea of a vacation, actually traveling can draw a less than an ideal number of companions.
Everyone has work, school, families, friends, responsibilities, or some combination of all of these that will give them reasons not to go.
But if you’re always waiting for someone to go with you, you’ll never go.
Your friends may never be willing to do the things you want to do. Will you spend your life not traveling just because your friends don’t want or cannot do it?
Of course not! You can travel solo.
You’ll Be Independent and You’ll Love It
Traveling alone is a great way to not only explore the world around you, but to do some long overdue soul searching as well.
Here you will be at the height of independence as you go where you want to go, stay where you feel like staying, and eat whatever draws your fancy.
Related to the point about safety: the world is not inherently dangerous.
There are areas best to be avoided, and daytime is typically your friend but by nature, travel is not dangerous.
Independence, especially while traveling, is a gift that I recommend experiencing at least once in your life.
Still a little skeptical? Go somewhere you consider ‘safe’ first, and work your way up to the big bucket list items!
Once you are ready to travel alone, so many more options open up to you. For example, instead of thinking about what place would work for the group, you get to consider your own country rankings as a top priority.
Choose events and attractions you like, go volunteer on projects that you prefer, and for the more adventurous types: go where the wind blows you.
You’ll Never Be Alone (If You Want So)
Because you are traveling to another place, you are sure to meet people along the way. Traveling alone opens you up to the opportunity of making new friends while keeping the same ones from home.
If you are a solo traveler who likes to meet new people consider group activities or stay in a hostel.
Meeting people this way also provides the unique ability to find people who are already interested in globetrotting.
Unfortunately, with such meetings, these people will also be gone in a day or two off to their next stop, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some memories out of day trips.
But if you’re looking to make some real roots in a new city, consider options like working or volunteering abroad.
Volunteering Brings Safety and New Friends
Don’t just visit a new city, live in it. Better yet, help it.
All around the world, there are hundreds of thousands of opportunities to lend a helping hand while traveling the world.
Here, you will not just see the ‘top ten things to do in a place’, but rather find out the intricacies of it as a whole.
You’ll find places that only locals go that you love, and attractions you go to when you know the crowd is minimal.
Not to mention, volunteering abroad gives you the benefit of meeting and forging relationships with coworkers.
What’s especially nice about volunteering coworkers is that you both know you already share two things in common: a love for travel, and a love for helping.
Here you will forge lifelong relationships while you work on projects that help the community, the country, and the world at large.
Volunteering abroad opens up a plethora of new options and countries, especially places you might feel uncomfortable traveling alone to at first.
This provides the experience of independent solo traveling with ‘safety in numbers’ once you arrive at your destination.
After a few days in your city of choice, you’ll probably even realize your fears were overestimations of the problem and that traveling is both safe and secure!
Volunteering May Be the Only Way to Afford Traveling Abroad
For some, volunteering or working abroad may be the only gateway into the world of travel.
While rewarding, travel is expensive.
Never mind the cost of airfare (which is typically pretty pricey), but there is also living in the country once you arrive. There are housing costs, activity fees, and the price of every single meal you buy.
All around, sometimes it can be pretty hard to travel at all without someone helping you out. That’s why services such as Far Away Projects exist.
Look into the kind of program that’s right for you and you will start your travels off on the right foot.
With so many people from all over the world united in one job, comradery is formed, and even when everyone goes their separate ways, there is always the option to stay in contact.
Who knows, you may even find yourself with a place to stay all around the world simply from the friends you made at a summer job you had once.
That’s housing covered not just now, but in the future!
Invest in your travel plans and consider volunteering abroad to jet set you on your way to globe trotter.