Traveling alone is a trend that has turned pink: how to discover the world alone and in complete safety
Women today want to travel and have shown to do so much more than men, strictly alone and in safety. In the past 7 years, the numbers of "solo travellers" have more than tripled and many of these are women. In 2019, women are on a journey of independence, of rediscovering their own social value, of rebirth: let's find out the reasons and characteristics of this way of travelling, a way that is all about freedom.
Solo travel is a revolutionary experience that reveals new horizons, revitalizes the spirit and nourishes new passions: traveling alone is the first step towards the (re) discovery of an inner individual dimension, something that fascinates young people today as never before. According to the latest survey (2018) conducted by Solo Travel, more than 59% of people chose to travel alone because they didn't wait to wait around for a partner for their adventures to show up -when the world calls, you answer without hesitation! The remaining 45%, on the other hand, see solo travel as a perfect opportunity to "do what I want when I want", a sort of adolescent rebellion to the duties of everyday life.
And that's not all: women are dominating the rankings of solo traveler like never before.
2018 saw a record number of women choosing to travel alone, a female success that has dominated the major tourist trends for years, and is destined to explode withint the next two years. Whether it's a romantic weekend for two or a few days to spend time with family, the majority of bookings are placed in a female name, and last year more than half of visitors to our site were women (57.41%) .
What are the reasons behind this overwhelming female victory? According to the Solo Travel Community, travelling as acquired an additional psychological value in the eyes of women, becoming the perfect way out of a lifestyle that is sometimes oppressive, full of many more responsibilities and obligations than men. Not only that: against every gender stereotype, women feel much more courageous and adventurous than their male counterparts, ready to face a journey alone thanks to a greater awareness of their inner strength and problem solving skills.
Is traveling alone is safe?
Being a traveling woman has always been and always will be a risk, both physical and psychological and, unfortunately, sometimes sexual. The latest survey commissioned by AIG Travel revealed that more than half of women traveling alone can't stop thinking about the many risks they could face: 93% feel like a potential victim of theft or scam, probably because aware that a single woman is considered an easy target.
The solution, again, is certainly not to throw in the towel! Traveling alone entails inevitable risks, but so does throwing out the trash when it's dark or dancing under the kaleidoscopic lights of a club in a city center. Everyday female life is a modern minefield. Attention and cunningness are the defense weapons that every woman is already forced to use in everyday life: don't leave your common sense at home and your trip will be a success.
Here is our list of 10 tips to travel alone in complete safety.
1. Be informed at all times
The first challenge of every trip? Face the unknown. When alone the mutual support network typical of group travel collapses; the only person you can rely on is yourself. The solution then, is to inquire. Culture, customs, laws, religion, traditions, weather, language ... we are talking about a 360° knowledge of the city you are travelling to. The more information you have gathered the more confident you will feel, confident of being able to do it on your own. The city becomes a little less unknown, more accessible, somehow more yours and definitely less dangerous.
2. Choose where you want to go carefully
The beauty of travel lies not only in reaching the destination, but deciding the right destination when traveling alone is of utmost importance. We recommend starting with the International SOS Travel Risk Map, where each country is reviewed according to social tension, economic instability, terrorist alerts and the quality of health care service.
The safest countries in the world to visit are once again won by the Nordic countries (Norway, Finland and Denmark) together with cold Greenland and Iceland and the dry arid Australia. Western Europe follows together with the USA, Canada, Eastern China and Japan, all with low levels of risk for tourism. Iran and Oman are also surprisingly safe. But it's a different story for the rest of the Middle East, which, along with most of the African continent, is home to the most dangerous areas of the world: Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, the Gaza Strip and South Sudan to name some. Slightly more accessible are Tunisia, Nigeria, Congo and Pakistan. The same can be said for South America, with Venezuela and most of Mexico turning red despite the proximity of innocuous countries like Argentina and Chile. On the other hand, Southern Europe is joined to the whole of Russia in the territorial bloack of medium-dangerous ratings.
Check out our artcle on: 5 safest countries for women in Asia
3. Book a hostel
When traveling alone your accommodation choice becomes much more than which bed to sleep in: it is a point of reference, a place to meet others and ask advice from the staff of the place. Did you know that Cairns Girls Hostel is one of the many female hostels that have risen in every corner of the world over the last 65 years, offering shelter and security to hundreds of women traveling alone through Australia? What are the advantages of choosing a female hostel then?
Maximum safety and comfort. St Christopher's The Oasis is one of the most popuaar hostels in London and it is no coincidence why! An entire section of the building is dedicated to female-only dormitories which can only be accessed with individual and personal magnetic cards. This means that you are guaranteed to find an enviroment in which you feel completely at ease. The same applies to Hostella Rome, the first all-female hostel in the Italian capital, designed and managed by those who personally know the needs of a solitary traveler: secure Wi-Fi 24 hours a day (never entrust your sensitive data to public hotspots), convenient luggage storage, free breakfast, a common room with board games and a TV (with Netflix!) for an evening of well-deserved relaxation.
Bathrooms in the female dorms at St Christopher's The Oasis
Central location. HelloBCN is located in the heart of Barcelona, just 10 minutes walk from Las Ramblas and 2 minutes from the metro station. This will allow you to avoid dangerous night-time walks in the quieter areas of the city: while on this topic, we suggest you plan your arrival at any hostel during the day. Darkness is the number one enemy of the inexperienced traveler!
Luxury accessories. The Generator London has understood that even the strongest and most independent women like to be pampered from time to time. Their female dorms have dressing tables complete with a make-up area and giant mirrors. Plus Prague is not far behind, with hairdryers and ensuite showers and even the possibility to use the indoor swimming pool and sauna!
4. Protect your money
Say goodbye to paper money: when you travel alone, your only ally is your credit card. Make sure you don't get charged exaggerated international withdrawal fees and always keep your bank's toll-free number handy to freeze your account in case of theft. This doesn't mean that taking some change for emergency situations is not a good idea: we suggest you go get a neck-size document holder like this one, which fits comfortably on your bra straps ... it will be difficult for a theif to get to that!
5. Don't draw attention to yourself
Don't walk with the map in front of your eyes, don't show off your new birthday bracelet to the subway crowd, don't bring a brand new camera dangling around your neck ... in short, don't be a tourist. Enjoy the view and take as many selfies as you want, but never lower your guard. Obviously think twice before getting drunk drunk, unless you are comfortably seated at the hostel's bar: getting around the city is difficult enough without losing your sobriety. Confident, secure and alert, while walking fearlessly with your head held high is the real deterrent against anyone who wants to take advantage of you.
6. Be anonymous when necessary
"What's your name? Are you travelling alone? Where are you staying?". In the age of social media sharing is now almost a foregone act, and yet when you travel alone, we advise you to keep any sensitive data that may harm your safety to yourself. Instead, choose a trusted person who can become your contact at home and keep them informed about your travels: this means that there will always be someone ready to remotely help you if you need it.
7. Trust your instincts (and learn to say no)
It is said that women are born with a certain "sixth sense": it is time to use it. If you're waiting for the bus and the guy sitting at the bus stop is making you feel uncomforable then go back to the main road where there are more people or call a taxi. The rule is to say no to any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable: a drink offered to you, a personal question, an unsolicited conversation. Protecting your belongings and protecting your person must always take precedence over any social convention.
8. Dont' forget about travel insurance
The sad truth is that when you are traveling alone, 70% of the dangers you face will be completely out of your control: a delayed plane, bad weather, the museums closed for holidays or the most beautiful monuments under renovation ... or the showers in hostel all busy! Better then protect the remaining 30% with all your strength. The first step for a care-free journey is to buy travel insurance. The advantages are numerous but health coverage is the most important clause. There is no worse scenario than being alone in the hospital without the possibility of urgent medical treatment abroad, especially outside the European Union, which can reach very high prices.
To learn more: All you need to know about travel insurance.
9. Be careful when using public transport
Buses, trams and subways are the inseparable allies of every backpacker on a tight budget. But be careful with a backpack: it is precisely in moments of haste and distraction between a stop and the other that the pickpockets pass by unnoticed! Put your phone in a tightly closed or internal pocket; traveling without Google Maps is the quintessential nightmare of the solitary backpacker.
Never give in to the temptation to hitchhike if you need to go back to the hostel in the late at night: call a taxi or save by booking an Uber instead. With the possibility of car sharing and the digital tracking option all the way to the destination, it is a decidedly cheaper and equally safe option.
10. Network with other travelers
Traveling alone means many things: finding yourself, getting involved, healing a broken heart, discovering new horizons, developing unprecedented skills ... and having fun. Yes, because when the loneliness is felt, all you have to do is enjoy a drink at the hostel's bar or take part in a karaoke evening in the common room and the perfect travel companion will appear before your eyes. Ask for advice and exchange experiences, let yourself be inspired by adventures outside of your comfort zone: with whom could you share a love for travel if not with other courageous women who have chosen as you to freely see the world at 360?
More distinct border lines, mental and religious traditions and mistrust towards any human contact should have turned us into true travel-fearers; on the other hand, women have taken the lead in a movement of freedom that pushes more and more people to abandon the safety of their own home for a journey of independence in total solitude. Women are claiming their place in the world and travel is their winning weapon.
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