10 Questions About Female Solo Travel

Thinking of solo traveling but worried about your safety? Many women have traveled around the world alone each year and gotcha, they have ended fine so of course you will be fine too! But hola, just keep in mind some safety precautions, I haven’t got around to writing a comprehensive one but BuzzFeed listed 46 useful tips  and you can check out one important tip I’ve written after traveling the southern part of the Philippines early this year.

While solo traveling empowers every woman and is an amazing experience to see the world at your own pace and itinerary, it can be daunting, amusing and goosebumps inducing at the same time.

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And to assuage your fears and get you off the couch quicker, meet Majoy who have been visiting provinces in the Philippines and several Southeast Asian countries, SOLO. Mind you she has a full-time job, is sending her siblings to school and securing her parents retirement.

She will answer some questions regarding female solo travelers and share experiences that you too might encounter. Consider her answers as a road map in discovering your own journey.

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What are some of your strategies to avoid being in the spotlight while solo traveling?

I don’t think it is a strategy but I blend myself with the locals by being friendly and streetwise. As a woman we have the “instinct”, I usually rely on it and it never failed me yet. If you feel it is not good, it always is not good.

Also, our physique as a Filipina sometimes helps in blending in.

(To learn an important Psychological trick when traveling solo, click here)

How do you deal with loneliness? 

The first time I felt lonely was when I spent my birthday in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was a long tiring day, I just finished the temple tour and I went back to my hostel to get some rest. I was alone in my room (it was the first time I booked a private room, I usually get the dorm type and there) and I felt the suffocating silence.
I was alone and it was my birthday!

So instead of languishing on that emotion, what I did? I went out and had a body massage, visited the night market and had an fun conversation with some locals. From then on I always book at hostels with dorm type accommodations, that way I can chat with my roommates, hear their stories and make friends at the same time.

(To know one of the backpacker friendly island I’ve been, click here)

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What is one thing you know now you’ve wished you knew when u first started traveling?

It is actually simple and funny! BUT I wished I knew before that there are a lot of buses going to NAIA terminal 3 from EDSA and vice versa and that there is no need to spend on cab fare. I usually hire a cab and it is really expensive, not the airport taxi but even the ordinary ones too. Now, what I do is walk outside the airport vicinity and take the public transport.

How were you able to cope on the language barrier?

It is indeed a challenge for countries not fluent in English. I had to exert more effort in communicating and what I did? I learned some of their basic language or I ask the staff or a receptionist at the hostel if he or she is good in English and request him/ her to write all of my questions, directions, locations, etc in their own language. So, when I am out on the streets, I just show it to a local or the driver.

(See also several photos I share on instagram here)

Was there any instance you were harassed or felt in danger?

Thankfully again, none so far but something close to it. I was in Hanoi and this old man wants me to pay him triple than the price of his transport service. I insisted that I not pay him the amount he was asking and we went into a discussion. We even went to the point that I said I am willing to go to the police if he will force me to pay it.
But since I was in another country, I paid him half of what he was asking just to end it.

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Was there any situation in your travels that you were discriminated because you were a woman?

Thankfully, none so far.

What countries or places in the Philippines you can recommend for female solo travel wannabes?

For other countries, I suggest our neighbors like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, go to Sagada, La Union, and El Nido in Palawan. Try those places, its a starter pack!

(To follow Majoy’s travels on instagram, click here)

Do you ever think to yourself, “Shit, what am I doing? Shouldn’t I be investing on a house or something instead of traveling”?

Of course YES, but I believe it all depends on priorities. Travel and investing on properties like buying a house are essential. I try to manage and prioritize what I really want so I got an insurance policy with an investment.

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What was your most memorable experience about kindness on the road? 

I encountered a lot of kindness!
Maybe the most memorable was the first time it happened, in Bangkok. Usually is, day one of solo backpacking/travel lies the real struggle. So, I was looking for my hostel and almost all of the locals didn’t know it or where it is. Some just didn’t want to talk to me because of language barrier. I was already tired and panicky but there was this Thai woman, she’s around 40 who lent me her mobile phone to call my hostel.
It didn’t stop there because she even talked to the receptionist and asked for the directions. She was having a hard time talking to me in English but WOW!, she went out of her way to accompany me to the hostel. She was so kind! Kop kun!

For someone who is planning her first solo travel, what is the most important bit of advice you could give?

RESEARCH!

*****

You would probably find Majoy’s experience helpful but until you try you would never know what will work for you. Like everyone else who had traveled solo, they too were scared, full of doubts and unsure but the experiences, sights and people you meet along the way are all worth it.

There is a world out there waiting for you!

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Drop me a message on facebook and you can ask questions, get answers, meet people, or share your tips on the comment box!

 

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