Ladies, do yourself a favor: travel solo at least once

By |2018-01-18T12:35:23+00:00April 10th, 2015|Adventures, Inspirational, Motivation, Solo Travel, Women|29 Comments
Travel solo as a woman

My first solo trip was to Indonesia

It has never been a dream of mine to travel alone. I just didn’t think it would be fun doing it solo, and frankly, I was probably also afraid of looking like a loser and like I didn’t have anybody.

But last summer I sent myself to Indonesia. Did I weep like a Tara-less Scarlett O’Hara when I found myself alone in a hotel? Yes, I did. And it surprised me.

I think everyone – male or female – should travel alone at some point in their life. It might seem scary and you may have a rough start like I did. But overcoming that fear and really spending time by myself was one of the best things I’ve ever done for me.

“Traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.”

THE CHALLENGES I FACE AS A WOMEN 

In some regards, traveling solo is different for men and women. Men face dangers too, but they have an easier go at gender equality issues around the world.

There is that one fear that probably all women have, and that is rape. It’s a fear I have, a fear my mother have for me, and a fear that most of my friends share, too. But truth is that the same risk is present in my own country. Women also get harassed and raped in Denmark. Men make inappropriate comments everywhere in the world. And some do worse. This issue is not restricted to traveling solo so it shouldn’t be the reason not to go.

Despite my fears, I learned that solo female travel is surprisingly safe. In fact, I didn’t even give it that much thought when I was away. The hardest part about traveling solo isn’t harassment and safety precautions. It’s making decisions about when to leave for the airport, where to eat or which tour to join. Small, everyday things that I learned along the way.

“Traveling solo is one of the best ways to challenge and get to know oneself.”

Travel solo as a woman

SOME PRECAUTIONS I TOOK

Trust your instincts
The first thing I recommend to any solo female traveler is to trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. And if you’re afraid to walk home, take a taxi. You only have yourself to rely on so trust your gut and you will gain more confidence.

Come prepared
I always research a place before I visit. I check restaurants, activities, transportation and dangers. For instance, when I went to Bali I read up on the most common scams, so when someone tried to scam me, I told him off. Don’t know how to do this? Not to worry because you learn, fast.

Bring a doorstop and a safety whistle
You can buy this cheep on Amazon. And even though you probably won’t need it, it’s a good safety precaution.

Involve others in your travel plans
Tell you family and friends where you’re going and which hotel you’re staying at. By updating my family of my whereabouts, I felt safe every step of the way.

Understand the culture
When I visit a new country, I try to understand the cultural norms. How? By reading blogs, searching Wikipedia and just googling around. Pay attention to local customs and it’s easier to stay out of trouble.

“Despite all my fears, I’ve never been less alone than when I traveled alone.”

Travel solo as a woman

WHAT SOLO TRAVEL HAS TAUGHT ME

People look out for you, especially if you’re a woman. 
In general, people are helpful to those who travel alone. Others look out for you, and I’ve experienced many times that they want to escort me to make sure I arrive safely.

Sign up for day tours to meet new people.
Want to meet new people? Join a tour. Both couples and solo travelers join tours like cooking classes, bike trips, volcano tours and much more. This is a great way to be social and meet new friends and alike.

You rarely feel lonely.
In the 4 weeks I was traveling solo, I never felt lonely. I chose to spend most of the time alone, but I knew where to find other people if I wanted. Personally, I become much more outgoing when I’m by myself than when I’m traveling with a partner. And hostel managers, waiters, drivers and fellow travelers love to chat. Be open, and you will never feel lonely.

Travel solo as a woman

WHY YOU SHOULD GO

My advice is to just take the plunge. You don’t have to be away for a month or even a week. A day or a weekend away is cathartic. Why? Because it’s healthy to spend time by yourself. You decide where you want to go and what you want to do.

If you’re going on a longer trip, start out with a safe destination like Southeast Asia. I highly recommend Thailand, Singapore and Bali.

Solo travel is one of the best ways to learn and challenge oneself. You may feel scared. You may feel as if you could never stop being afraid no matter how hard you try. I think getting over that fear is such a powerful thing to give yourself as a woman.

“Travel by yourself and independence is yours.”

Have you had a life-changing travel experience? Let’s talk in the comments

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29 Comments

  1. Johann Linnet April 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    Good blog. I went to Indonesia, Jakarta and bali this year, from 27th of januari and stayed for one month.
    I went solo, but i met wonderful people there, and i really recommend Bali.

    • Miriam April 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      That is so cool! I spent a month in Indonesia as well and loved it there. Bali is perfect for solo travel.

  2. Maja April 12, 2015 at 8:31 am - Reply

    I often travel solo and it’s a great experience! However, I wouldn’t recommend Thailand or Bali, they’re overrated and may discourage someone for travelling.

    • Miriam April 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      There are many opinions about Thailand and Bali, but as a solo traveler or novice traveler, they’re a safe and easy place to start. I get why some find the touristy Phuket, Pattaya and Kuta overrated, but both countries/places still have secluded and unspoiled parts that are worth exploring.

  3. Julia April 13, 2015 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Great post! A few years ago I decided to travel throughout Poland by myself and I notice that everyone was actually a lot more helpful to me since I was traveling solo. I remember vividly being on a public bus trying to match the name of the bus stop with the name scribble on a piece of paper. An older man pointed to the next stop with a nod of his head and I was able to find my hostel. I also realized I’m a lot more social when I’m traveling alone. I highly recommend it!

    • Miriam April 13, 2015 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Thanks for this, Julia. I can relate to everything you say and I highly agree. People are much more attentive and protective of you when traveling solo.

  4. Amy April 14, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I haven’t made a solo trip myself yet but I hope to one day. The thought of it is pretty scary but I hope I’d get the hang of things quickly.

    • Miriam April 14, 2015 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, the thought was scary for me too, but the experience…. SO rewarding. I hope you get to try it sometime.

  5. Theo April 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Wow this is so inspiring. I am from Zimbabwe and have never left the country at all it is exciting to read your blog. I get to travel through your stories. I recently started blogging about the strength women empowerment and your article shows the inner strength of women.
    https://theonettiencube32.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/do-women-really-need-to-think-like-men-to-make-it-in-the-world-of-business-4-tips-on-how-women-can-make-it-on-their-own/

    • Miriam April 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, Theo, I’m glad you’re following along. I really like your blogging objective, will take a look at your blog!

  6. Anonymous April 17, 2015 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Sawadii Kha Miriam:

    Awesome post! In Thai culture, solo female travelers are very much still the exception. We are breaking ground, but takes time.

    I think of how online content is democratising opportunity to connect and network with like-minded friends such as yourself, so that we share these insights and bring power to ourselves and others!

    Rock on!

  7. Yok April 17, 2015 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Sawadii Kha Miriam:
    Awesome post! In Thai culture, solo female travelers are very much still the exception. We are breaking ground, but takes time.
    I think of how online content is democratising opportunity to connect and network with like-minded friends such as yourself, so that we share these insights and bring power to ourselves and others!
    Rock on!

    • Miriam April 17, 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

      Sawadii Kha Yok,
      It’s the same in Denmark. Before I left for my solo journey, I hadn’t heard of any Danish girl who’d done it before. It’s simply not the norm. Yet!

  8. Anna @ shenANNAgans April 24, 2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Heck yeah, traveling alone is awesome, I love my solo traveler personality too, she makes amazing friends and does things she wouldn’t dream of doing when home. Great post, I really should plan another trip soon.

    • Miriam April 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      That’s a great idea! I’m planning my next one as we speak 🙂

  9. Christian April 29, 2015 at 2:47 am - Reply

    I admire women who have guts when traveling alone. I always encourage my girl friends to be able to discover themselves and to have fun as well. Your tips may help me convince them. Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences.

    • Miriam April 29, 2015 at 10:53 am - Reply

      I’m glad to hear that, Christian! We need more people like you encouraging women to travel solo. Being on your own in a foreign country might seems frightening, but the reward is SO worth it.

  10. Ivanka August 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Great post! thanks for the tips and sharing your experience on traveling solo, and I agree, I just took my first travel alone, I felt so related to this post, as I also felt afraid of being alone, but at the end, the experience its worth it, as you said! “getting over that fear is such a powerful thing to give yourself as a woman” so true!

    • Miriam August 13, 2015 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      It definitely is, Ivanka. In my experience solo travel is something that grows on you. The more I do it, the more confident I get. And now I even prefer it at times!

  11. Kate November 9, 2015 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Miriam,

    Just discovered your blog. I really enjoyed the post and your key points about precautions and lessons you have learned. I look forward to seeing more of your travels!

    • Miriam November 12, 2015 at 11:50 am - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that, Kate! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  12. Alexia June 6, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Hi! I just read your pretty article, it is very useful to program my trip. I’m going to Bali in the next few weeks and I would like to get ready to make the best trip possible.

    • Miriam June 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      I’m glad to hear that, Alexia. Have an amazing trip to Bali!

  13. Justin Bailey April 16, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I am a planning to Indonesia for 15 days. I search on google Indonesia blog because I need info about Indonesia. I get your blog and i read it. Your blog is awesome. Very useful information on this blog. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

    • Miriam April 19, 2018 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      Aw, Justin, thank you so much!! I hope your trip to Indonesia will be AMAZING 🙂

  14. Amit Kumar June 12, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Travelling Solo is very challenging as well as adventurous. You did a great job and I know Travelling is always a challenging work. Thank you very much for providing a strong guidance to travel solo.

    • Miriam June 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Amit. That’s really nice of you to say.

  15. Sydney July 18, 2018 at 4:34 am - Reply

    I definitely agree that traveling alone should be compulsory. There are so many things that one learns while traveling alone about themselves and the world. You never learn much when you travel in a group. Thanks to you. Your such an inspiration.

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