Travelling Solo - What to Keep in Mind
Solo travelling has become a common phenomenon, and according to FaceBook’s measures, solo travelling is of more interest to women than men. Travelling by yourself can be an amazing, lifechanging experience. The challenge will give you strength, confidence and memories that no one can ever take away from you.
Your solo travels will give you freedom to find and express yourself in new ways and to explore your interests in your own time. It will give you the time to explore without judgement and without limitations or expectations from your own culture. This article is written, not to warn you or scare you from choosing to be a solo female traveller, but to provide you with a few guidelines to give you the best possible experience and make your trip a safe one.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Always keep in mind what you would feel safe doing in your own country. Being a solo traveller might give a feeling of extreme freedom; enjoy this feeling, but don’t get carried away. Remember basic safety precautions such as not walking alone, especially when it is dark. Also, always use registered taxis (have your accommodation call them for you), or an app like Uber or EasyTaxi. You can also usually ask for a female dorm room if this is in your interest.
Remember that pick pocketing can happen in every country. However, it might be more frequent in the country you are visiting, so keep your belongings safe. Some hostels/hotels offer a pick-up service at the airport which can be comforting as you arrive in a foreign country. Moreover, do your research before you arrive. Learn what accommodations, restaurants, markets, and guided tours other travellers recommend.
A Helping Hand
Being a female traveller can have its perks. You might be asked if you need help as you are looking for something in the street. Whether you like it or not, you might be offered help to carry your suitcase up the stairs. Also, as a solo female traveller, people will more often offer you a helping hand if you at any point where you find yourself in need. It is OK to accept this help, but keep your boundaries clear in any situation. It might be helpful to go through possible scenarios in your mind before hand, so you will know how to react and how to respond before you are actually in the situation.
Although people in many places are used to a flow of tourists coming through their hometown, being a foreigner will still lead to extra attention. Be aware that people will approach you more often and in a different way than what you are used to. This might be to sell you something or to connect with you. They might be very fascinated by the country you are from or by the colour of your hair. Although it is flattering, remember two things: 1. This scenario has taken place with many people before you. 2. Your boundaries should always be respected.
Volunteering As a Solo Female Traveller
Volunteering is a great way to spend you time abroad as a solo traveller or start your solo trip. You will be able to get comfortable with the area in a safe environment before continuing on your own. Volunteer organisations might have housing provided and a pick-up service. Moreover, you will often be surrounded by other volunteers, and your volunteer work will fill your days as you figure out your next step. However, be critical when it comes to the organisation you choose. Indeed, they might not always have the community or the volunteer’s best interest at heart.
If you are still hesitating, Emma, one of our volunteer at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary, might convince you: "My main concern before starting at the project was being a solo female traveller, but as soon as I arrived, this was a distant memory, as most of the volunteers were also travelling alone, and I felt completely safe. I ended up meeting some amazing new friends from all over the world, and we are even planning another trip next year together!".
Top Three Places for Solo Female Volunteers!
Globalteer can arrange pick up services with all our volunteer programs. We also know our partner programs well and guarantee a safe experience for all volunteers. These are our three top places to recommend for female solo travellers:
In Cusco we have our main office as well as a volunteer house. You have the option to live in our volunteer house where you have access to a kitchen, shared bathroom, a safe place to hang out, organised gatherings and can get to know other volunteers. Our volunteer coordinator will greet you at the airport and take you to your accommodation, give you a city tour and go with you to the project on your first day of volunteering.
We have three programmes to choose from in Cusco: the Horse Sanctuary, our Community Project working with children, and the Dog Shelter. Cusco is a beautiful city, located in the Peruvian Andes. You can make your way through the city easily by walking or taking a bus or a cheap taxi. This is also the gateway to visit Machu Pichhu and Rainbow Mountains, as well as other amazing hiking areas including the Sacred Valley. In Cusco you will find a great variety of food for everyone, from meat lovers, to fish lovers, to vegans. You will find markets with food, textiles or clothes, sacred sites, as well as a lively nightlife with a great variety of bars or live music every day of the week.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
In Siem Reap, we have our Asia regional office, as well as a volunteer house. We have a volunteer coordinator too, who will meet you at the airport, take you to your accommodation, show you the city and the location of your chosen volunteer programme. In Siem Reap you can volunteer with children at the Cambodia Community Project, the Clean Water Project, the Food and Farming Project or the Women’s Empowerment Project. It is also possible to choose a combination and experience multiple projects.
In Siem Reap you will find the famous Angkor Wat temple, as well as amazing food and original art. This is a colourful and lively city, with several areas to explore. If you are interested in nightlife, this is available every day of the week, as well as day-time activities such as bike tours, ATV tours, yoga and spa treatments.
Phetchaburi Province, Thailand
Phetchaburi province is located 160 km south of Bangkok. Here you will find our Elephant Sanctuary and our Wildlife Sanctuary. These are two of our most popular programs, located at the same place. They provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded travellers, and you are guaranteed to be surrounded by other volunteers any time of the year. Volunteers stay in shared bungalows on site, divided into male and female dorms. You will also find a bar, a kitchen and a place to hangout. We also offer pick up for our volunteers at the airport in Bangkok to guarantee your safe arrival.
The sanctuary is located in a beautiful national park. 40 minutes away by car you will find the beautiful beach in Cha Am with bars and restaurants. You will find it very easy to find your way and travel through Thailand and discover different areas of this great country. People are helpful and there are several options for travel, such as bus, train, taxi or even cheap domestic planes for longer distances.
Travel and Volunteer as a Solo Female
As a solo traveller, you will have the journey of a lifetime. It will be an adventure and an unforgettable experience. Keep safe, and most importantly, enjoy every moment. You are welcome to contact us at any time for questions about volunteering. We hope to see you soon at one of our projects!