As South Africa observes Women’s Month, the spotlight shines on a travel trend that has gained prominence largely among women: solo travel.
The statistics for female solo travel in 2022 disclosed that a notable 84% of individuals journeying alone were women, affirming their dominant role as trailblazers in the realm of independent exploration.
Setting forth on solitary journeys is exhilarating and liberating, allowing individuals to venture into novel landscapes, connect with unfamiliar faces and uncover more about their own selves.
This expedition presents an avenue for independence and self-reliance, all while immersing in assorted cultures. Still, and particularly for female explorers, the prospect of solo travel can evoke apprehension due to its multitude of concerns and considerations.
In the year 2022, the Female Solo Travel Statistics revealed that an overwhelming 84% of solo travellers worldwide were, indeed, women, showcasing their continuing prominence as pioneers of independent voyages.
According to Sadudee Sangnil, the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in London, this substantial percentage of solo female travellers underscores the significance of women arming themselves with the requisite knowledge about solo travel, serving as crucial preparation before embarking on such expeditions.
‘Solo travelling as a woman means having to leave your comfort zone, which can be both thrilling and intimidating at the same time – especially for first-time female travellers. Doing enough research builds confidence in your decisions, it helps you trust your instincts even more while embracing the opportunities that come with exploring the world.’
She adds that when you travel alone, you become responsible for so many things, such as your own safety, wellbeing and enjoyment, which can be very empowering.
Sadudee recognises the strength, courage and independence of solo female travellers worldwide and is pleased to offer five useful tips to empower women to travel confidently and safely.
Research and plan ahead
Knowledge is key when it comes to solo travel. Taking time before departure to investigate the places and standards of your destination isn’t just fascinating but significant. That involves creating an itinerary that includes a list of the best place to visit as a solo traveller, important contact information, addresses and emergency numbers to ensure you are well prepared.
Understand the local culture
The biggest undertaking before any trip should be understanding the local customs and cultural norms of any country you will be visiting. Often people offend locals or run into trouble for not acting appropriately. For example, Thailand is a religious country with many religious sites which require people not to expose too much skin; it is, therefore, important to be aware of information like this as solo travellers may be visiting all these for the first time.
Know how to get around
The best part about travelling is that you want to move around but it is important to understand how local public transportation works, for your own peace of mind and safety. Countries like Thailand are well set up for solo travel, and it is fairly easy to get around using hotel transfers, internal flights, tuk-tuks, boats and cabs.
Join activities and excursions
Participating in organised group tours and activities can be an excellent and safe way to meet like-minded travellers and other solo travellers too. Activities like island hopping in Phi Phi Islands in Thailand are generally a full-day experience and involve snorkelling, swimming, trying out the popular longtail boat and Thai food among other things. Additionally, many tour operators offer female-friendly experiences in Thailand as they understand that women often have different needs or expectations when they travel.
Relax and enjoy
Solo female travel provides the ultimate sense of independence as it empowers you to overcome any challenges that lie in your path without assistance, enhancing your self-worth and mental stability. Travelling is a special life experience as it allows you to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. Allow yourself to unwind and appreciate various experiences such as culture, unique cuisine, lifestyle, people and many more.