Women – whether in groups, solo, or with families – have increasingly and unapologetically taken up space when it comes to travel. More women are venturing out of their comfort zones, looking for an escape from the monotony of regular life. All contrary to just a few decades ago.
Naturally, while on the road if you’re touring on your own or on a family tour package, women face different challenges or things that work in their favour when at different parts of the world. Here’s what to expect:
Challenges faced by women travellers
Safety and security
This is an issue that tops the list of challenges faced by women while travelling. Not to say that men don’t face safety issues too, but unfortunately, women are more vulnerable. No matter how well-equipped, cautious, or trained with self-defence women are, there’s always the risk of running into danger. Research the place you are travelling to, the place of stay, befriend a reliable local, and keeping in mind safety concerns specific to where you are will be of help.
Some parts of the world have strict rules when it comes to gender segregation – such as the Middle East. Women are also expected to follow certain rules while dressing up in certain regions. For instance, there are places where every woman is expected to wear a hijab or not display certain parts of her body. This can prove to be a challenge as it sometimes holds women back from visiting these places.
Vulnerable to labelling
Even though you make your own money or share responsibilities with your family, the first thing assumed about a group of ladies on a vacation is that “they’re busy spending their husband’s money” or “they’re looking to escape the responsibilities of life.” Sometimes, men might also assume you’re an easy catch since you are all by yourself. Some idealise you, admire you, think of you as a superwoman for choosing such a life. Having said this, it doesn’t mean only ladies are the ones being labelled, but they’re more prone to it as compared to the opposite gender.
Whether you’re a single lady or a group of women, you’re sure to draw attention. And sometimes it can get exasperating. Unnecessary attention can lead to unwanted scenarios or uncomfortable encounters – both of which will put a dampener to any holiday.
In Asian and African countries, hygiene remains a major factor, especially for lady travellers. Sometimes, you won’t come across public toilets for long distances during your journey. Or even if you do, you’re not sure you’d want to use them. If you’re on your period and travelling, using a public toilet or even finding a decent one can become a major hassle. The only way to tackle the hygiene issue is by carrying hygiene washes, feminine wipes, and hoping really hard that there’s at least a bidet.
Advantages of being a woman traveller
If you’re travelling with friends who are women or even by yourself, you get to call the shots. There are no other family members like your kids or husband who’ll influence the decision of where to go or what to do. Since you’re by yourself or with a group of buddies with similar interests, you’ll get to enjoy your vacation the way you want to. Simple example – shopping! Most women are happy to do this together, but if travelling with a partner or children, you’ll likely get rushed out of the mall.
Especially if you are a first-timer, you’ll learn to choose for yourself, take a stand, interact better, and even learn to love yourself. All these will lead to an increase in your level of confidence. Tackling things by yourself and handling issues that are unexpected without anyone’s support will only help you learn things better and faster.
People are nicer
If you’re part of a group of ladies, lone mother with kids, or a solo female traveller, people are more than happy to assist or guide you through everything you need. Somehow, people are nicer and feel more obliged to assist. Whatever it is, it’s an advantage and should be used wisely.
This is especially so if you’re travelling solo. You won’t have to think about another person or family member’s wants or needs. Spend or overspend on the things you like. You know what to do and what gives you happiness. Use your skills or your lady charm to show off your bargaining prowess and get the best value out of services and items you buy. Spending the money you’ve earned on the things you want can bring a lot of pleasure and joy.
This is a key part of travelling with your gal pals – it strengthens the relationship not just with your travel partner but also with those whom you have behind. This is the opportunity to open up and understand one another, thus making your bond even stronger. This isn’t the only benefit of it – loved ones back home will appreciate you more in your absence and vice-versa.