Why Solo Female Travel Can Be So Inspiring

Judy Freedman
by Judy Freedman

March 06, 2019

6 minute read

When I was a young mom with kids and working in the corporate world, I used to travel for my job quite a bit. Sometimes I felt guilty being away, yet other times I relished having a bathroom all to myself, reading a book without interruption, or consuming a burger and fries via room service without having to give away any of my fries to a little person.

Fast forward 30 years, my life today is very different than it was back then. As a widow and empty nester, I'm still an avid traveler. I like going on vacation with my family and friends, but I also enjoy traveling solo. Just because I don't have a companion by my side doesn't mean I have to forget about a trip or forfeit any fun.

Solo female travel is a growing trend

solo female travel

"According to the George Washington University School of Business, nearly two-thirds of today's travelers are women," reports the Girlpower Marketing Agency. "In fact, 80% of all travel decisions are made by women, regardless of who they're traveling with, who's paying for the trip, and where they're traveling to. Many of those women traveled solo, with 73% of travel agents saying women are more likely to travel on their own than men."

What do women like about solo travel?

Judy igloo door

As a lifestyle blogger, I often have opportunities to go on solo trips. For example, last year I went solo on an Explorations Northern Lights of Finland Tour. I was anxious about traveling so far by myself and to a destination I had never been to before. I was so pleased to meet three other solo females from different parts of the U.S. on the tour. We quickly became friends and met up during free time to go shopping in Helsinki and dined together at the resort in Lapland. I may not have gotten to know these other female travelers as well had I not been traveling solo.

Traveling solo provides flexibility

myanmar sunset

"I like traveling solo because it provides the ultimate flexibility. I can set my own schedule to see sights for as long or as little as I want," says Rose from Quiltripping. Being a photographer, Rose says, "This is especially useful because it means I can stay in one spot for 10 minutes to get the perfect shot, and not feel guilty that a traveling partner is bored."

Rose does extensive research before she travels to a destination so that she knows what to expect culturally. "I want to find out where it is safe for me to travel alone and where I might be better off taking a local tour," she says.

Rose has found big cities with good transportation systems, like London, Paris and Tokyo, to be particularly easy for solo female travelers. "It is more efficient and also more cost effective if I can rely on public transport rather than taxis," she says.

Solo travel lets you savor the special moments

Jennifer Price solo travel1 

Jennifer from Travel Like A Prince likes the personal momentum of solo travel. "As a wife and mom to three teens, traveling alone gives me the chance to explore at my own pace," says Jennifer. "I enjoy art, history, handmade goods, and taking photos along the way. Being by myself allows me to get lost in thought while not feeling rushed." She admits that she tries to make a point of doing this even if she is traveling with others so that she can savor some individual time.

For those who are afraid to travel alone, Jennifer recommends considering a female-centric tour. "This type of tour provides the opportunity to make friends with similar interests," says Jennifer. "The accountability and camaraderie of a tour are a comfort for women wishing to travel alone without having to navigate an unfamiliar country by themselves."

Solo travel allows you to do whatever you want when you want

Susan Moore solo travel

Susan from Solo Trips and Tips has been traveling around on a road trip on her own for more than four years. She has also traveled to many countries by herself.

"The best thing about solo travel is getting to do whatever I want without having to make arrangements with others or compromise," says Susan. She admits that sometimes things can get lonely when you don't have other people to hang out with. "Occasionally I'll stay in shared Airbnb rentals or hostels so that I have opportunities to socialize more. Or I sign up for a class or group outing like kayaking or a hiking trip," she adds.

Solo travel boosts your self-confidence

Michela Fantinel of Rocky Travel  

"I started traveling alone in the eighties when I was a young woman," says Michaela from Rocky Travel. "It was unusual for a woman to travel on her own. I started out of necessity. As an expat student, I was keen to go exploring and soon realized that I loved it. Over time it has become my favorite way to travel." Michaela does admit that while she loves the highs of solo travel, there can be some down days too. She recommends learning to love your own company, all the time - during the good and bad moments.

"Because you are completely alone, you are responsible for your own happiness," she says. "When you feel lonely, go for a walk on the beach, stroll along a pedestrian area, sit on a bench, watch people and enjoy the outdoors. Striking up a conversation is much easier than people think. I believe there is no better training, than traveling alone, that boosts your self-confidence. It makes women bolder and stronger."

If things get overwhelming, Michaela advices solo female travelers to search for a reliable source of information to get advice or help. It can be your host or neighbor (if staying at a residence), your tour guide (if on a group tour), a local tourism information officer or the local police.

Think of safety first when you're a solo female traveler

One of, if not the most important, things when you are a solo female traveler is to stay safe.

"Trust your instincts," advises Johanna from Lifestyle Fifty. "If the place you've booked to stay in feels dodgy, then don't stay there. If a tour company you've booked with feels disorganized then don't go on a trip with them. If you feel as if you're being followed find the nearest place where there are lots of people and wait and observe what's going on before setting off again. Watch out for scams in places like Paris - they really are plentiful. Read up on the various scams if you are traveling to major cities and be wary - forewarned is forearmed if you're traveling solo."

Are you ready to take the leap alone? Are you sold on saying "yes" to a solo adventure? My BFF Wendy says, "I'd rather go somewhere by myself than not go at all." I agree.

Happy travels!

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