1. It’s fucking empowering. Any time you do something on your own, despite what the haters might think, you’re empowering yourself. This is especially pertinent for solo female travelers, who deal with all kinds of negative energy and commentary that might otherwise dissuade them from traveling. So long as we don’t let the naysayers get in the way, the experience of traveling as an independent female is about the most awesome feeling you can have.
2. It’s something to brag about. Hell yes you hiked the Sierra High Route on your own — and it was no big deal.
3. It helps promote the image of a strong woman. You’re a walking billboard for female empowerment. When others say it’s unsafe for a woman to travel on her own, you smile and show them photos from your recent solo trip to New Delhi.
4. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Volunteer with a women’s microenterprise group in Ghana? Spend the afternoon shopping at the Siam Paragon in Bangkok? No one’s there to tell you the way you spend your time is boring, annoying, complicated, frivolous, touristy, or too “girly” (what does that even mean, anyway?).
5. You can have sex with whoever you want. You can let your inhibitions go, especially because you don’t have to see any of your romantic prospects ever again if you don’t want to. You can practice your flirting with total strangers. You can become romantically involved with no strings attached.
6. You don’t have to have sex with anyone. No one’s there to pressure you into starting a family and settling down. In fact, it’s awesome to go somewhere and just enjoy being in love with yourself.
7. You’ll form special bonds with the people you meet on the road. Sometimes we hide behind our other travel partners, seeking familiarity over getting to know new people. But the friends we make on our own abroad are a super special bunch.
8. You’re proof that other people aren’t necessary in order to have a great trip. Some people can’t comprehend the fact that solo female travelers are able to enjoy themselves without friends, family, or boyfriends/girlfriends, but you still had a baller time club-hopping around New York City without people tagging along.
9. You don’t have to worry about makeup/fashion. The media puts so much pressure on women to “look good,” but the same standards of beauty don’t necessarily translate abroad. The people you meet while traveling are getting to know you for the first time and don’t know what you look like otherwise anyway.
10. You’re an active part of breaking down stereotypes. The more women travel on their own, the less other people will think it’s so strange. You’re able to prove that women aren’t weak, dependent creatures who can’t fend for themselves in this “big, scary world.”
11. You’re intriguing. Nothing’s sexier than a woman who takes control of her life and has the guts to backpack through Nepal, on her own.
12. You don’t have to deal with man farts. Or burps. Or the other (sometimes) stupid things guys do when they travel, like not asking for directions.
13. You know that being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. Sometimes you need to be alone, in order to figure out other aspects of your life — what you like, who you like, what you want to do with your life, etc.
14. Your confidence rocks. You’re not phased by the garbage the media puts out about women’s body issues, traditional roles in society, and “damsel in distress” attitudes. Every time you’re able to do something independently, your self-esteem grows.
15. You don’t have to deal with shitty travel friends. Traveling with people who possess varying degrees of comfort, lifestyle, budget, and opinion can be maddening. But traveling as a solo female traveler means you don’t have to worry about overly critical friends who judge you for not wearing a bra, only want to sleep in hotels, or who don’t “do” street-meat cuisine.
16. Your experiences are completely your own. You’re in control of how this trip plays out. You’re taking the risks, and you don’t have to worry about how your travel choices will affect other people you’d be traveling with otherwise.
17. You get to experience what it’s like to be a woman in a different place. Seeing how women are treated, what they wear, how they have fun, and other aspects of female life is a way to raise awareness about women’s issues around the world. You’ve experienced it firsthand but were also able to participate in events that honor females, like making Theobrma cacao with women of the Bribri tribe in Costa Rica.
18. You spread the word of Girl Power and are an example of feminism. You’re proof that women deserve the same equal treatment and experiences as men because they’re capable of (and entitled to) doing the same things men enjoy. If guys aren’t given any shit for traveling on their own, women shouldn’t be either.
19. You gain a ton of perspective. Seeing a world that’s different from your own is super important. The takeaways you’ll bring back home are ways you can not only improve upon your own life but the lives of others.
20. It changes you for the better. Anytime you step out of your comfort zone, you learn something new — about yourself, about society, and more. No one’s ever traveled abroad and become a total bitch as a result.
21. You become empowered from your own mistakes. While it might be scary at the time, a tough situation makes solo female travelers stronger every time. You’ll never again forget to pack extra tampons while on an overnight safari camping trip in Namibia. You’re more aware of your surroundings after getting mugged in Cairo.
22. Dining alone doesn’t phase you. It’s one of the few times you get to relax and recoup from an otherwise busy day of travel. Bonus points if you’re beyond the point of hiding behind a book or cell phone.
23. You learn a lot about trust. You learn how to trust others — not just the people you’ll interact with but also the people you love back home. You also learn how to trust yourself, your instincts, and your ability to rock it as a solo female traveler.
24. You’re a total badass. Duh.
25. You’re an inspiration for girls and women of all ages. You plant the seed of empowerment every time you talk to another female about the awesome things you’ve done abroad, on your own.
26. You’re proof that you don’t need a man (or anyone else) to survive in the world. Eff dependency. You rock the travel world on your own.