Yesterday, I made a little contribution to Guardian’s Top 10 Solo Travel for Summer and it got me thinking about solo travel once again.
To be honest, this is not something I do very regularly. The thinking about it part, that is.
Travelling alone has never bothered me. In fact, I like it, especially when I am working as it stops me slipping into holiday mode.
Fellow travel writer Andrea Wren recently asked me some questions about female travel for her blog. We touched on the idea of “female friendly destinations” and “female unfriendly destinations”.
I had to say that I’d never felt the need to draw a line. I have never felt at a disadvantage or especially vulnerable being a female traveller. On the backpacker routes, I tend to meet as many women travelling solo as men. Sometimes I even think being a female traveller is an advantage: people worry about you so you don’t have to.
That’s not to say I am not careful. I just don’t worry.
Sure enough, Latin America can be frustratingly macho at times. A couple of weeks ago I hired a kayak in the delta town of Tigre. The vendor ignored me as he asked the men if they had done it before and then told them to “look after the girls”. This week, a female friend and I were incensed when an Argentine businessman totally blanked us when we asked a question and gave his response to the older, male journalist in our group.
But could you say Argentina is “female unfriendly”? No. In fact, it’s probably the opposite and far too friendly at times.
In other parts of the world, I suppose I have felt conspicuously out of place at times, when realising I am the only woman on the street or in a cafe, but that’s about the extent of it.
However, this is just one female traveller’s opinion. I’d be interested to hear from others. Do you think being a female traveller is an advantage, a disadvantage, or neither one nor the other? Have you been to a place you would consider to be “female friendly/unfriendly”? Have you ever changed your travel plans accordingly?