Solo female travel is an ever increasing segment of the travel industry and it seems that now more than ever women are branching out to chase their travel dreams, even when that means traveling alone. Though they are on the rise, solo female travelers can still be a little misunderstood. To share some insight, here are 7 things you need to know about the woman who travels solo.
Yes, she does have friends
But when all your friends are settling down with a house and 2.5 children, they can’t necessarily travel with you all the time. Perhaps this woman likes to book spontaneous trips or her travel style isn't compatible with her friends. Perhaps she has flakey mates who are all talk but no commitment, or perhaps she has just had some bad experiences traveling with friends that ends up more like babysitting. Either way, it’s very likely that yes, she does have friends but no, she can’t always wait for them to be ready or able to travel together.
No, she doesn't want your attention
Fellas, just because there is a woman eating/walking/sitting on a train/doing anything alone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she wants your attention. Not all solo female travelers are single women looking for exotic flings. Some of us are happily married, or even happily single, and just want to see the world. I’m not here to say that men shouldn’t try to talk to women if they catch your attention and spark your interest - it can be flattering and hey, that’s how relationships start. But let’s not assume that just because someone is alone that they’re easy pickings and please stop with the tactics like jumping in front of the camera while she is taking a photo or following her while she walks or yelling things like ‘hey girl you thick’.
Yes, she is taking selfies
Get over it. Travel by yourself and whip out a selfie stick in public and people will look at you like you’re a fish smoking a cigarette? How?! Why?! What am I seeing?! Yes, she is taking selfies because she is traveling alone remember. It’s not that unusual. And, given that when you ask a nice stranger to take a photo of you it turns out shitty 9 times out of 10, it’s really just easier to become your own paparazzi to get the job done. We all want a photo memory of our holidays after all.
No, she isn’t lonely
Some of us are actually great company - even to ourselves. Personally, my inner voice tells some pretty hilarious jokes! There is a misconception though that traveling alone is lonely, and to some it may be. To others, especially those of us who are on the introverted side, it is anything but lonely. Being comfortable with your own self, without endless noise of others is very powerful. When you quieten the world down and listen to yourself, it brings self awareness and great insight to your own thoughts, needs, wants, observations and beliefs. Plus, you can always meet people on the road and some of my favorite memories have been with strangers I’ve met along the way - however fleeting these moments were.
Yes, it would be cool to travel with people
Sure, she probably thinks it would be cool to travel with other people. It’d be nice to have a friend to sit across from over dinner and talk about the day’s sightseeing events instead of getting constantly stared at for dining alone. It would be nice to share experiences with others or have someone to watch your backpack while you go to the toilet at the airport instead of having to squeeze into the tiny cubicle and not rip off the toilet roll holder with it as you turn around to close the door. It’s not that she is anti-social and doesn't want to share these times, she just can’t spend all her time waiting for friends to be ready to travel.
No, it’s not as scary as you think
It’s really not. And if you paid attention to the ‘metoo’ hashtag that shared stories of sexual harassment you should be aware that danger is everywhere - even in your very own hometown. Traveling alone just seems scary because you’re away from what is known to you and your comfort zone but there’s every chance that is not actually any scarier than walking around alone where you live. It’s actually quite addictive. Once you experience the freedom of traveling solo, it hooks you.
Yes, she is a badass
Go ahead, pour a glass of wine and air toast yourself because yes, you are a badass. Any woman who branches out to chase her own goals and dreams without having someone to hold their hand, puts up with endless questions and judgement about when they should settle down and defies the social norm to live a life on their terms is a badass in my book. *virtual cheers to you!*
Katie McIntosh is a solo female traveler, photographer and creator of The Katie Show Blog, a travel blog which shares extraordinary travel experiences for ordinary people - like her. For more information, travel guides and extraordinary travel experiences visit www.thekatieshowblog.com and follow @katieshowblog on social media.