4 reasons to choose a reverse ski weekend

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/09/22/4-reasons-to-choose-a-reverse-ski-weekend/

Taking a ‘reverse ski weekend’ is a great way to enjoy some of the most luxurious hotels, chalets and activities in ski resorts at a more affordable price. A reverse ski weekend is different from a ‘regular’ ski weekend because instead of travelling on the usual days – out on a Thursday and back on […]

4 reasons to choose a reverse ski weekend is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 4 reasons to choose a reverse ski weekend appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/09/22/4-reasons-to-choose-a-reverse-ski-weekend/

Taking a ‘reverse ski weekend’ is a great way to enjoy some of the most luxurious hotels, chalets and activities in ski resorts at a more affordable price. A reverse ski weekend is different from a ‘regular’ ski weekend because instead of travelling on the usual days – out on a Thursday and back on […]

4 reasons to choose a reverse ski weekend is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 4 reasons to choose a reverse ski weekend appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Lesbian Travel: 4 Things To Know

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/lesbian-travel-4-things-to-know/

two women together on beach
I’ve added an LGBT column for the website to make the site more inclusive and talk about issues that affect some members of our travel community. In this column, we will hear from voices in the LGBT community about their experiences on the road, safety tips, events, and overall advice for other LGBT travelers to get the most out of their time on the road! This month, Dani from Globetrottergirls is discussing lesbian travel. 

While sitting at the rooftop pool of my hotel and sharing beers with other travelers over sunset, the ever-dreaded question comes up: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Here we go again, I think to myself, another coming out.

Though I’ve had this conversation hundreds of times, the words “I’m gay” still don’t come easily, especially because I never know what reaction to it will be.

Will the situation get awkward? Will someone make a homophobic comment?

It’s never a simple affair. Instead, it usually results in a number of questions where I feel like I’m the ambassador of all things lesbian — scissoring, dildos, and why some women choose an androgynous look – to a group of strangers I just met.

Like gay travel, lesbian travel presents its own set of challenges.

If you are a femme lesbian or couple, it isn’t much different from solo female travel. Nobody is looking at you funny, and you don’t need to feel particularly threatened in one of the 76 countries where homosexuality is not legal (in 10 of which it is punishable by death) — because nobody knows you’re a lesbian. When traveling with a feminine girl, it is usually more likely that we’ll get asked if we are sisters than lovers.

However, if you are a butch lesbian, it’s a completely different story. It’s much more obvious that you are gay, and you can’t hide your sexuality. If you are a femme/butch couple or butch/butch couple, it is nearly impossible to hide your sexual orientation, or the fact that you are a couple, even if you keep the PDAs to a minimum. You’ll definitely notice the looks of other people.

“Don’t assume everyone sees you the way you see yourself. Most people will see you based on the stereotypes they were raised with. Your butch appearance is a clear sign to many people in the U.S. that you’re a lesbian. In other countries, especially non-Western ones, you might just be stereotyped to being ‘a woman with short hair.’ I’ve been mistaken for a man many times before, but most (if not all of those times), they’re the ones that are embarrassed about it,” says Mindy Postoff, who writes the lesbian travel blog Bounding Over Our Steps with her wife Ligeia.

For butch-looking lesbians traveling for the first time, she recommends: “If you’ve caught the travel bug, then go to places that have similar societal norms as your own. Go to places where same-sex marriage is legal and pride events are big celebrations.”

So, if you’re a lesbian about to head out on the road, here are some important things to know beforehand:

replicating famous kissing statue

It’s harder to meet lesbians and find travel companies that cater to lesbians

There are many more hotels, resorts, cruises, and organized tours that cater to gay men. Sure, there are some tour operators who specialize in lesbian travel (such as Olivia), there is the occasional lesbian cruise, and there are some lesbian-owned B&Bs and hotels, but they are few and far between. (In my experience they also tend to cater to lesbian couples and older lesbians, leaving out younger girls who are looking to meet other single girls their age on vacation.)

Most big cities also have at least one gay bar, whereas there are fewer and fewer lesbian bars. Even on a recent visit to Berlin, a major gay hotspot, I struggled to find a lesbian party on a Friday night because the popular girls’ night only takes place every other Friday.

If you are traveling alone and want to connect with local girls, I recommend lesbian dating apps like Her or Scissr, or general dating apps such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, or OkCupid. These apps can be used for hookups, of course, but I have never had a problem using them simply as a way to connect with a local girl to show me around or introduce me to the lesbian bar or club scene.

If you would like to go to a lesbian party, check Time Out or Purple Roofs for lesbian events. Some lesbian dating apps, like Her, Wing Ma’am, or Findhrr, have also incorporated lesbian venues and events. Lesbian or queer groups on Couchsurfing.org and Meetup.com are also a great place to ask for recommendations or find lesbian meet-ups.

Traveling as a couple? You’ll often tone down your relationship

If you are traveling with your partner, you will often find yourself toning down your relationship in order to not draw attention, especially when you are traveling in regions where homosexuality isn’t widely accepted. This includes little gestures like stroking your partner’s back, using terms of endearment with each other or holding hands. Things that are completely normal for straight couples are often an absolute no-go for same-sex couples. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can be tough at times to not be able to fully show your feelings for each other, especially on a rough travel day that doesn’t go as planned. It can wear you down after a while, which is why it is important to book private rooms at least part of the time, even when you are on a long-term backpacking trip with a tight budget.

There is one advantage that lesbian couples have over gay male couples: it is much less of a hassle to get a double bed for two women than it is for two men, even in countries where homosexuality is illegal. Two girls sharing a bed is socially much more accepted than two men asking for a double bed, which can turn into an awkward situation at the check-in counter, or even become downright dangerous if you are in a country where same-sex relationships are a no-no.

(That said, be warned: you will get odd looks sometimes when you insist on a double bed at check-in, or are given a room with twin beds even though you specifically booked a room with a double bed.)

Know the laws and safety situation

woman gazing into distance in desert with flamingos
In some respects, safety — as a queer traveler — is actually less of an issue for women, because there are still a lot of countries where same-sex relationships between two men are punished, but same-sex relationships between two women are not. And, as mentioned, a femme solo traveler or couple often does not raise any suspicions.

On the other hand, safety is a much bigger concern for lesbians than it is for gay men because women of any sexuality have to worry about being raped or abused. Lesbian travelers have the added issue of being victims of hate crimes, too. It is important to do a lot of research before your trip. How is homosexuality seen in the country I’m traveling to? Are PDAs inappropriate, or can I go ahead and smooch my girlfriend without fearing a rock might get thrown at me? It is important to understand what might be seen as offensive in the country you are visiting, and respect the local culture. The ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) is a good starting point for your research with its maps of sexual orientation laws, as is the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travelers Association) with their online travel planning resources for LGBT travelers.

Don’t let fear hold you back — go somewhere welcoming

couple leaning against wall with street art
If you feel unsure about a certain destination because your sexual orientation is obvious, start instead with a country that is known to be gay friendly, such as Costa Rica or Mexico or one of the 22 countries that have legalized same-sex marriage and 19 more that offer something equal, or even a destination with a thriving gay culture within the U.S., such as San Francisco or New York.

If you are looking to embrace your gay-ness while traveling, then why not check out a lesbian festival like the Ella Festival in Spain, L-Beach in Germany, or the Eressos Women’s Festival in Greece. WikiTravel has a great overview of gay-friendly and dangerous destinations, plus a list of all major Prides and other gay events.

****

Traveling the world is an amazing experience that teaches you a lot about yourself and the world around you. Traveling safely, though — regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or even the color of your skin — is all about preparation. Do your research, know what to expect, and your journey can be all the more satisfying.

Instead of being afraid to travel because of your sexuality, you should see traveling as a lesbian also as a chance to raise awareness of gay culture. I guarantee that you will meet people (including Americans) who have never met a gay person in their lives, and showing them that we are — as solo travelers and as couples — no different from them and opening their minds to other ways of living is a rewarding by-product, as you learn about different cultures and lifestyles yourself.

Dani Heinrich is the vagabonding writer and photographer behind GlobetrotterGirls.com. Originally from Germany, she has been nomadic since April 2010, when she quit her corporate job in London and embarked on a round-the-world-trip that continues to this day. Dani has travelled through over 60 countries on four continents and has no plans to stop any time soon. Dani is always on the hunt for amazing street art, mouthwatering vegetarian food, secluded beaches, scenic running routes, off the beaten path gems and a hammock to work from. You can also follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The post Lesbian Travel: 4 Things To Know appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/lesbian-travel-4-things-to-know/

two women together on beach
I’ve added an LGBT column for the website to make the site more inclusive and talk about issues that affect some members of our travel community. In this column, we will hear from voices in the LGBT community about their experiences on the road, safety tips, events, and overall advice for other LGBT travelers to get the most out of their time on the road! This month, Dani from Globetrottergirls is discussing lesbian travel. 

While sitting at the rooftop pool of my hotel and sharing beers with other travelers over sunset, the ever-dreaded question comes up: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Here we go again, I think to myself, another coming out.

Though I’ve had this conversation hundreds of times, the words “I’m gay” still don’t come easily, especially because I never know what reaction to it will be.

Will the situation get awkward? Will someone make a homophobic comment?

It’s never a simple affair. Instead, it usually results in a number of questions where I feel like I’m the ambassador of all things lesbian — scissoring, dildos, and why some women choose an androgynous look – to a group of strangers I just met.

Like gay travel, lesbian travel presents its own set of challenges.

If you are a femme lesbian or couple, it isn’t much different from solo female travel. Nobody is looking at you funny, and you don’t need to feel particularly threatened in one of the 76 countries where homosexuality is not legal (in 10 of which it is punishable by death) — because nobody knows you’re a lesbian. When traveling with a feminine girl, it is usually more likely that we’ll get asked if we are sisters than lovers.

However, if you are a butch lesbian, it’s a completely different story. It’s much more obvious that you are gay, and you can’t hide your sexuality. If you are a femme/butch couple or butch/butch couple, it is nearly impossible to hide your sexual orientation, or the fact that you are a couple, even if you keep the PDAs to a minimum. You’ll definitely notice the looks of other people.

“Don’t assume everyone sees you the way you see yourself. Most people will see you based on the stereotypes they were raised with. Your butch appearance is a clear sign to many people in the U.S. that you’re a lesbian. In other countries, especially non-Western ones, you might just be stereotyped to being ‘a woman with short hair.’ I’ve been mistaken for a man many times before, but most (if not all of those times), they’re the ones that are embarrassed about it,” says Mindy Postoff, who writes the lesbian travel blog Bounding Over Our Steps with her wife Ligeia.

For butch-looking lesbians traveling for the first time, she recommends: “If you’ve caught the travel bug, then go to places that have similar societal norms as your own. Go to places where same-sex marriage is legal and pride events are big celebrations.”

So, if you’re a lesbian about to head out on the road, here are some important things to know beforehand:

replicating famous kissing statue

It’s harder to meet lesbians and find travel companies that cater to lesbians

There are many more hotels, resorts, cruises, and organized tours that cater to gay men. Sure, there are some tour operators who specialize in lesbian travel (such as Olivia), there is the occasional lesbian cruise, and there are some lesbian-owned B&Bs and hotels, but they are few and far between. (In my experience they also tend to cater to lesbian couples and older lesbians, leaving out younger girls who are looking to meet other single girls their age on vacation.)

Most big cities also have at least one gay bar, whereas there are fewer and fewer lesbian bars. Even on a recent visit to Berlin, a major gay hotspot, I struggled to find a lesbian party on a Friday night because the popular girls’ night only takes place every other Friday.

If you are traveling alone and want to connect with local girls, I recommend lesbian dating apps like Her or Scissr, or general dating apps such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, or OkCupid. These apps can be used for hookups, of course, but I have never had a problem using them simply as a way to connect with a local girl to show me around or introduce me to the lesbian bar or club scene.

If you would like to go to a lesbian party, check Time Out or Purple Roofs for lesbian events. Some lesbian dating apps, like Her, Wing Ma’am, or Findhrr, have also incorporated lesbian venues and events. Lesbian or queer groups on Couchsurfing.org and Meetup.com are also a great place to ask for recommendations or find lesbian meet-ups.

Traveling as a couple? You’ll often tone down your relationship

If you are traveling with your partner, you will often find yourself toning down your relationship in order to not draw attention, especially when you are traveling in regions where homosexuality isn’t widely accepted. This includes little gestures like stroking your partner’s back, using terms of endearment with each other or holding hands. Things that are completely normal for straight couples are often an absolute no-go for same-sex couples. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can be tough at times to not be able to fully show your feelings for each other, especially on a rough travel day that doesn’t go as planned. It can wear you down after a while, which is why it is important to book private rooms at least part of the time, even when you are on a long-term backpacking trip with a tight budget.

There is one advantage that lesbian couples have over gay male couples: it is much less of a hassle to get a double bed for two women than it is for two men, even in countries where homosexuality is illegal. Two girls sharing a bed is socially much more accepted than two men asking for a double bed, which can turn into an awkward situation at the check-in counter, or even become downright dangerous if you are in a country where same-sex relationships are a no-no.

(That said, be warned: you will get odd looks sometimes when you insist on a double bed at check-in, or are given a room with twin beds even though you specifically booked a room with a double bed.)

Know the laws and safety situation

woman gazing into distance in desert with flamingos
In some respects, safety — as a queer traveler — is actually less of an issue for women, because there are still a lot of countries where same-sex relationships between two men are punished, but same-sex relationships between two women are not. And, as mentioned, a femme solo traveler or couple often does not raise any suspicions.

On the other hand, safety is a much bigger concern for lesbians than it is for gay men because women of any sexuality have to worry about being raped or abused. Lesbian travelers have the added issue of being victims of hate crimes, too. It is important to do a lot of research before your trip. How is homosexuality seen in the country I’m traveling to? Are PDAs inappropriate, or can I go ahead and smooch my girlfriend without fearing a rock might get thrown at me? It is important to understand what might be seen as offensive in the country you are visiting, and respect the local culture. The ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) is a good starting point for your research with its maps of sexual orientation laws, as is the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travelers Association) with their online travel planning resources for LGBT travelers.

Don’t let fear hold you back — go somewhere welcoming

couple leaning against wall with street art
If you feel unsure about a certain destination because your sexual orientation is obvious, start instead with a country that is known to be gay friendly, such as Costa Rica or Mexico or one of the 22 countries that have legalized same-sex marriage and 19 more that offer something equal, or even a destination with a thriving gay culture within the U.S., such as San Francisco or New York.

If you are looking to embrace your gay-ness while traveling, then why not check out a lesbian festival like the Ella Festival in Spain, L-Beach in Germany, or the Eressos Women’s Festival in Greece. WikiTravel has a great overview of gay-friendly and dangerous destinations, plus a list of all major Prides and other gay events.

****

Traveling the world is an amazing experience that teaches you a lot about yourself and the world around you. Traveling safely, though — regardless of your gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or even the color of your skin — is all about preparation. Do your research, know what to expect, and your journey can be all the more satisfying.

Instead of being afraid to travel because of your sexuality, you should see traveling as a lesbian also as a chance to raise awareness of gay culture. I guarantee that you will meet people (including Americans) who have never met a gay person in their lives, and showing them that we are — as solo travelers and as couples — no different from them and opening their minds to other ways of living is a rewarding by-product, as you learn about different cultures and lifestyles yourself.

Dani Heinrich is the vagabonding writer and photographer behind GlobetrotterGirls.com. Originally from Germany, she has been nomadic since April 2010, when she quit her corporate job in London and embarked on a round-the-world-trip that continues to this day. Dani has travelled through over 60 countries on four continents and has no plans to stop any time soon. Dani is always on the hunt for amazing street art, mouthwatering vegetarian food, secluded beaches, scenic running routes, off the beaten path gems and a hammock to work from. You can also follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The post Lesbian Travel: 4 Things To Know appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

14 islands not to miss in Okinawa

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/09/16/14-islands-not-to-miss-in-okinawa/

With over 160 isles under its belt, you can basically pick and choose your own ultimate island experience in Okinawa. Whether you’re looking to enjoy myth-rich culture, rare and exotic wildlife, or completely escape and have a beach all to yourself, with Okinawa’s island itinerary you’re guaranteed to find at least one island that is your […]

14 islands not to miss in Okinawa is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 14 islands not to miss in Okinawa appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

Posted from http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2016/09/16/14-islands-not-to-miss-in-okinawa/

With over 160 isles under its belt, you can basically pick and choose your own ultimate island experience in Okinawa. Whether you’re looking to enjoy myth-rich culture, rare and exotic wildlife, or completely escape and have a beach all to yourself, with Okinawa’s island itinerary you’re guaranteed to find at least one island that is your […]

14 islands not to miss in Okinawa is a post from A Luxury Travel Blog

The post 14 islands not to miss in Okinawa appeared first on A Luxury Travel Blog.

10 Common Questions about Solo Female Travel

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/solo-female-travel-questions/

Kristin looking at a beautiful castle in the distance atop a lush green hill
On the second Wednesday of the month, Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes a guest column featuring tips and advice on solo female travel. It’s an important topic I can’t adequately cover, so I brought in an expert to share her advice for other solo female travelers!

There are a lot of unknowns before you travel solo for the first time, like whether it’s going to be safe, how to find others to hang with, and how to choose where to go.

While solo traveling is an amazing chance to be the architect of your own adventure, to see the world on your terms, and to get to know yourself, it can be scary, exhilarating, and bemusing all at the same time.

As someone who has been traveling and blogging about it for the last four years, I’ve seen all sorts of questions from first-time travelers. Many of them are the same questions I had when I first started.

Today, I’m going to answer the 10 most common questions female travelers have so as to help alleviate your anxiety and inspire you to get on the road quicker!

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?
I wish I knew back then that I didn’t have to stress so much about meeting people.

It’s normal to be afraid of being alone, but the reality is that when traveling, it’s possible to meet more amazing people than you could’ve ever imagined. Travelers are incredibly friendly people.

Even if you’re socially awkward, it’ll work out.

There are so many other solo travelers out there that you tend to find each other. It’s as easy as sitting in the common room of a guesthouse and asking the person to your right where they’re from. Even if you don’t break the ice, chances are someone more outgoing at the hostel will involve you in the conversation.

One thing I really appreciate about traveling is how much less shy it has made me. I used to find it hard to talk to people I didn’t know, and now I’m a lot more confident. That has been a huge benefit of solo traveling.

Have you ever canceled a trip because you felt a place had become too dangerous?
The best thing to do is to make the choice on depending on the severity of the situation. It’s hard when all you see in the media are images of destruction, but remember, this is how they sell their stories.

If you feel like it would be stupid to put yourself in harm’s way, then don’t go. But if it seems like an isolated incident, ask yourself if one bad story should scare you off.

What are some of your strategies for deflecting unwanted attention as a female on the road alone?
The most effective strategy for deflecting unwanted attention abroad is to learn about the modesty requirements and the meaning of gestures before you visit that country.

In Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia, for example, it is important for women to wear things that cover their knees and shoulders. That’s true in many countries and covering up is often a sign of showing respect.

It’s also important to avoid getting too intoxicated or going out alone after dark in certain areas — which goes for both sexes — and always remain respectful, but demand respect as well.

Kristin Addis standing in a green field with views of rolling hills

As someone who is planning her first solo long-term travels, what is the most important bit of advice you could give?
Be as prepared as possible. That doesn’t mean planning out every little thing that happens during your trip, but rather being financially secure, having things like healthcare, visas, and a strategy for earning on the road all in mind before going, and reading up on customs and scams first.

It’s all about doing everything you can to tie up loose ends at home before you go, so that you can be present when you are on your trip.

Do you know of any networks where women can find female traveling buddies?
You might be surprised by what already exists in your personal network. Put up a Facebook post to see if your friends know anyone in new places you’re traveling to. Even if your friends aren’t the type to travel, you might be surprised by who knows whom and where.

Forums are also a great way to meet other travelers. Check out Nomadic Matt’s forum, and the Thorn Tree forum by Lonely Planet is also good. Some people use regional Couchsurfing boards as well. There are often regional Facebook groups, like Chiang Mai digital nomads and Backpacking Africa, for example.

There are new apps as well, like Wandermate and Tourlina, that are designed to connect solo female travelers, but I have not personally tried any, so I cannot comment on how good they are (or aren’t).

How do you deal with loneliness?
Loneliness gets to me about as often as it used to get to me before I started traveling.

I think it comes down to remembering that life is still life and there are up days and there are down days. It can’t all just be perfect all the time, and traveling won’t change the nature of being alive. It’s a great chance to get to love time spent with yourself, and that’s a benefit of solo traveling at times.

Have you found it difficult to talk to locals?
Talking to locals is one of the safest things you can do, because they are the ones that know about the area and can tell you where to visit and what to stay away from. Bonus: I almost always get really good info about where to eat or where to go next when talking to a local person. It’s the best!

Couchsurfing, talking to the owners of your guesthouse, or hanging out in the places were locals hang out and eat — and especially showing an interest in their culture — are all great ways to meet and chat with local people.

solo female traveler in front of incredible sunrise near water bungalows

Do you notice female inequality when you travel solo? Do you get the same treatment and opportunities as male travelers?
There is definitely inequality in the world for females, but the good news is that we are also living in one of the most progressive times to date, so I think it’s an exciting and important time to travel.

There’s also a lot of benefit to being a solo female traveler. The locals tend to really look after us solo travelers and often take us under their wing.

A lot of amazing things can happen when you’re solo because you’re free to be completely open to serendipity. And while I’m sure this happens for guys as well, I can say with certainty that traveling solo as a female opens up doors that wouldn’t open when with a group or in a duo. So many times there will be room for just one on a motorbike, or a plus one at an event, and you never know what exciting things that might lead to.

Is there a specific age (or age group) that you would recommend for traveling solo?
Not at all! People of all ages and of all walks of life travel, and there is no magic number for when you should travel solo. You should just do it when you have the opportunity and the desire to.

If you are an open, curious, and friendly person, your age doesn’t matter.

solo female traveler swimming near ocean caverns

Do you ever think to yourself, “Shit, what am I doing? Shouldn’t I be back home now and own an apartment or house or something?”
Every now and then I have a little existential crisis, but I totally had that back when I did have an apartment and a 9-5 job. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I’m always going to pause and question things every now and then. Perhaps that’s just part of being human.

I think the way it’s traditionally done right now is backwards. Staying in one place when I’m young and fit and then traveling the world after I retire and can’t do as many crazy things just looks like the reverse of what it should be. I’m just happy I found a way to get around that.

So no, I don’t stress about not having a settled life, because I just wanted to have freedom and to be able to choose whatever is suitable when it’s the right time.

****What will your experiences be when you decide to travel on your own? You might say the same thing as I do, or you might have a different opinion entirely, but you almost certainly will not know until you go.

But I put my money on this: before long, you’ll find that the same things are true about solo travel: that it isn’t too lonely, and it won’t seem so daunting and scary as it all did at the beginning. It’s all about just taking that first step and embracing the adventure.

Conquering Mountains: The Guide to Solo Female Travel

conquering mountains: solo female travel by kristin addisFor a complete A-to-Z guide on solo female travel, check out Kristin’s new book, Conquering Mountains. Besides discussing many of the practical tips of preparing and planning your trip, the book addresses the fears, safety, and emotional concerns women have about traveling alone. It features over 20 interviews with other female travel writers and travelers. Click here to learn more about the book and start reading it today!

Kristin Addis is a native Californian who has been traveling the globe solo for four years now, visiting every continent (except for Antarctica) on her own. She’s hitchhiked solo around the world, climbed to some of the tallest peaks, and dived some of the deepest dives. She’s been featured in Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Glamour, and Daily Mail to name a few. Check out her award-winning blog, Be My Travel Muse, and find more of her amazing photography on her Instagram!

The post 10 Common Questions about Solo Female Travel appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Posted from http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/solo-female-travel-questions/

Kristin looking at a beautiful castle in the distance atop a lush green hill
On the second Wednesday of the month, Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes a guest column featuring tips and advice on solo female travel. It’s an important topic I can’t adequately cover, so I brought in an expert to share her advice for other solo female travelers!

There are a lot of unknowns before you travel solo for the first time, like whether it’s going to be safe, how to find others to hang with, and how to choose where to go.

While solo traveling is an amazing chance to be the architect of your own adventure, to see the world on your terms, and to get to know yourself, it can be scary, exhilarating, and bemusing all at the same time.

As someone who has been traveling and blogging about it for the last four years, I’ve seen all sorts of questions from first-time travelers. Many of them are the same questions I had when I first started.

Today, I’m going to answer the 10 most common questions female travelers have so as to help alleviate your anxiety and inspire you to get on the road quicker!

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew before you started?
I wish I knew back then that I didn’t have to stress so much about meeting people.

It’s normal to be afraid of being alone, but the reality is that when traveling, it’s possible to meet more amazing people than you could’ve ever imagined. Travelers are incredibly friendly people.

Even if you’re socially awkward, it’ll work out.

There are so many other solo travelers out there that you tend to find each other. It’s as easy as sitting in the common room of a guesthouse and asking the person to your right where they’re from. Even if you don’t break the ice, chances are someone more outgoing at the hostel will involve you in the conversation.

One thing I really appreciate about traveling is how much less shy it has made me. I used to find it hard to talk to people I didn’t know, and now I’m a lot more confident. That has been a huge benefit of solo traveling.

Have you ever canceled a trip because you felt a place had become too dangerous?
The best thing to do is to make the choice on depending on the severity of the situation. It’s hard when all you see in the media are images of destruction, but remember, this is how they sell their stories.

If you feel like it would be stupid to put yourself in harm’s way, then don’t go. But if it seems like an isolated incident, ask yourself if one bad story should scare you off.

What are some of your strategies for deflecting unwanted attention as a female on the road alone?
The most effective strategy for deflecting unwanted attention abroad is to learn about the modesty requirements and the meaning of gestures before you visit that country.

In Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia, for example, it is important for women to wear things that cover their knees and shoulders. That’s true in many countries and covering up is often a sign of showing respect.

It’s also important to avoid getting too intoxicated or going out alone after dark in certain areas — which goes for both sexes — and always remain respectful, but demand respect as well.

Kristin Addis standing in a green field with views of rolling hills

As someone who is planning her first solo long-term travels, what is the most important bit of advice you could give?
Be as prepared as possible. That doesn’t mean planning out every little thing that happens during your trip, but rather being financially secure, having things like healthcare, visas, and a strategy for earning on the road all in mind before going, and reading up on customs and scams first.

It’s all about doing everything you can to tie up loose ends at home before you go, so that you can be present when you are on your trip.

Do you know of any networks where women can find female traveling buddies?
You might be surprised by what already exists in your personal network. Put up a Facebook post to see if your friends know anyone in new places you’re traveling to. Even if your friends aren’t the type to travel, you might be surprised by who knows whom and where.

Forums are also a great way to meet other travelers. Check out Nomadic Matt’s forum, and the Thorn Tree forum by Lonely Planet is also good. Some people use regional Couchsurfing boards as well. There are often regional Facebook groups, like Chiang Mai digital nomads and Backpacking Africa, for example.

There are new apps as well, like Wandermate and Tourlina, that are designed to connect solo female travelers, but I have not personally tried any, so I cannot comment on how good they are (or aren’t).

How do you deal with loneliness?
Loneliness gets to me about as often as it used to get to me before I started traveling.

I think it comes down to remembering that life is still life and there are up days and there are down days. It can’t all just be perfect all the time, and traveling won’t change the nature of being alive. It’s a great chance to get to love time spent with yourself, and that’s a benefit of solo traveling at times.

Have you found it difficult to talk to locals?
Talking to locals is one of the safest things you can do, because they are the ones that know about the area and can tell you where to visit and what to stay away from. Bonus: I almost always get really good info about where to eat or where to go next when talking to a local person. It’s the best!

Couchsurfing, talking to the owners of your guesthouse, or hanging out in the places were locals hang out and eat — and especially showing an interest in their culture — are all great ways to meet and chat with local people.

solo female traveler in front of incredible sunrise near water bungalows

Do you notice female inequality when you travel solo? Do you get the same treatment and opportunities as male travelers?
There is definitely inequality in the world for females, but the good news is that we are also living in one of the most progressive times to date, so I think it’s an exciting and important time to travel.

There’s also a lot of benefit to being a solo female traveler. The locals tend to really look after us solo travelers and often take us under their wing.

A lot of amazing things can happen when you’re solo because you’re free to be completely open to serendipity. And while I’m sure this happens for guys as well, I can say with certainty that traveling solo as a female opens up doors that wouldn’t open when with a group or in a duo. So many times there will be room for just one on a motorbike, or a plus one at an event, and you never know what exciting things that might lead to.

Is there a specific age (or age group) that you would recommend for traveling solo?
Not at all! People of all ages and of all walks of life travel, and there is no magic number for when you should travel solo. You should just do it when you have the opportunity and the desire to.

If you are an open, curious, and friendly person, your age doesn’t matter.

solo female traveler swimming near ocean caverns

Do you ever think to yourself, “Shit, what am I doing? Shouldn’t I be back home now and own an apartment or house or something?”
Every now and then I have a little existential crisis, but I totally had that back when I did have an apartment and a 9-5 job. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I’m always going to pause and question things every now and then. Perhaps that’s just part of being human.

I think the way it’s traditionally done right now is backwards. Staying in one place when I’m young and fit and then traveling the world after I retire and can’t do as many crazy things just looks like the reverse of what it should be. I’m just happy I found a way to get around that.

So no, I don’t stress about not having a settled life, because I just wanted to have freedom and to be able to choose whatever is suitable when it’s the right time.

****What will your experiences be when you decide to travel on your own? You might say the same thing as I do, or you might have a different opinion entirely, but you almost certainly will not know until you go.

But I put my money on this: before long, you’ll find that the same things are true about solo travel: that it isn’t too lonely, and it won’t seem so daunting and scary as it all did at the beginning. It’s all about just taking that first step and embracing the adventure.

Conquering Mountains: The Guide to Solo Female Travel

conquering mountains: solo female travel by kristin addisFor a complete A-to-Z guide on solo female travel, check out Kristin’s new book, Conquering Mountains. Besides discussing many of the practical tips of preparing and planning your trip, the book addresses the fears, safety, and emotional concerns women have about traveling alone. It features over 20 interviews with other female travel writers and travelers. Click here to learn more about the book and start reading it today!

Kristin Addis is a native Californian who has been traveling the globe solo for four years now, visiting every continent (except for Antarctica) on her own. She’s hitchhiked solo around the world, climbed to some of the tallest peaks, and dived some of the deepest dives. She’s been featured in Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Glamour, and Daily Mail to name a few. Check out her award-winning blog, Be My Travel Muse, and find more of her amazing photography on her Instagram!

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