1. You will meet different and inspirational people.
When you travel with your friends, family, or significant other, it’s only natural to tend to stick with the same group of people. But as a female traveling alone, you will meet other women who are also traveling alone and with whom you’ll have so much in common. You’ll soon learn the unspoken code of trust that exists between women who are traveling alone and that allows them to become temporary sisters.
When I was on my solo journey, I connected with another woman who was traveling alone to Nicaragua for a couple weeks. She had left her 3-year-old child and supporting husband behind — but only temporarily — in order to pursue her love for traveling. And she was an inspiration to me, this rare breed of woman who would continue traveling alone despite marriage and motherhood.
Taking a trip alone is one of the only experiences that allows you to meet these exceptionally inspirational people and, in turn, become more openminded.
2. You have the flexibility to make your own itinerary.
When you travel alone, you have the luxury of making your own agenda. You have the advantage of going wherever you want without someone else’s hesitations, budget, or schedule in mind.
3. You will learn about other cultures.
You will learn that outside of your hometown, the way people live is quite different. It’s important to be exposed to other cultures because it allows you to see how other people survive. In Nicaragua, I used a chicken bus to travel, which most locals use to either get to work, visit relatives, or go to church. The buses were known as “Chicken Buses” because people were crammed onto the bus like chickens. When the bus stopped, vendors would get onto the bus to sell all sorts of food. The entire experience is one that I’m sure most would find uncomfortable, but it also taught me so much about Nicaraguan culture. For these people, selling food is their sole source of income.
4. You will become fearless.
When I went on my first solo trip, I was definitely frightened, but I was also not going allow fear to control my life. Yes, fear is a natural emotion that exists for our own protection, but it is also necessary to not become overwhelmed with fear lest you let it get in the way of your travels and opportunity to learn.
Prior to your trip, it is vital to do extensive research and read reviews from previous travelers. Street harassment exists almost everywhere, and is not a valid reason to block oneself off from learning about different cultures. Simply use common sense and travel safely! And a couple tips to keep in mind: travel during daylight, avoid taking taxis at night, and remember to keep your guard up at all times.
5. You will learn the appeal of minimalism.
Pack light. Pack light. Pack light.
As women, we tend to overpack; we like having options. But when you’re traveling to a third world country, there’s really no need for a blow dryer or high heels. Maintain this mindset, and you’ll soon learn what’s most essential. For instance, makeup; limit your use of daily makeup and you will learn to embrace natural beauty.
6. You will have a therapeutic experience.
As a woman traveling alone, you will grow in a way you’ve never experienced before. You will realize how strong and courageous you are. You will spend enough time alone and with strangers to help clarify your thoughts and learn what you want out of life. You might learn that you despise to travel by yourself, which OK too! You might also learn that long vacations are not meant for you, that you’re the type who does best in routine environments. Then again, you might learn that traveling alone is indeed your cup of tea! But you won’t learn any of these things if you don’t at least try.
7. You will motivate other women to travel.
As an Indian-American woman, I rarely find other women from my descent who enjoy traveling alone. Many women tend to be creatures of comfort, which is completely acceptable; everyone is different. However, I encourage all women to experience the beauty of traveling alone at least once in their lifetime, if only to discover what you are capable of. It does not need even to be out of the country.
So put your fears aside and go out on your own; it will only make you stronger.