Are you itching to go away and take an adventurous holiday? Do you need some time to self-reflect and dance to your own beat? Are you finding it hard to co-ordinate travel itinerary with family and friends? If your answer to these questions is a unanimous 'yes', then why not follow the increasing UK trend, rent a car and take your next trip solo?
In research done in the UK , it was found that over one half of UK travelers prefer to travel alone:
According to research carried out by Leger Holidays, half of UK holidaymakers surveyed would to go on holiday alone, regardless of their relationship status...The research also found that individual travellers opt for short-haul holidays, with 34 per cent staying in the UK and 42 per cent venturing to Europe.
Women are less likely however to travel by themselves when compared to their male counterparts. It's a no brainer that for women, safety and security have to be taken seriously. That being said, there is absolutely no reason why women should not have the opportunity to pack a knapsack, rent a car and enjoy the freedom and possibility that riding solo can offer.
In her article Ten Tips for Traveling Alone Christine Sarkis offers valuable advice for women who want to venture out by themselves. The ones that I believe to be absolutely imperative are listed below. I have also added some of my own suggestions. They may seem obvious but take a quick run through these before you leave on your next solo trip.
- Use common Sense - Simply use your brain and do not enter into compromising situations (don't walk around alone late at night, take a cell phone, etc.) (Sarkis).
- Exude Confidence - Look like you know where you are going and know what you want. Take a map and plan out where you want to go (Sarkis). It is much more likely to be taken advantage of when you look lost.
- Know when to buddy up - You may have hit the road on your own but that does not mean that you have to do absolutely everything by yourself. If you are feeling vulnerable there is no reason why you cannot join forces with another friendly person or couple to escort you from a hotel to a restaurant or down a quiet street (Sarkis). When I was in Paris and frequently riding the Metro, I would always try to tag along behind students or other 'professional' people until I made it up the escalator to the street.
- Arrive during the day- Try not to get to hotels or hostels when it's dark out. When it's light, you are better able to get your bearings and to feel more visible (Sarkis).
- Dress Appropriately (Sarkis) - I learned this one the hard way. When in Jerusalem, I was out with some friends and while I was wearing a long skirt, I had on a tank top. I had to go to a medical clinic which was, unbeknownst to me, in a religous neighbourhood. I got some pretty nasty stares and received harsh loud comments from the locals. While my physical safety was not in jeopardy, it was an extremely uncomfortable position in which to be and the verbal attack was horrible.
- Don't be afraid to scream - If you find yourself in an uncomfortable position use your voice and draw attention to yourself. Let others know that you are there and that you may need assistance.
- Take a whistle - Keep a handy whistle in your pocket or even wear one around your neck. Don't think twice about making lots of noise if you need help.
There is no reason why women should not be able to travel alone. If you take precaution, do your research and plan properly, the world is your oyster - an oyster you can enjoy all by yourself!