Exploring the world is probably one of the most empowering experiences someone can take on. While we totally believe in gender equality, we do realize that there are a few unique experiences women travelers share that men might not understand, some negative, some positive. Curious to learn more? Here’s a sneak peek at the fascinating and complex world of women with backpacks.
Women attract attention wherever we go, but that is even more true when it comes to solo travelers. In many places, a solo female traveler is nothing to write home about, but in some of the more traditional parts of the world, the very idea of a woman making decisions and spending time on her own might raise a few eyebrows. Female travelers may find themselves having to answer many questions by curious locals who are surprised to witness a different approach.
While being singled out might get a bit uncomfortable at times, it really shouldn’t create much of a problem, for three main reasons: first, visiting new places is a bold move, and standing out in the crowd only makes you bolder, which is great.
Second, meeting locals and introducing ourselves to the local culture is such an important part of traveling, and so realizing that women are perceived a certain way in other regions is part of the deal; and third, bringing new and important ideas and spreading them as we go can be our gift to the place we visit, just as long as we make sure to do so in a sensitive way and without patronizing the local population.
A great way of choosing your destination is to seek recommendations from experienced travelers. Here’s a wonderful article by Adventurous Kate, recommending Thailand as an easy and safe destination for solo female travelers. Thanks, Kate!
A safe trip
Every traveler, regardless of their gender, should remain alert. Some cultures still fall behind on women’s rights, which might be evident in the level of harassment women experience when visiting these countries.
Over the past few years, anti-harassment campaigns have been fighting this upsetting phenomenon and we hope to see things change for the better. Until they do, travelers are often warned before reaching certain areas and unfortunately even choose to refrain from attending some events.
Luckily for us, there are plenty of places to visit that are perfectly safe and comfortable while remaining adventurous and fascinating. You’ll find great recommendations and tips here (did you know that Singapore and Indonesia can be some of the easiest destinations to visit?), as well as on many other blogs, including this one. Another way of feeling more comfortable about your trip is to use innovative tools and platforms that offer travel tips, remote booking options, and more.
A new sense of femininity
Every trip calls for a change in our routine, and for some women, this means leaving behind a lot of the traditional definitions of beauty and self-care. Women travelers often embrace their natural look, choose comfort over appearance and loving it.
This is especially true for those who enjoy hiking and camping as part of their experience and carry every bit of equipment on their backs, but every traveler must make tough choices when creating their packing checklist (blogger Stefania Guglielmi shared her Thailand packing list and it is particularly inspirational).
When you think about it, this change is an incredibly positive one. It allows women to see themselves at their most beautiful and natural form. We sometimes need to step away from all the cosmetics and rules to learn that true beauty comes from within. During the trip, we are at our happiest and this joyous feeling shines through even without a drop of make-up.
The power of sisterhood
Discovering the blessing of the traveling sisterhood is another exciting experience for women travelers. Perhaps that is why there are countless websites created by female travelers, for female travelers, sharing tips and stories. Trips are a wonderful opportunity to bond with women from across the globe, support one another and be supported.
Some companies create trips that are dedicated to women’s groups, sometimes focusing on specific segments, such as new moms with their babies. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should all welcome with a smile every person of any gender, but it helps to find a companion you feel perfectly comfortable around.
Knowing you can do anything
Going on a trip can be a truly meaningful experience that teaches us how small and great we are at the same time. If you were raised to be a “good girl” and follow the rules, a little time away can do the trick and teach you to make your own rules.
In Alex Borstein’s Emmy acceptance speech, she encouraged women to do their own thing by saying “Step out of line, ladies, step out of line!” and I couldn’t agree more. Step out of line, get on a plane and take on the world.