TRAVELING SOLO AND BEING ATTACHED 👩👩👦👦
So, you have kids, a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner… And you want to solo travel. What now?
Well, if you ask your average internet troll, chances are he’ll say something like “Why would you travel solo? Do you hate your life with your [kids, husband, partner, etc.]?”
Ask more enlightened humans, such as those in The Lone Travel Girl community, and the response is much more positive. The answer? “I can still happily and safely travel solo while still having these important people in my life.”
DO MARRIED PEOPLE SOLO TRAVEL? 💍
As a recently engaged woman, I received several jokes about The Lone Travel Girl after the proposal. Was I going to change the name of my company? Married people don’t solo travel!
Although they were jokes, let’s be real, making a joke means a tiny part of that person feels that way. So I asked followers of @thelonetravelgirl on Instagram these two questions:
I first learned that A LOT of parents and people in relationships solo travel. Yes, even married people.
The poll to the community asked:
“Do you solo travel even though you are married, in a committed relationship, and/or have kids?”
Of the 275 people who viewed the poll, 100 people responded, 75 of them saying yes.
The responses to the second question were shocking (well… were they really?). Here are a few:
@joss_barclay_: I travelled solo when I was with my ex and people just assumed it was because the relationship wasn’t going well. I’m now single but even in future relationships I am still going to travel solo. People have told me that maybe I’m not meant for a relationship just because I like solo travelling.
@through.the.llyns: [I receive] negative feedback mostly from family, thinking it would be safer to travel with my husband.
@hereforthebeef11: I’ve been told that I’m not a good wife and I’m abandoning my husband for my own gain.
@thehappyhippoblog: My ex thought couples should always travel together. Needless to say we didn’t work out.
[ANONYMOUS]: “Is your husband okay with it?” “People will start talking about you” “Wouldn’t it be better if you bring your husband along?” It’s all about other people EXCEPT you, which is frustrating to be honest.
Most of the comments indicated that it’s not just about the “weirdness” of solo traveling while attached, but more about the fact that women are expected to travel with men.
It appears to come down to two reasons:
Let's Talk Safety ⚠️
Let me be clear, I understand the safety thing to a certain extent. But let’s give women credit where it’s due. Women are targeted far more frequently than men are in physical attacks, but that doesn’t mean we are unable to safely travel alone.
I experienced this mentality when my fiancé, then boyfriend, visited me in Croatia for a week while I was on a 4-month solo trip. The day he arrived, my mom told me on the phone “I feel so much better knowing Nathan is there with you now.”
My whole trip she thought my safety was at risk, but suddenly I was safe once Nate got there? Oh, mom. You just don't know what a smart daughter you have! The only person fully prepared and keeping us safe on that trip was me.
And why is that?
Because as a woman, I must be aware of the dangers that surround me when I travel.
I know I am a target. But I do my research.
I learn which scams are prominent in major cities before I visit them.
I keep a watchful eye on who is around me at all times.
I follow my gut by avoiding people who make me feel uneasy, even if I can't pinpoint why.
I over prepare, and because of that, I have never had an issue traveling solo.
So, is a woman safer when she travels with a man versus when she travels alone? It is a messy, complex question that is entirely dependent upon location, the people, and situation. We could talk about it forever.
But the one thing I know with 100% certainty? We cannot give into the lazy belief that women need men to travel safely. It is possible to do safely alone. Just go ask the tens of thousands of women currently doing it under the hashtag #solofemaletraveler 😊.
But Should You REALLY Travel Alone If You’re Attached? 🌍
Then there is the opinion that woman cannot or should not travel alone if she is in a relationship.
If I have learned anything from my own experience and through the experiences of other solo female travelers who are in relationships, it’s these three things:
SO LET'S FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT 🤔
In the end, there’s no point in dwelling on this if we don’t find a way to implement change.
So what can we do?
SPREAD THE WORD 💭
Share your experience solo traveling while in a relationship or with kids. Even better if you have a platform on social media to do so.
Make it known that it’s okay to do things for yourself, how solo traveling while attached works for you, and the invaluable safety tips you use while traveling. You never know who is reading and who you might be helping.
DON'T GO ON THE DEFENSIVE TOO QUICKLY ❌
Understand that traveling alone without your significant other is something that can be alien and shocking to others.
Not all people in the world are travelers. Be open with family and friends about your perspective and experiences if they are willing to listen.
Put it into Aunt Carol’s terms when she asks for the 100th time why you don’t travel with your husband. “Don’t you do a girls weekend getaway every few months without your husband? This is similar." 😉
SOLO TRAVEL IS ABOUT YOU 🥰
In the end, solo travel can be about building confidence, seeing the world in a new way, learning to love yourself, and doing what you want, when you want.
What non-solo travelers might not realize is that experiencing your passion of traveling alone can make you a better person for those around you.
In the words of @hotflashesandboardingpasses:
"I have an adult son and am in a 10 year relationship and I’ve always taken time for solo travel. I’m a better me with me time and in return, better to them."
MORAL OF THE STORY 💁♀️
Women can travel alone.
Women can safely travel alone.
Women can travel alone while in strong, committed relationships.
Women can travel alone as moms and still love their kids very, very much.
All types of travel are okay. Let's spread the word. 💛
What is your take on this topic? Leave a comment below!