Woman looking to the right with Morocco scenery in the background

7 Things Women Are Sick of Hearing When They Travel Solo

It’s Women’s History Month — AKA the perfect time to celebrate independent female travellers (and commiserate about all the archaic questions we never want to hear again).

Although it’s been nearly a decade since I set off on my first solo trip, I still find myself answering the same tiresome questions whenever I travel alone:

“Who are you travelling with?”

“Are you sure it’s safe?”

“What if something bad happens?”

Listen, I get it: most people are concerned or downright baffled by the notion that a woman would willingly choose to head out into the big, bad world all by her lonesome, but after ten years of repeating the same answers to the same questions, I’ll be the first to admit: it’s starting to get really old.

More and more women are choosing to gallivant around the globe alone, but until the day comes when we can stop having the same monotonous conversations about solo female travel, here are seven questions I don’t ever want to hear again (along with my ever-so-slightly snarky answers for each).

Woman running down a dirt road with cactus on either side and mountains in the distance
Running away from your questions like… | © Taryn Elliott/Pexels

1. “When are you going to stop travelling and settle down?”

Let me guess — what you’re really wanting to say is: Why don’t you have a husband, a house with a white picket fence, and 2.5 kids, right?

Newsflash: I don’t want to “settle down” — I don’t want to settle for anything, actually. 

Yes, I want to have some semblance of stability and a place to call home, but I also want adventure and spontaneity and the freedom to travel as often as I please.

Maybe one day I’ll get married and buy a house, but the American Dream isn’t my dream.

Woman wearing a floppy hat standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
My reaction whenever someone asks, “When are you going to settle down?” | © Atikh Bana/Unsplash

2. “You shouldn’t travel to [insert country] right now. It’s not safe.”

Turkey, India, Bosnia, France — I’ve lost count of all the times someone told me not to travel to that country because “it’s not safe right now.”

I realise these types of comments come from a place of genuine concern, but — more often than not — they’re also rooted in ignorance and misinformation.  

Unless you’ve recently travelled to the country in question or you’re getting your information from somewhere other than a ten-second clip on CNN, I’m going to take your “advice” with a massive grain of salt.

Woman sitting at the top of a mountain overlooking scenic lookout
Thank you for the unsolicited advice about a place you’ve never been… | © Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash

3. “You’re so brave.”

Why is it that a woman travelling alone is automatically labelled as “brave”? Are people going around telling men they’re brave for travelling solo? 

The reality is this: I’m not brave for travelling the world on my own — I’m brave for choosing to step out of my comfort zone, challenge societal expectations, and act on that innate longing to see the world, despite feeling fearful at the thought of it all.

Woman standing with her back facing camera on a lookout point in Athens, Greece
Always thinking about how brave I am for travelling the world alone as a woman | © Semina Psichogiopoulou/Unsplash

4. “Why would you go there?”

When I announced my upcoming travel plans to India back in 2015, one of my friends replied with: “India? Why don’t you go somewhere like Italy instead?” 

“Somewhere like Italy” — what’s that supposed to mean, exactly? Somewhere that’s “safe”? Somewhere you’d feel comfortable travelling? 

Thank you kindly for your utterly useless suggestion. I booked a trip to India because — shocker! — I want to go to India.

Woman walking down a walkway with traffic on either side in Brazil
Please tell me more about where you think I should travel | © Guilherme Stecanella/Unsplash

5. “Isn’t it dangerous for women to travel on their own?”

The short answer is no. Despite what the fear-mongering media would have us believe, I’m a firm believer that, with the appropriate planning, preparation, and precautions, it’s safe for women to travel solo just about anywhere in the world.

Bad things can happen anywhere and everywhere — “safe” countries and your hometown included.

Woman posing with a hat in front of her face with Santorini scenery in the background
You can’t tell, but I’m rolling my eyes so hard right now | © Julian Paul/Unsplash

6. “Aren’t you scared of being robbed/attacked/assaulted?”

As a matter of fact, yes, I’m afraid of all of those scenarios. It’s something that’s on my mind all the time as a woman — not just when I travel.

It doesn’t matter if I’m walking down the street in Quito or London, Bangkok or at home in Toronto, I’m always hyper-aware of my surroundings and on the lookout for any potential threats.

I always take the necessary precautions and prioritise my safety on the road, but I will never let fear stop me from travelling.

Woman looking to the right with Morocco scenery in the background
The face of someone who’s just been asked, “Where’s your boyfriend?” | © Riccardo Mion/Unsplash

7. “Why are you travelling alone?”

Ah yes, this one might just be my favourite question of all (please note the sarcasm), because no matter how you answer, you just can’t win.

Travelling solo as a single woman? Then you must be a friendless spinster who’s running away from the real world.

Travelling solo while in a relationship? There must be trouble in paradise — why else would your boyfriend/husband let you travel alone?

Believe it or not, when women travel on their own, it’s not because they didn’t have someone to go with, or because their boyfriend was too busy working — it’s because — wait for it — some of us actually enjoy the freedom and liberation that comes with a solo trip.

Silhouette of a woman at the shoreline of a beach at sunset
Yes, I love travelling alone and no, I’m not crazy — thank you for asking. | © dc20462/Pixabay

If you’re about to head off on a solo adventure, don’t let these types of questions dissuade you from exploring the world! Joining a group tour is a great way to dip your toes into the world of solo travel and silence those naysayers.

Ashley is a Content Editor at TourRadar. When she’s not writing, travelling, or obsessively checking flight prices on Skyscanner, you can find her attempting to fine-tune her photography skills or watching a shark documentary.

Two women posing infront of beautiful landscapes in Indonesia
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