Home » Type of Travel » Women Traveling

Women have always traveled and are traveling now more than ever. Still, some women receive less than favorable feedback at the mention of travel plans. This can’t be true, can it? Well, let me share real conversations endured by me, my friends, and former clients over the years:

Women Traveling Solo

  • “Why are you going alone? You couldn’t you find someone to go with you?”
  • “Why WOULD you choose to travel alone. Are you that difficult to get along with?”
  • “Can’t you find a man/woman to settle down with?”
  • “You should put your money into a mortgage instead of vacations. It’s time to grow up and settle down.”

Women Without Children

  • “When are you going to put your trips on hold and start having kids? You’re not getting any younger.” This was from a former doctor of mine.
  • “Why would you prioritize travel over having children? Isn’t that kind of selfish?”

Gay Women Traveling

Thirty years ago, as a travel agent, I had clients in the LGBTQI+ community inquire about gay-friendly destinations, expecting me to give only a handful of suggestions. Sadly, some were a bit sheepish about their travel planning due to fears expressed from their loved ones. Obviously, you can’t fault their friends and family members for looking out but sometimes those good intentions created self-doubt in my clients, something someone traveling solo might experience anyway. It only adds to your doubt if you feel targeted for discrimination. Thankfully, my clients and I always worked together so I could create a variety of gay-friendly options from tropical locales to cruises, tours, and trips of a lifetime.

I did my homework on every destination for the safety of my clients. That’s the job of a good travel planner. Consequently, looking up the dangers of the world became habit, because hell, I was running around the world by myself as well. That doesn’t mean that as travelers we can go anywhere with a false sense of security. I’ve always advised that no matter who you are or how many are in your party, solo or with a group, research the social climate on the destination you’re interested in. Not just for information on safety but doing a deep dive on your destination may enhance your experience. That said, there are destinations in the world where safety is a heightened concern for the LGBTQI+ community. The world is…what it is, but knowledge is power. When you have the facts, you can make decisions and weigh your options based on information and possibilities instead of fear.

Here’s a good place to start: U.S. Department of State: LGBTQI+ Travel Advisories

More on Safety

Of course, safety is the ultimate concern for women traveling, alone or with others. No matter who you are, a young woman planning their first overseas trip, or a seasoned traveler, gay, straight, solo, or with others, research your destination. As mentioned before, check the social climate, read reviews, and always check the U.S. State Department website. There are real world issues and challenges we face as travelers and we have to be honest with ourselves about those challenges. The more you plan on the front end, the more you can lean in to your trip when you arrive. For wandering women going off the grid, take maps, books, and non-electronic trip-planning items. Research and common sense will be reliable guides you can count on throughout your traveling life. There are ways to make your trips happen safely. Believe me, your efforts will pay off.

I’ve traveled solo for years. I know what it’s like to have nerves and excitement about planning a solo trip with people in my ear questioning my judgement for going on my own. I traveled through Italy for 3 months on my own and it was a life-changing trip. Had I listened to “reason” I would have lost out on that experience. It taught me to trust myself and my ability to make good decisions for myself, and listen to my intuition moving forward. It was only one of many solo trips I’ve taken in my life and I hope everyone gets to experience that growth, no matter where you are in your personal journey.

More Wandering Women

Let me share more real wandering women with you:

  • My client who took a tour on her 39th birthday to Australia. She was reserved and nervous about traveling “alone” even though she was going on a tour with 40 other people. She came back glowing, excited about seeing koala bears up close and the new friendships she made.
  • My friend who regularly packs a sleeping bag, a Crocodile Dundee-sized knife, and travels alone off the grid. She has been to Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, New Mexico, just to name a few.
  • A family member, who just traveled to Jordan solo. She joined a tour once she arrived and had a trip of a lifetime.

Wandering women have existed throughout the ages but traveling hasn’t always been possible for all women all of the time. Some parts of the world (including the U.S.) will always require extra effort and research about safety, social norms, and how best to navigate all of that. That said, thankfully, there is plenty of evidence showing a diversity of women traveling. Travel possibilities are available to us wandering women of all ethnicities, ages, sizes, gender identities, and economic status. When I couldn’t afford to take a trip, I would visit museums on free or discounted days to at least get a mental escape. Travel is no longer an exclusive concept. It can be a positive experience for women, the people in their lives, and those they are visiting around the world. Let’s stay informed, stay engaged, and participate in this life!