I should admit that this sounds quite daunting since as women, we have been made to stay in our domestic sphere by society for so many years, and unfortunately it is still valid in the 21st century. We should have been talking about flying cars and living like the Jetsons but we still discuss the lives of women and fight for gender equality. This does not mean that women should fear going out alone, on the contrary, this should encourage us to see what is beyond and what life is actually about.

Frankly speaking, it has not been easy for me either. Going abroad alone for the first time in 2014, I was scared to be on my own because I was either surrounded by my friends in familiar places or with my family at the comfort of home. Where would I go? What was the flight number? Would I have motion sickness? Which bus would I get on? There were so many obscurities yet I knew that I was an independent person and I could fend for myself. This is the story of how I got to visit more than 20 countries and 50 cities. Please bear with me as I will be sharing some tips and the benefits of traveling alone:

  1. Plan most of the things beforehand

Of course, traveling is enjoyed the most when it is spontaneous but it is better to plan some of the vital things beforehand. Make sure that you know how to get to your accommodation from the station or the airport. You might want to check out the vicinity as well so as to avoid panic when you need something from the supermarket or drugstore. Prepare an overall list of the places you would like to visit such as the museums, parks, or tourist attractions and make up a route for yourself. You can also check cafes or restaurants which offer discounts.

  1. Pack light or regret later

I know that it is hard to pack light when it comes to traveling. Been there, done that. However, you will bitterly regret it once the journey begins because you have to carry your bags for God knows how many hours and it will feel heavier as the time passes by. Moreover, even if traveling is all about collecting moments, believe me, you will collect some souvenirs too. So you better make some room for gifts and enjoy the memories when you go back home.

  1. Do what you want when you want

Traveling with friends is so much fun but try going solo for more freedom. When you are with someone, you eventually feel the need to hang out together and maybe end up doing things you do not want to do at all. On the other hand, when you are on your own, you can get up whenever you like, visit places at your convenience and go to the restaurants which attract you the most.

  1. Befriend locals and people around

Okay, I’ll admit. From time to time, you might want company to share your moments but it is not even a problem. There are many solo tourists that you can build friendship with, especially if you are sharing a bunk bed at a hostel or attending the same city tours. You can also befriend locals and believe me, you’ll enjoy everything further. You can learn about places only the locals know, you get to know the culture in a much wider sense and you can even practice the local language. You’ll feel much more confident, mi amigo!

  1. Start the day early

It might be tiring to wake up early in the mornings but you’ll get used to it in no time. When you do that, you will have an abundance of time to realize all the things you have planned beforehand. Also, you will be sparing leisure time to do spontaneous things. It is your schedule in the end, but why not make the most of it?

  1. Be open to new things

One of the most precious rewards of traveling alone is broadening your mind. You can try new foods, learn different types of dance, and pick up some local phrases. These are the things that make the whole experience unforgettable. If you have any prejudices against anything, after this journey, you’ll understand that there is no point in this at all. 

  1. Don’t be afraid

When you are alone, it is inevitable to get scared because you do not know the city and probably the language as well which immediately puts you into the position of an alien. However, we have forgotten the fact that love begets love and when you approach people in a friendly manner, you will receive the same attitude. 

  1. Open your eyes

As the aforementioned section suggests, you should not be fearful but it does not mean that you should act carelessly. I hate to admit that there are mean-spirited people as well. Try to avoid flashing your wealth aka showing your expensive iPhone or unzipping your purse indiscreetly. I hope that one day we will all live in harmony and I will have to cross out this whole passage.

  1. Don’t forget to relax

Even if I have suggested for you to begin your day as early as possible, do not forget to relax. It is important for you to gather all your strength so that you can make it through after long hours of walks around the city or crazy shopping sessions. Remember that you are doing this to enjoy the moment not to run after it.

  1. Enjoy freedom and grow

It is one of the greatest experiences to be on your own when you are abroad. Not only can you do anything you want whenever you want but also you get to discover new things about yourself. At the end of each travel you set out to, you will see that when you get back, you become a different person. Each experience you have had abroad makes you grow up and that feeling will always encourage you to plan new routes. I know this because it is exactly what I have been doing for the past few years.

Let me finish this article with one of my favorite quotes:

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”

This article was guest written by Ilayda Turhan. She’s a literature graduate from Boğaziçi University, a dancer, a singer, a lover of good books and great movies, and a globetrotter. You can follow her through her Instagram page, Youtube channel, or blog.

If you would like to write an article for 9 Magazine, feel free to pitch your idea via email or Instagram DM.

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