I hear this a lot. But only from women (and their men) who have never traveled alone. There are some women I know who aren’t even comfortable going to a restaurant by themselves.
I guess I have always been more independent and adventurous than most women. And an introvert who likes being alone, rather than in a gaggle of people traveling together, which actually has no appeal to me whatsoever.
My recent solo trip to Spain and other places wasn’t my first trip by myself. I have driven alone across the U.S. several times. During periods of time when Mike and I were living in different places for his career, such as California and North Carolina, I became restless and missed my sons who were living in Canada with their father. I left on my own to go back to Canada for periods of time to be near them, traveling by bus or car, and on arrival found a place to live and a job. I didn’t have any friends that I was comfortable asking to stay with (I lost most of them in the divorce). Once, I took a house-and-horses-sitting job for a few weeks on a small ranch near the boys – over the phone. I didn’t even have a car that time, and found a cheap used one after I got there.
It never struck me that this was an unusual thing to do. Or unsafe.
Heck, I went by train across Canada with a backpack, camping, with my girl cousin when I was 16 years old! She was only 18. I guess I was fortunate because my mother, in particular, encouraged that kind of independence and never worried about me. No helicopter parenting there!
I guess I never got the message: you can’t do that, you’re a girl. Or a wife.
Coming to Mazatlan for the first time as a winter resident six years ago was entirely my idea, and my doing. I was at a point in my life when I needed to do something just for me. I decided to try it out and found a place to rent on the internet – sight unseen. I had only a vague idea of the different areas of Mazatlan. I came down by myself, met my landlord at the airport (an American), settled into the apartment (which I lucked out on – it was perfect), and began exploring and making new friends.
I don’t say all of this to brag. I say it because I don’t think of myself as all that brave. I know of a lot of women who travel far more extensively, and some with just a backpack. Younger AND older. Yes, I do get apprehensive when going somewhere new, but I know from experience that this will pass and I push through it.
So I am including a few links to various articles and blogs written by them, with the hope that it may help allay fears (in women AND their men) and inspire more women to try out solo travel – even if it is a short trip close to home at first – and even if your man objects. In my opinion, if your man doesn’t have any confidence in you then there might be a problem in your relationship!
This might be hard to think about, but it’s true. Chances are that you will outlive your husband. The confidence in yourself you will gain is so good for your soul.
My best tips for women traveling alone?
Practice your most “annoyed” face for when strange men approach you and start talking to you. I am VERY good at freezing them out! I use the “Audrey Jessup” glare. (My mother – she could dry fresh paint with it.)
Always be checking your “6” while walking. That means be aware of who is walking behind you, particularly if there aren’t many people around. If you are uncomfortable with who is walking behind you, stop, window shop or go in a store and let that person pass. I do this all the time, instinctively. Even in Calgary.
I put my bag crosswise over the shoulder and walk close to the building side of the sidewalk with the bag on that side.
The best quote from a blog post (Christine Gilbert) linked below: “If you’re a woman in the United States and you want to take a proactive approach to protecting yourself against violence, here’s my suggestion: strap on a backpack and go see the world.”
Women Shouldn’t be Afraid to Travel Alone – Laura Walker of AWanderingSole.com
Female Travel Tips from Female Travelers by Laura Walker of AWanderingSole.com
Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women by AdventurousKate.com
The Women Traveling Solo Question by Christine Gilbert of AlmostFearless.com
Sometimes it’s Scary – by Dyanne Kruger of Travelnlass.com