If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post by mistake and do not know, I’m a travel in style blogger. Which means that my life revolves around working to save up enough till I can afford my next trip. And, since I live alone in Paris for my masters’, I can’t always have a companion on my trips. In the case of which, I become a ‘solo woman traveler’. Now, a solo woman traveler, like other women who like to travel, and travels, but usually independently and more often than not without a companion.
No, it doesn’t include work related trips.
According to me, however, sometimes you can have a companion but can still share a dynamic where everyone is pretty independent in terms of their plans and are just traveling together to say, save costs or ensure safety. After all, as a single woman, you do have to think about a thousand things before you can undertake the journey. Which is what prompted me to compile a list of things that I’m prompted to think when I am that solo woman traveler.
Now, even though I’ve compiled these with an undertone of sarcasm and humor, they are very true concerns of any woman traveler, solo or not. Depending on where you’re traveling to, it can get worse.
Is there a solution? Maybe. Will things change? I hope. Why this list? Because that’s what blogs are for.
1. What is the appropriate Dress code?
In a perfect world, what I wear should not solicit anyone’s any kind of behavior towards me, but since it is anything but that, my dress code is always my foremost concern. Even in liberal countries, things can differ from district to district. So, I try to be on the conservative side, mostly. And, to get the best mix of ‘travel in style’ and ‘conservative’ can be even more challenging, sometimes.
2. Where am I Lodging, is it clean, is it safe, what is affordability anyway?
Not only do I pay more to live in the city center, I can’t plan the last minute holiday because I can’t risk being in an unknown city without having a verifies place to lodge in. God bless the internet and extensive verification systems that have made the life of a solo woman traveler so comfortable.
3. Is there a camera in my room/car/toilet/etc?
This is such a real concern when I travel with or without anyone, to be honest. It is not because I’m a paranoid person but simply because of the episodes in the news that I read about every day. I don’t want creepy people filming me. ew.
4. How would my parents feel?
No, seriously. Even though I live alone and am pretty independent, this is one of the biggest concerns I have. This is not at all because my parents are difficult but because I genuinely understand their concerns. While they want to be supportive of my following my passions, their concerns about my safety are very real in the big bad world.
5. I’m not helpless, just a solo woman traveler.
This one generally creeps in when I’m met with pity or unusual questioning from fellow travelers, airport authorities, or just about anyone who thinks they are the flag bearers of patriarchy. Some people mock you, others pity. Even fellow women try to talk sense into me sometimes. Like, okay, I understand that you think women shouldn’t travel alone but I’m going to deal with it so please leave me alone.
6. I hope the Bathrooms are clean.
This is a BIG issue for a woman. Especially when you’re on your period. Women are more prone to infections than men and if you’re hygiene freak like me, things only go down south.
7. Why is this stranger being nice to me?
Even though I’ve always had beautiful experiences with strangers (like when I got lost in Mont Saleve), this is always a stressful situation. In today’s world, it is very difficult to trust someone. I never share my contact details or location with anyone, too. Even if I ‘feel’ they are genuinely nice, I never let my guard down. This helps me avoid sticky situations and keeps the attention away from me, too.
8. I got to run back to my lodging before my gadgets run out of battery.
Now, this is also a part of the safety drill. I just somehow feel much less safe as soon as my gadgets are out of battery. Even though the cities can have some beautiful stories in the night, it is highly unlikely that I’ll stick around without connectivity. Yes, I travel alone but that certainly doesn’t mean I’m carefree or irresponsible.
9. How do I get the best picture of me and the place without looking completely stupid?
Traveling is all about going to new places and experiencing new cultures. Of course, though, you can’t help but look at the beauty in the world, too. Now, a blogger or not, everyone loves pictures and when you travel alone, this can be a little difficult. Whether it is the anxiety of posing in front of strangers or just being able to get a picture without grabbing attention gets me worked up. I’m sure this is the case with fellow women travelers, too.
10. What is going to be my next book?
Of course, when you travel alone, you have to learn how to entertain yourself. Amidst long flights and fluctuating connectivity, books are my best friend. Of course, this has nothing to do with you being a solo ‘woman’ traveler, but since this always gets me excited, I’m just throwing this in. Moreover, to a woman, it makes you look busy and helps you in avoiding speaking to strangers, too.
That was my compilation of the thoughts I have as a solo woman traveler, if you can think of more, do share in comments below. For more of my travel in style adventures, keep following ertsy.
Till then, stay ertsy and be your own desire! x