Traveling is a fun thing for me even though I don’t get to do it very often. Finding a traveling companion is difficult due to problems with schedules, finances, personal choices, etc., and I have to say that often when I get back home after traveling with someone, I realize that I did not get to do many of the items on my itinerary. In addition, I find that sleeping hours vary, eating habits can cause problems, and highway choices can be vastly different–the interstate or country roads. So women traveling and vacationing alone can be fulfilling and much more satisfying for the most part. The one most likely exception occurs when traveling with someone you get along very well with at home, such as a spouse or good friend, where the ability to work well together is key. The trip can be rewarding and with few regrets, with time spent satisfying to each.
The important thing to remember here is that you should not deny yourself the opportunity to travel because you lack a suitable person to travel with. Most likely, the majority of women traveling alone are those traveling for business. These are seasoned travelers and we have learned much from them. They have shown us we can do it also.
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae C. Jemison
Traveling Alone is Fun
The first thing that pops into my head is “freedom” when I think of traveling alone. By that, I mean the freedom to do what I want to do, when and where I want, and how I want to do it. Let’s face it. I love making my own choices, and I bet you do as well. That forces me to take responsibility for the bad choices along with the good ones. Does this sense of freedom eliminate some fears that are associated with making choices? Certainly not, but being a little fearful about some things is helpful. That fear often encourages me to go beyond the fear, taking a risk, and enjoying the results. And just as often, that fear leads me to be cautious, to consider what could happen in order to prevent its happening.
“A subject to which few intellectuals ever give a thought is the right to be a vagrant, the freedom to wander. Yet vagrancy is a deliverance, and life on the open road is the essence of freedom. To have the courage to smash the chains with which modern life has weighted us (under the pretext that it was offering us more liberty), then to take up the symbolic stick and bundle and get out.” ― Isabelle Eberhardt
How To Stay Safe
Here are some safety tips for your travels:
- Travel with as little cash as possible. Keep the cash and a minimum of credit cards in a safe place on your person, making it difficult for someone to steal or for you to lose.
- When dining, access your money or credit card away from your table to avoid someone’s noticing where you got it.
- Rest stops for a bathroom or something to drink are probably the safest on the road in a state-owned rest area during the daytime or in a restaurant.
- If you have packed your lunch, the above rest areas usually have tables. If traveling near the ocean, try to find a populated, beachside park for tables and restrooms.
- When entering your hotel room, be mindful of people around you, so you can slip into your room without fear of being followed. If someone knocks on your door, preface what you say with “we, we’re, etc.” as in “We’ll be right there.” Don’t open it unless you are expecting the individual or the service, and when you do open it, don’t close the door until the person leaves. It is easy to feel so comfortable in some hotels or motels that you will leave the door unlocked when going for ice or something else. Don’t do this.
- Know your route before you leave home and adjust it only in safe places. Always have a map of each state you are traveling in. Online maps are available for those actual areas where you will be traveling. Contact the chambers of commerce well ahead of your trip for information.
- Know your destination for sleeping and make reservations well enough in advance. First, you will save money this way, and second, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to stay. Click on my favorite–Booking.com–for room reservations below.
- Wherever you are, be mindful of the lack of people around you and the presence of people and their location to avoid being in a situation where one might take advantage of you.
- Read the book on solo traveling below. It has great Amazon ratings. One in particular was “It gave me great confidence about the idea of an older single woman traveling and enjoying it. I’m now ready to take on the world. Thank you so much for showing the way.” Those who liked the book the most were beginning solo travelers. The book’s author also has a website.
I will be writing articles on traveling to certain areas in the future and need your input on what you would like to learn about places that are new to you. Please offer your suggestions and comments below.
“My spirit gets nourished in faraway places. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a biological need, perhaps a biological flaw that compels me to seek the excitement and challenge that comes of being in a place where nobody knows me. Other times I think that my compulsion to settle into communities that are different from the ones I know is related to my passion for experiential learning. I learn best and most happily by doing, touching, sharing, tasting. When I’m somewhere I’ve never been before, learning goes on all day, every day.” ― Rita Golden Gelman, Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World