As moms, often our number one mom goal is simply to steal a few minutes of alone time. We love our kids dearly, but let’s be honest- we’ve all resorted to hiding in the bathroom with a secret stash of chocolates! Being a mom is arguably the most demanding job in the world. There are no sick days, no holidays, and even short breaks are few and far between. But carving out some alone time for self care is critical. Flight attendants are constantly reminding us to “Secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” It’s time we start applying this advice to our every day lives. As part of our #MomGoals series to celebrate International Women’s Month, we’re discussing solo female travel as a way for travel loving moms to take a break from our every day responsibilities and recharge our batteries so we can return refreshed and rejuvenated.
What is Female Solo Travel?
If this sounds like a simple question, it is. Female solo travel is exactly what it says it is… females traveling solo! The Travel Industry Association reports that over 32 million American women travel solo every year. The female solo travel industry is booming, with hundreds of travel bloggers and social media influencers documenting their adventures and travel companies all overt the world now catering to female solo travelers.
Benefits of Female Solo Travel
Why is female solo travel taking the travel industry by storm? First and foremost, it’s empowering. We live in a society that has well-defined gender norms where women often take a backseat to our male counterparts. We’re often made to feel that there are certain things we can’t do on our own and that we need a man to lead us, but female solo travel is a way to break those gender stereotypes and give the proverbial middle finger to the idea that women should or shouldn’t do certain things. Planning a trip, lugging your own bags around, and navigating a new place entire only your own is EMPOWERING. It requires independence and assertiveness, which are skills we should all be strengthening all the time! It offers freedom from social expectations- allowing women to define themselves however they choose. And with such a large network of female solo travelers, it offers opportunities to connect with like-minded women who share similar values.
Many people think of female solo travel as a lifestyle for single people, but more and more, women with families are taking time for traveling on their own. For moms, solo travel offers additional benefits. As moms, it’s easy to lose our sense of identity. We’re proud of being moms, of caring for our children, and for being 100% available to them day in and day out- and it’s easy to let that become our identity. It’s certainly a huge part of our identities, but it shouldn’t swallow us whole. Moms need to remember that we are strong and independent! We deserve a chance to be in charge of no one but ourselves, to meet our OWN needs, and make choices that benefit our mental health and well-being without putting someone else’s wants and needs first. We need to advocate for ourselves, stand up for ourselves, and maintain our own individual identities as bold, beautiful women!
But Isn’t It Dangerous?
Listen. Life is dangerous. Every single day we face risks from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. Heck, even going to sleep is a risk because sometimes people just don’t wake up. Yes, female solo travel has risks. It can be dangerous- but so can any kind of travel. As discussed above, the female solo travel movement is about EMPOWERMENT. The female solo travel community is a sisterhood of women who come together to educate each other on how to travel alone safely. Learning to make smart, safe choices is one of the many benefits of traveling solo. It forces us to think critically, to be aware of our surroundings, know how to defend ourselves, and to teach our kids the importance of learning and practicing all these skills. We’re going to cover some of the more common female solo travel tips below- but if you’re planning to adventure out on your own, do as much research on solo travel safety as you can as a way to further empower yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small
Whether you don’t have someone to watch your kids for a week or two while you travel abroad or you don’t feel like you’re ready to tackle a new country alone just yet- don’t be afraid to start small. If the kids can do a sleepover with an aunt or a friend, book yourself a hotel room in your home town. Act like a tourist for the day, then order yourself some room service at night, take a hot bath and enjoy a good night’s sleep without someone tiptoeing into your room at 3am! If you’re ready for something a little more adventurous, try the next city or state over where you’re still relatively close to home but it can still feel like you’re exploring something new. Any break from the kids where you get to be out traveling alone will be a refreshing break that still comes with all the benefits of solo travel!
Female Solo Travel Tips
Research Where You Want To Go: Some locations are more female-friendly than others. Many of the popular female-friendly locations have strong networks of other female travelers you can connect with on your trip. If you follow any solo travelers on social media, tap into the info in their posts to see where they felt the most comfortable. Research the basics of your location- know the language, the currency, the dress etiquette, areas to avoid, etc. Remember, knowledge is power!
Let Someone Know Your Plans: Any time you travel solo, let someone know your plans. Someone close to you should have your entire itinerary, including transportation and hotel details as well as your daily activities. If you’re going out for a hike or adventure, make sure someone knows where you are and what time you expect to be back.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Traveling solo means always being aware of your surroundings. Stick to more populated areas and always keep an eye on who is around you or if anyone seems to be following you. When walking alone, it’s best not to wear headphones as you’ll want to be using all of your senses to take in your surroundings.
Put Your Phone Away: Having an expensive phone out can make you a target for theft- and your phone is one of the last things you want stolen when traveling. You’ll also want to avoid the temptation to scroll through or post to social media while walking or riding in a taxi or Uber as this can distract you from paying close attention to your surroundings.
Avoid Posting on Social Media in Real Time: When you’re experiencing something amazing, we often want to share that on social media. Especially if you’re traveling on your own and others are keeping up with your #momgoals adventure! But be careful not to post to social media in real time. It opens you up to potential followers or stalkers finding where you are. Whether you are traveling solo or with your kids, it’s always safest to save your posting for after you have left a location. Also be careful with posting your hotel location, or anything that could give away your hotel location. “This super cute cafe right next to my hotel” can give your location away.
Know Some Basic Self Defense: Learn some basic self defense before setting out on a solo trip. It’s always better to be over-prepared! You don’t need to become a black belt in a martial art, but take the time to learn some basic tips. Mace and pepper spray are illegal in some countries, so carry hairspray or bug spray as a replacement. Holding a key in your hand can help ward off an attacker. Knowing to focus your kicks or punches on vulnerable areas can give you extra time to get away.
Connect with Other Female Travelers: There are SO many other female travel groups online. There are also many travel agents and companies that specialize in booking female travel experiences. Connect with groups to see if anyone else is available to meet up or connect with travel companies to schedule an all female group tour or cooking class. You can also look for all-female hostels for housing, and some cities and countries have things like all female train cars for transportation.
Be Confident: Stand tall and be confident. Maybe you don’t feel all that confident inside – but giving off a confident vibe goes a long way. Thieves and criminals look to target the vulnerable, so do your best to make yourself look smart and strong!
TRUST YOUR GUT: The whole reason you are traveling solo is because you’re one badass mama! You’re smart, savvy, and you’ve got strong instincts. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t look or feel right, chances are it’s not quite right. Solo travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to try new things- but don’t put yourself at risk if something feels off. Always get yourself out of situation if your gut just isn’t feeling it.
Don’t Give In To Fear: Yes, traveling solo as a woman has some unique challenges- but don’t let fear stop you from going out on an awesome adventure! You’ll need to be more alert, more aware, and more proactive than you might be when traveling with a group- but you are entirely capable of making smart choices and having an AMAZING time on your own! Let a healthy dose of caution guide you towards making safe decisions, but don’t give in to fear and miss what could be an amazing experience!
Some of our favorite female solo travel resources include: