Many women want to travel alone, or with other women, and not a guy… a fact most men find very difficult to accept.
And while we think there are too many movies and books that give us too many images of women as helpless victims, the truth is that a majority of women say that security issues are their number one concern when traveling alone. Or even with female companions.
But it seems that the joys of travel are so strong, these women would rather travel alone than not travel.
There are real challenges to being female and on the road, like sexual harassment, including being touched or groped or receiving inappropriate or uncalled for remarks.
Women are more likely to be the victims of theft, too.
Smarter Travel has a list of female-friendly places but for those women who don’t want to be confined to a category, there are bits of recurring wisdom for women traveling solo.
Perhaps the key piece of advice we’ve heard, is to ask directions from other women or women with families, and not from men.
A woman’s take on what’s safe is very different from a man’s.
Mary Bond is a bit of a legend among women travelers, and indeed among all travelers, because she more or less opened up the discussion about women road warriors.
Her site, The Gutsy Traveler, is filled with all kinds of useful and important tips facts and advice for women (and families) on the road.
Obviously, another important consideration is to be sure hotels are be near easy transportation with well-lighted parking lots and lobby areas.
Some experts suggest women sport a wedding ring to discourage unwanted male attention, especially in male-dominated cultures.
Other women say this is “sexist” advice, and is giving in to the image of the “helpless woman.”
Experienced female travelers suggest avoiding unwanted advances simply by remaining silent when approached; not making eye contact and simply moving away from the source of irritation.
Also, remember that what you think is OK to wear at home or for a night out with women friends, can be provocative in other places.
Take your cues from what the local women in the culture wear.
What’s standard dress for them?
Rick Steves has some very good, soft advice for women solo travelers that include keeping up with the political trends of the destination you’re visiting, getting some language skills in place and the kinds of backpacks to carry to avoid theft.
And there are several all-women tour groups offering women only trip and travel, like Well Arranged Travel.
interestingly, women are continuing to chose to travel with other women…and happily leaving their men at home. They say it’s a different kind of travel, and rewarding in different ways. And that the rewards way outweigh the risks.