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Solo Travel for Women
As if the thought of heading on a solo backpacking journey isnít daunting enough, many women have the added fear for their personal safety while out on the backpacking trail. Stories seem to be filling the newspapers at home more frequently about women being attacked at popular backpacker locations such as Thailand and Australia and they might be enough to persuade an already nervous first-time solo woman traveller to unpack her backpack and stay put in the comforts of her hometown.

Ok true, there have been some terrible things happen to backpackers out there in the big, bad world but there are plenty of terrible things that happen on home soil. It seems to be the view of the general public that travelling alone is a strange, dangerous thing to do, and that attention should be drawn to this fact in order to prevent women from becoming another backpacker casualty. The media grabs a hold of these rare, tragic stories and makes it seem as though backpackers are a target for criminals around the world.

The huge majority of women who travel the world do so without anything bad happening beyond running out of tampons or a few whistles and stares from sleezy old men. Itís true that bad things can happen, but they can happen at home too. If you keep yourself out of obviously dodgy situations and keep your wits about you will probably have a fantastic time.

Staying out of dodgy situations generally means the obvious Ė donít walk alone at night, donít wander into dark alleys by day, donít get stupidly drunk if you donít have someone you trust to take care of you, donít leave your drink unattended, all that sort of stuff. If you plan on getting drunk itís a good idea to have a mobile phone programmed with a local taxi number. Iím a terrible role model who tends to do all of the naughty things mentioned above and Iíve come out without any frightening stories or near misses so if you stick to them and are more responsible than I am then you will more than likely never find yourself in a tricky situation.

All of that said, although youíll head off on your travels alone, unless you have terrible social skills, chances are youíll never actually be alone. Meeting people along the way is easy, especially other solo travellers. Backpackers have a great camaraderie and it is especially easy to meet other solo women backpackers. If you keep your plans flexible you might even find yourself finding travel companions for longer periods of time. The good thing about picking up travel companions along the way is that you can go your separate ways if your interests are different or if you get on each otherís nerves.

Solo travel will leave you feeling very empowered and give you a lot of freedom knowing that you wonít have to wait around for friends to decide to go travelling with you. It will open your eyes to new experiences and new friendships and you will see that the world is not that big, scary places that the media sometimes wants us girls to think it is.

By: Kirsty
August 2006 - Australia - Canada - Europe - New Zealand

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