There has been an enormous influx of solo female travel bloggers during the past few years.
You can find them peppered across the web easily. A quick Google search of “female travel blog” will conjure up a plethora of lists of top bloggers to follow, travel tips, and packing advice all aimed at women. However, most of these sites ignore the fact that quite frankly, women have it a lot easier trekking the world alone than men in several aspects.
To be clear, women do almost inarguable undergo more risk than men when traveling alone. We have to worry about our drinks at the bar and walking alone at night and if our clothes are ‘right’ for whatever place we’re in. (Though, to be completely frank, most of us worry about this at home too.) Additionally, there are a lot of places where it remains very, very tough to have been born without a Y chromosome, and thus peril is higher while freedoms are lower for even those of us just visiting.
I myself am a solo female traveler (most of the time) and have had the idea that women have it easier than men in a lot of ways reinforced several times throughout my journeys.
To do my best to convince you, here’s a list of reasons why us girls have it easier than the lads.
1. People will help you out more.
There’s something to be said for the old damsel in distress trope – people still believe it, and help women out a lot more than they help men. From getting directions from locals to random, chivalry-is-not-dead men who insist carrying bags up and down stairs, ladies definitely have an advantage here.
The men I’ve met and seen who are also traveling alone almost never get helped out, unless they very explicitly and politely ask for it. The stereotype of self-sufficient men who need nobody’s help makes it much harder for them to get it when needed.
2. You’re more likely to get accepted on sites such as CouchSurfing
CouchSurfing and other similar sites set visitors up with a host to whatever place they’re visiting. The host then allows the aforementioned guest to crash on their couch (or whatever) for free. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is much easier for a woman to send out a request and get accepted than it is for a man (And, vice-versa, it’s easier for women to host.)
Even though (nearly) everyone I’ve met off of CouchSurfing has been a fantastic, interesting individual, regardless of gender, I tend to scout out my fellow women as hosts first. Almost every other solo female traveler I’ve met does the same. There are too many whispered horror stories about what happened to girls traveling alone who made the wrong choice floating around, and staying with a woman just plain feels safer to most of us. Which leads me to my next point:
3. Women look out for other women
For all of the mean-girl stereotypes surrounding women, female travelers are actually the greatest for looking out for each other. For the large part, we know we run a higher risk traveling, especially when alone.
One night while staying in a hostel on a solo trip, I had to make a run to the ATM. I asked the woman working at the counter where I could find one nearby. She started to give me directions, then told me she was worried about me walking alone at night. She called over a guy who worked at the hostel and made him walk me to the bank, even though it was only a couple of blocks away.
I’ve had countless instances like this. I’ve had girls in bars warn me away from particular men, women coming up to me if I look uncomfortable talking to someone to make sure I’m okay, old ladies making sure I’m safe. And I do the same for other women. We keep each other. We know it’s a dangerous world out there for us females, and damn it, we have each others’ backs.
It doesn’t seem to me that men have this same, unspoken support system, but then again, it’s perhaps because their risk runs much less than ours.
4. There are special women-only perks
We all know some “women perks “from back home (Ladies Night, anybody?), which do little to alleviate from the misogynistic bullshit such as the tampon tax, but we take it where we can get it.
Travel is similar – we take what we can get.
All over the world, there are hostels with women-only dorm rooms which do not offer male-only rooms. (I have yet to see the inverse). In places like Japan and Malaysia, there are special women-only carriages on trains. Here in Korea – and scattered throughout Asia – there are women-only parking spaces located closer to doors and exits.
Of course, the measures listed above were implemented not out of ‘perks’ but rather to keep women safe from crime and harassment. However, during travel these options don’t always exist for men, leaving them more vulnerable to crimes targeting tourists – which are all too common in areas like crowded subway cars.
5. It’s easier to meet people
I can easily approach people when I travel alone, and part of this is definitely due to my gender. I’m neither threatening, nor do I seem to be hitting on people, nor am I seen as a dreaded “creeper.” Instead, I get to simply be a woman alone.
I was sitting at an outdoor breakfast cafe once in Georgetown, Malaysia when I noticed a girl about my age waiting for a table. Like me, she was alone, so I waved her over. We learned that the two of us had similar plans for our days, so we spent the day together sharing both Ubers and experiences.
I’ve done this plenty of times – met other travelers and spent wonderful occasions with them. Many of the other female travelers I’ve talked to have had similar experiences – we meet people easily and then part ways.
What are some of your travel experiences? Do you think that your gender has shaped these experiences at all? How fortunate do you feel to be a whatever gender you are while traveling? Share in the comments!