Every woman should travel solo at least once in their life, for the sense of empowerment and confidence it brings. For first time solo-travellers, touring with a women’s group is a great option especially if you are not completely confident going on your own.
Companies like Travelling Divas offer the ability to travel with a group of like-minded women who are passionate about travel, but also offers the flexibility to have your own space and step outside your comfort zone.
Founder of Travelling Divas Andrea Powis has compiled a list of top tips and tricks learned over many years of solo and group travel.
1. Research everything
Before you head off, research everything:
Sites like Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet and Smart Traveller can provide great insight from travellers who have visited your destination before to give you a realistic idea of what to expect. If you get flustered by foreign languages, choose a destination with lots of English speakers. If you get distressed by poverty, stick with developed countries.
Arrive early for every train, plane or boat ride. When you're not sweating the small stuff, you can concentrate on the things that are actually fun.
Once you arrive, try to get your bearings as soon as possible. The first thing I do when I land in a new city is to go for a walk. Once you have a rough idea of where things are, you'll feel more confident exploring different areas.
Carry cash, a map, a guidebook, translation book (in a foreign speaking country) and be sure to check your maps and transportation schedules before leaving the hotel.
When withdrawing cash, do so during the day in busy streets, as opposed to at night with few people around.
The single best way to avoid unwelcome attention is not to look like a tourist. In a foreign city, I wear pretty much what I'd wear at home, occasionally adjusted to reflect local sensibilities.
3. Be flexible
The ability to ‘go with the flow’ is one of the best things about travelling alone – there is nothing wrong with taking a day of rest lazing by the pool if that’s what you want to do.
4. Pack light
If you do need to pack bulky items such as winter gear, consider taking two small bags instead of one larger one. Smaller bags are easier to move around and will fit beside you on the back seat of a taxi, instead of being stored in the boot.
5. Share the experience
One of the joys of travelling with others is that you will always have someone to share the experience with. You may want to consider joining a group tour for part of your journey to break-up the time you spend on your own – and you may even make a life-long friend to reminisce with after your return.
Destinations best seen by group tours or for experienced solo travellers:
Women travelling by themselves will be surprised at how protective many local men are - it's the same in the Middle East. What many travellers find challenging, however, is the extremes of rich and poor on display - and that's harder to process when by yourself.
There is much to love about Peru, from Incan ruins to the Amazon. However, many of the country's most memorable experiences - from exploring Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, to hiking the Colca Canyon - are more enjoyable with a friend.
Spain is a destination of choice for thousands of tourists every year and in the major cities a solo female traveller won't raise any eyebrows with the locals. However, English is not widely spoken in the regional/rural areas and it can be more comfortable to travel with someone who speaks the language.
Travelling Divas specialises in women’s travel with an expansive list of destinations and options for solo-travellers. For more information visit: www.travellingdivas.com.au