It was an honor being interviewed by Mona Carona about solo female travel! Her blog is all about “luxury travel made achievable through my tips, tricks, hacks, and guides. I cover all the best destinations for luxury travel, create customized itineraries so that you don’t have to, and offer money-saving hacks to get you where you want to go at a fraction of the cost. You don’t need to be royal to travel like you are; so go ahead and put that crown on, and enjoy the finer side of travel…without breaking the bank.”
It’s filled with wonderful photos and tips on traveling the world! Check it out 🙂
Check out the original interview here or read an excerpt below!
Why travel solo?
Because I’m selfish. Because traveling alone is part of self-care for me, and I don’t want to compromise my experience. Well, not all of the time. The benefits to traveling solo is that you get to do exactly what you want when you want, and we rarely give ourselves that kind of freedom in real life. Traveling with someone else can provide moments of more intimacy and connection with that person for sure; nevertheless, you have to think about the needs of the other person, wait for them to get ready, and sometimes compromise on conflicting itineraries. So, to be able to walk alone through the streets of a new place and let it present itself to you organically to me is extremely joyful. I love walking at my own pace and letting my curiosity and perspective dictate the experience vs. being distracted or slowed down by another person.
How do you stay safe while traveling?
Research, research, research and be aware.
It is important for you to research the culture you are about to experience, from the body language, hand gestures, history, clothing style, and current political system. For women especially, don’t go into a new place blind. Make sure that you are aware of the culture you are entering and how they tend to treat women. I did my research before traveling through Turkey and it made it a bit easier- but not less annoying- when I would get harassed on the streets. Since I did my research, I had a heads up.
Be aware of your surroundings. I fiercely believe that women can and should travel on their own, however, some parts of the world still don’t agree with me. After traveling on my own for years, there have only been a few instances where I needed to have my guard up more. Trust your instincts and keep your eyes open to those around you. So, in areas you don’t know, don’t put in earbuds, headphones, or texting because it could make you look more vulnerable.
What do you do when you feel lonely?
Loneliness used to really drive my travels. I thought that the farther I traveled, the less lonely I would feel, which was a false promise I gave myself. However, with travel, I found that I became more comfortable with being alone the more I was alone, which ironically abated my loneliness. Now I crave to travel alone because I have realized that it is a form of self-nourish, and I appreciate the freedom that traveling on my own gives you. I love being able to wander at my own pace, stop for however long when something intrigues me, and not have to compromise with the whims of others.
What is the best way to meet people and socialize when you don’t want to be alone anymore?
I personally love couchsurfing + volunteering in different sites. I would rather stay with a local who will show me areas not in a guide book or stay with a family and experience what it is like to live there. I get such a richer experience and create deeper connections when I am staying with locals because I’m able to familiarize myself with their perceptions of the world. Hostels are a great place to meet other solo travelers too, even if you aren’t staying in one. Many hostels hold events and social gatherings which are a great way to meet and mingle with others.
What are some of the challenges you face as a solo female traveler?
If anything, solo travel is easier because it is all on my terms. However, there are plenty of challenges I still face because I am a solo female traveler; being harassed on the street, afraid of wearing the wrong clothes, or trusting the wrong people. Fortunately, my trips have been based around the benevolence of people and very few have tried to pull any tricks, but it is still a fear that gets on buses with me, whispers in my ear while I’m sleeping, and has me hesitate when I’m going out alone at night. It’s more than unfortunate that half of the global population doesn’t feel completely safe to travel on their own, and I would like to work harder at changing that.
What are the best places for solo travel?
I think there are risks to traveling anywhere- some places may seem more egregious because of the news. I can only speak from the places I have traveled to, but most places can be great for solo-travel. My travels have shown that the world is more protective than predatory.
And honestly, I think a good amount of traveling is based around luck. For example, I went to Barcelona for a week, partied at local spots, and had a phenomenal time without any issues. A friend went around the same time and got robbed and stranded outside of the city. Why were our experiences of the same place so vastly different? Chance is a large contributor. Unfortunate things happen regardless of where you are in the world, and the same goes for wonderful things as well.
If you want to read more interviews on being a solo female traveler, check out this post with Lyfe+Spice “It’s Up to the Solo Female Travelers.”