Sep/Oct
2013

Women Wanderers

Written by Danielle Allen
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women-wanderers

The Benefits of and Tips For Traveling Alone

Traveling alone can be an incredibly liberating experience, especially for women. Many women focus their lives on taking care of others and meeting the community’s needs and forget the freeing feeling of an independent excursion.

As a solo-traveler, you have total control and flexibility over your trip, allowing the journey to take you wherever you want to go. Prefer to sleep in late? There’s no one demanding an early start. Want to stop and check out that kooky local museum? The day is yours!

Where Should I Go?

Laura D’Ambrosio, who runs a travel blog, loves traveling alone and has gone on solo trips in the U.S., Europe and Africa.

“I especially prefer traveling alone when I’m going to remote places,” D’Ambrosio says. “I like to let nature nurture me; I value the solitude.”

Solitary journeys can be particularly rewarding, especially when designed to get away from the hectic pace of everyday life. Popular destinations for solo travelers are ones known for their relaxing qualities like private beaches or rural towns you can explore on your own.

Road trips are also well-liked because of their spontaneous nature. When was the last time you were on a road trip and got to put on whatever music you wanted and play it at the volume you liked? Try a loose travel plan. It allows adventure to determine the itinerary—like hitting all the best ice cream shops between Rochester and California!

For urban destinations, travel agent Peggy Nixa recommends New York City and Chicago because they offer a wide variety of accessible hot spots like museums, shopping and fine dining, are relatively easy to navigate and are safer than they used to be.

But What If I Get Lonely?

One of the doubts women have about solo travel is all that time spent alone. But traveling independently gives you the chance to enjoy your own company, reflect and meditate or just appreciate the silence. Your inner voice can speak to you more clearly when it isn’t competing with the rest of the noise in the world.

“When I immerse myself in the quiet, I can really get creative,” says D’Ambrosio. If you’re still feeling lonely, talk to someone! One of the wonderful things about traveling unaccompanied is the opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures and places and meet interesting people. If you want to travel alone (but not in solitude), try a cruise, guided tour or destination spa.

Looking for a little solitude but not an entire vacation alone? Take a long road trip that leads to time with a friend. The day or two on the open road there and back might be just what you need to recharge your batteries.

While venturing out alone can be challenging, the benefits are many. It’s a remarkable opportunity to get to know yourself more intimately, open up to new people and break through your comfort zone.

Travel Safety Tips

Safety is a big factor that can hinder women from traveling alone. When striking out on your own, follow these safety precautions:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. Listening to your own instincts is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe.
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Keep money hidden, and don’t carry large amounts of cash.
  • Take pictures of your luggage so they’re easily identifiable if misplaced.
  • Lock valuables out of sight.
  • Don’t leave out maps or brochures indicating you are a tourist and making you a target for theft.
  • If traveling at night, park in well-lit areas and avoid stopping on side roads.
  • If you are traveling abroad, blend in with your host culture and carry yourself with confidence. Research other cultures before you leave so you are aware of the laws, expectations of tourists and local customs.

Sources: Rochester Police Department and U.S. Department of State.

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