Als vrouw alleen ben je echt niet overal ter wereld veilig. Terwijl veel vrouwen wél de behoefte hebben om in hun eentje de wereld rond te trekken. Deze tips voor 'vrouwelijke solo travellers' kwam ik tegen, en die moet je als vrouw toch even doornemen. Geschreven door Leyla Giray, van womenontheroad.com. Als man mag je dit trouwens ook lezen hoor :)
First don't worry and don't be afraid. Women often fear travelling on their own, mostly because they wonder if they'll be able to cope if something happens.Of course you will! What would you do differently if you were travelling with that work colleague or loved one? These days with such easy phone and internet access to home, you'll be almost as close as if you were with them.
Another fear is loneliness. Frankly, I had the opposite experience - could never find enough time alone. It's easy to meet people on the road, other travellers as well as local people.A woman alone elicits all sorts of responses, and many of them involve invitations you'd never get if you were part of a couple or a group, like a traditional Balinese wedding I once attended.
You'll meet people everywhere. If you backpack, you'll find fellow backpackers in hostels along the way. You'll almost always find people to share a meal or a bus ride with.If you go off the beaten path, it's often even easier because people will come up to you - lone women have a way of attracting attention.Just keep your head about you. If you're approached by a lone man, think twice about why.Best to stay close to the women - go to markets or to the river or well if you're in a rural area. In the city, stick to other travellers if you're lonely, at least until you get your bearings.
As for dining alone, yes, it can be daunting - but it doesn't have to be.If you're very shy and you'd rather starve than eat on your own, here are a few tips to make that experience less traumatic: bring something to read or to write, staying busy keeps your mind off your surroundings; eat early in the evening so you'll be surrounded by families rather than sideways glances from men; eat outside if there's a terrace, it tends to me more casual than the inside; read up on national food before you go so you won't be stumped by the menu; check out your eatery earlier in the day so you won't feel like you're in a completely strange place when you get there (and check the prices so you don't get a financial shock!); and finally, remember, you're actually not the centre of attention, no matter how much you think you are.
Do plenty of research before going: the more you know about a place, the better your experience will be.
Keep your wits about you: if something feels wrong, don't do it! Don't go to isolated places alone with a man you've just met (you wouldn't do that at home, would you?).
Keep your money safe and out of sight - I use a money belt, and keep enough money for the day in my pocket so I won't have to shuffle through large bills in full sight.
Keep in touch: have a 'check-in date' with friends or family every few days or every week (it can be as simple as dropping them an email to tell them you're fine and where you are).
Keep up with the news: don't get in a civil war or flood just because you thought listening to the news 'diluted' your solo travel experience!
Don't skimp on gear: if you're going on a long trip, get the very best you can afford. I paid a fortune for shoes (wore them all the way across Africa blister-free), a great backpack (for a while I had up to 25 kg in it because I was writing and carrying lots of research materials), underwear (dries easily, keeps its shape)... you get the picture.
Depending on where you're going, bring feminine hygiene stuff: you're not going to find pads, tampons and similar things everywhere - so check on travel forums to see what's on offer where you're going.
Learn some self-defence: let's be realistic, you probably won't use it. But as a solo woman on the road, it'll make you feel a lot better to know that you could defend yourself if you had to!
Don't take more than you need (and I promise you'll shed a lot of it along the way).
Don't try to see the entire world at once: cut back on the number of destinations, and get to know a few places in-depth (as a solo woman you have every chance of really getting to know a place).
And finally - don't let anyone talk you out of it if this is what you really want to do! Everyone will have a reason to do so: it's unsafe, you'll be lonely, it's not done, you'll ruin your career, you'll put your mother through hell (I did).
Some people will be concerned about you, while others may just be jealous!