Ever since I decided that I was going to travel around Europe by myself for a month, people have always reacted the same way- “you’re going by yourself? Isn’t that dangerous, won’t you get lonely?” Now, looking back on what I’ve done so far, what I’m doing now, and all my adventures left to come, I think it’s time to show the reality of being a female solo backpacker.
You will be fine, you will have the time of your life and you’ll feel so much more capable than you ever thought possible. That’s the truth of it. I did not want to let my circumstances or my gender restrict where I went or what I could experience. And I’m so glad I didn’t.
That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind, which are relevant to any traveller really. This is what I’ve learnt.
1) Be really sociable, because otherwise it will get lonely. I had so many great nights out with so many different people because I just introduced myself to people. Chances are they will be in the same situation anyway
2) Pick a hostel with a good vibe. Check ratings of hostel world etc. A hostel with a bar is a good bet because people are usually there to meet other people.
3) Watch your stuff like a hawk. My handbag was always zipped up and tightly under my arm or in my lap. If I got robbed, I wouldn’t have had anyone to help me out, so this was especially important.
4) Know how to assert yourself. If something makes you uncomfortable, then you don’t need to apologise to anyone for how you get out of it. Sometimes you have to be blunt, but I’d rather a few hurt feelings than a horrible alternative.
5) Trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right then there’s probably a reason for it. Again, it’s your right to respond how you need to in order to feel safe.
6) Use some common sense. Don’t go and wipe yourself out alone in a strange city. Take a taxi if need be, stick with your new friends when out at night. You can go out to bars and drink, don’t feel like you can’t go out at night. Just use the same common sense you would at home
Solo travelling was extremely rewarding for me, and I’ve since had people tell me that they feel more confident to travel alone after hearing how truly fine it can be. I really enjoyed how selfish I could be in my choices, it’s not a bad thing, it was liberating. If you’re a person that is happy with your own company and not afraid to make friends, then you will thrive as a solo traveller.
Don’t let your fears or the fears of other people stop you from realising your dreams!