Time to pack your bags, get, set, go!
Rashmi Gopal Rao, Apr 22 2017, 0:18 IST
FAR & AWAY
Nothing can be as liberating as being able to pack your bags and take off on a trip spontaneously without having to depend and plan around other people’s schedules.
This is precisely one of the reasons why solo travel has taken off in a big way. While it may seem that the solo travel segment is dominated by men, it is indeed a revelation to note that this growing market is actually fuelled by the increasing number of women, whether young, old, single or married who are indulging in solo travel like never before.
The primary reason for this is the growing independence, income levels and spending power of women. Women today are no longer satisfied being only “career women” or “stay-at-home mom”, they are game to explore and do much more. Improved transport, ease of access to various destinations, convenient booking options and better security conditions have only made solo women travel easier.
The convenience and flexibility associated with solo travel for women is definitely a huge advantage. When travelling alone, you need not work your schedule around that of others. This eliminates the never-ending coordination issues that is normally associated with group travel, and makes planning that much more simple.
Also, travelling together as family usually involves braving the banes of the peak season, as you more often than not, have to plan outings during the holiday season. Travelling alone gives you the flexibility of planning your vacation in the off-season, while making the most of the deals on tickets, accommodation and sightseeing.
Another big advantage of travelling solo is the fact that you can accomplish exactly what you want on a vacation. Remember the number of times you had to sacrifice the visit to your favourite museum or shopping arcade as the children wanted to do the adventure rides? More often than not, women are the first to let go of their preferences when it comes to activities during travel. This is notwithstanding the pain of dealing with differences of opinion and decision making. With solo travel, you have your priorities right and the liberty to follow them!
Apart from these, solo travel for women is a wonderful opportunity to discover their inner selves and step out of their comfort zone. It is a great confidence booster and helps you do things you never attempted before.
While solo travel definitely has its positives, there are a few factors women need to be careful about. Security is, of course, the prime concern and the importance of
being alert and vigilant to your surroundings cannot be emphasised enough. Many a time, you are bound to attract unwanted attention, making you vulnerable. The safety factor that is present when you travel in a group is absent in solo travel and hence ensuring that you remain safe is only your responsibility.
Travelling solo, especially on long trips, can get lonely and with no one to share moments and memories can leave you homesick. Falling sick or meeting with untoward incidents can turn your vacation into a nightmare if you are travelling alone. Minor issues like no one to watch your luggage while you go to the restroom or share your workload on a trip are something you need to deal with while travelling solo.
Some useful tips
Always keep scanned copies of your vital documents including passport and
insurance. Mail them to yourself or a family member. Ensure that you always take insurance from a reliable company so that you are covered in case of theft or any losses.
In case it is your first solo trip, avoid truly offbeat/‘non-touristy’ destinations till you get a feel and experience of travelling alone. Nevertheless, before venturing out anywhere, ensure that you do a thorough research on your destination in terms of the local culture, customs and traditions. For example, you may need to dress
appropriately in countries that are more conservative than others.
Plan thoroughly and take care to carry all the essentials like sufficient cash, maps, emergency medicines, important phone numbers etc.
Try to ensure that you never reach a new destination in the dead of the night. Always use public transport wherever available and reliable.
Trust your instincts and gut feeling. If you do not feel good or safe about say, the hotel you have booked, or the taxi driver, avoid them. You may lose some time or your plans may go slightly awry, but it is not worth taking such risks. So, plan for such contingencies and have a plan B as far as possible.
With a little caution and a lot of confidence, solo travel can prove to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in your life. So, ladies, go ahead and try it — it will sure grow on you and leave you addicted!