Traveling solo has become a trend that many women are adapting to and loving! Since 2018, searches for “solo female travel” have increased by 600%.
My first time traveling solo was to study abroad in Germany and I will never forget the experience. Especially since I drank too much before my flight and had a hangover when I landed.
And this was also the first time a man approached me and mentioned wanting to “try his first black girl”. But that’s besides the point.
It’s easy to follow trends and want to do what other people are doing. Social media constantly shows us what other people have, and why we should want those things too. But..
Before you jump on a plane by yourself to travel across the world because of a trend, you need to know some of the pros and cons to embarking on this life-changing experience.
Don’t worry, all the cons are things you can overcome with a little research and mental preparation.
- Self Discovery
Statistics show that most women who travel solo are looking to find themselves. I can say that this was partially true for me too. All the alone time I get from traveling solo helps open my mind to reconsider everything I think is “correct”. Entering a new culture and experiencing it alone can also help you realize and re-evaluate your own beliefs and culture. You might notice that the way you’ve been living doesn’t quite align with your truest self, and there’s no better time to affirm what you really value than when you’re alone in an unknown, unfamiliar place.
There’s something about having the ability to do what you want, when you want and how you want during a vacation that makes you want to keep traveling solo. Not because you don’t love and enjoy the company of your loved ones, but because you experience a level of freedom that you didn’t know you would love even more. Solo travel takes away the stress of being on time to group activities or guided tours, you can do your own thing on your own time.
I met some of the sweetest people during my solo travels and it’s usually other people who are solo traveling. Based on my experience, being a woman and being alone makes other people intrigued to know how you're so confident being by yourself, especially if locals can tell you’re not from the area (it’s usually a compliment when they think this). I found that I’m open and willing to talk to new people when I’m traveling alone, if for any reason than to hear about their stories and where they’ve been.
A large part of the world still operates off beliefs and social constructs that were created during the colonization of Africa. So this affects how old world countries (especially in Europe) see people of African descent. Stares, pointing and scrunched faces are just a few things you might experience as a
solo black woman traveling in a predominately white country. They might even take your picture, but all this is harmless. The best way to avoid any serious race situations is to stay in populated cities and do your research on immigration laws of the country so you can get a good idea of how they treat foreigners.
The level of Women’s Rights in the U.S. does not exist at every corner of the world.You might feel uncomfortable in more conservative countries because of how they treat women and expect them to act. Do plenty of research before you visit a country to check for gender norms so that you don’t end up in an uncomfortable or harassment situation due to not following cultural norms.
Take these pros and cons with a grain of salt - because everyone is different, but let this information fuel your decision making on your next trip.
Comment below if this helped you gain some perspective on solo travel as a young black woman, or a person in general.