Solo travel is on the rise, especially among women. While travel can be a great way to create memories with the people you love, sometimes a solo trip can be a meditative experience that will build your character and independence. In this article, we tell you where you should go if you’re thinking it doing it solo.
Travel, much like movie-watching, has always been a group activity. You assemble a few likeminded friends, you pick a destination, you pack your bags, and off you go. For those of us who cannot find a group of our own, we often throw our lot in with travel groups which give you the privacy of being on your own and also the opportunity to make friends in the group you’re in.
However, more and more people are making the choice to travel truly alone, and for women, the most important thing to consider is safety. This is more so the case in countries like India, where economic independence is only still happening and young women are finding themselves having to manage old world beliefs and traditions while aspiring to break free of them.
So for the solo travelling Indian or Australian woman, here are a few destinations you must consider.
1. Stay within your country
Especially if it’s your first trip, stick to the familiar. If you’re an Indian woman, consider going to all the noteworthy places within your state for starters, and then go to the regular holiday spots like Goa and Ooty. If possible, go to places that you’ve already been to with friends so that you’re dipping your toes in the water of solo travel and learning new things about the experience.
If you’re an Australian, the same suggestion holds, though you can perhaps throw your net a bit wider and embrace New Zealand as well. The culture within Australia is similar to what you’d find in New Zealand, and safety wise too, you’re not venturing too far away too soon.
2. Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is a great destination for solo travellers because of pristine beaches, tasty cuisine, cheap travel options, and warm, friendly people. Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a great destination for Indian women to consider, because it’s not too far away from their home country, and it’s easy on the budget. Besides, Myanmar is one of those countries where despite many changes, the identity of the old world has remained intact. For Australian women it’s a lovely departure from the hustle and bustle of city life, where you can embrace the quiet and meditative nature of rural Asian life. What’s not to like?
While you’re at it, why not throw a full-blown Europe trip into it? This will probably suit Australian women more than Indian women because the culture is more Western than Eastern, but India is becoming westernised as we speak, and what’s stopping you from taking the leap to Europe? Bear in mind, though, that if you’re an Indian woman, you’re probably better off keeping Europe for your third or fourth solo trip, when you know better what you’re doing. As to why you should visit Europe, do you really need us to tell you why? Let’s just say Europe tends to be the number one destination on most people’s bucket lists.
This must be on the cards for every open-minded woman out there. The sheer ease of travelling alone in this country ought to make it one of the top places on your list. The city has numerous attractions and is well-connected by a network of trams. The tourist maps work great, and the people are always friendly. Besides, there is always that freethinking attitude to drugs and sex, even if you’re not looking to swing that way.
After Thailand, Vietnam is the place to visit if you’re a solo woman traveller. Vietnamese people are friendly and curious, and it’s relatively common to see solo women being shown around by a bunch of children. There is no real language barrier as such because the Vietnamese speak good enough English, and don’t be surprised if you’re invited to a drink by one of the local Vietnamese men with the intention of brushing up their English. (Yes, really!) Great weather and beautiful nature await you in Vietnam.
Now that we’ve given you what we think is the definitive list of places to visit as a solo woman traveller, here are tips you need to follow if you want to be safe no matter where you go. It’s not always the place but the choices we make.
- Keep three different family members or friends in the know about where you’re going to be when. Remember that you’re in a new place with absolutely no support structure, so having friends who know where you are will make it easier for them to know where to look for you if they have to.
- Don’t accept food or drink from absolute strangers. Yes, we know the allure of meeting a stranger on your vacation and going on a mystery date with him. While we too see the romance in this idea, it’s better if you lay down some ground rules for yourself and make friends very selectively when on a solo trip.
- Exude confidence in your body language. Even if you’re feeling scared and lonely, try and put up a brave front, as if you do this every month of your life. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for help no matter where you are. Remember that the vast majority of humanity is kind and warm, so if you ask, they will help.
- Dress conservatively. Yes, no one has a right to expect you to dress in any one way, but when you’re in a new place, it helps to dress without showing much skin or wealth. Respect local culture and try to blend in; you’re already sticking out as an outsider to the locals without having to drive home the point with provocative clothing or displays of wealth.
- Rely on your gut. But also be on the conservative side. Most people no matter where you go are friendly and up for a good time, but there is always that small chance of things going pear shaped. Be ready for it, and try your best not to land in such situations in the first place. However, if you want to live a little on the wild side, tust your gut. It knows better than you do.