Why Traveling Solo as a Woman Can Be Hard

As a woman, traveling alone can be hard. I’m sure traveling alone for anyone can be hard, but I find my toughest difficulty to overcome throughout my solo travels is being one singular woman on my own. Why is that? Well, let me explain.

First, I would like to say that this has never stopped me from going anywhere I’d like to go or doing what I want to do. I regularly solo travel, and perhaps, that’s why this thought has been so prominent on my mind recently.

Often, as I find myself traveling for work, I am working closely with a guide, a coworker, or a group of people. When this is the case, I find my adventures peaceful, as I never really get disturbed. There are also a great many times I find myself traveling on my own for work, whether that be flying to another country, taking a train across Europe, or participating in a plethora of activities to review for the magazines I write for. Without fail, a solid 70% of the time I go out on my own for an excursion, I get approached by men looking to pick me up. I’m not saying they are completely in the wrong here, but I do my do diligence. I wear my wedding ring when I travel, I keep my energy closed off and my eyes off of other people, and I don’t look like I’m open to making new friends. Again, I’m happy traveling solo as a woman. I don’t know what else I could do aside from being completely rude to them to get them off my back.

Now, I’m fine making friends. I’ve made many friends and had great times with guys and girls while traveling. There’s a time and a place for it. And there is a difference between being friendly and asking someone out, and I am not blind to the differences. Being asked out and not left alone is different. And despite how closed off and unresponsive I can be to the idea, many guys just don’t get the hint or refuse to accept it. And the wild thing is that the same people won’t approach me when I’m with someone else. They see me out on my own and think I’m an easy target or I’m alone so I must want company, blind to the idea that someone can feel liberated and get excitement out of being truly on their own. Or they are in ‘vacation mindset’ and assume I should be, then, too. And the only reason it has began to grate on me is (1) because it’s been happening so much and (2) because they can’t read social cues to save their lives or just won’t believe that someone couldn’t be interested in them.

For instance, on my last trip to Europe, I found myself in a train station, and a guy and two of his friends asked me where they were supposed to get tickets. I was nice enough to tell them when they asked me directly, and that should have been it. But, this guy then sends his friends to get tickets so he can stay with me, sits next to me, and continues to ask a bunch of questions about where I’m traveling and why I’m there. I do my best to be extremely vague (I don’t know you, and I’m not about to tell you where I’m staying- of course I am polite about it). Where most people would get the hint about my vagueness, he doesn’t. He continues to ask about the stop I’m getting off, where I’m going, and even asks to take my phone and add his number to it. I decline and say I’m only in town for a single night, as this isn’t my final destination. I tell him I’m working and I’d rather not be bothered. He continues to give me his number on paper and repeatedly say he’d love me to spend this night with him. I politely decline, not sure how much longer I can be polite for.

Despite sitting away from him on the train (I purposely said goodbye and went elsewhere), he continues to try to give me candy on the train-getting up and walking all the way to the other car I’m in- and then even comes back to tell me he’s getting off at this stop and goodbye- like I’m going to follow him. As someone who was polite yet not reciprocating of any of his advances, this couldn’t be more frustrating. I’m in a foreign country, I don’t know exactly where I’m going, the last thing I need to worry about is this person who won’t take no for an answer. And the pushiness is not attractive. Of course, it’s even less attractive to ask my age, respond with, “Wow! I thought you could be 18…” and then proceed to ask me out… just don’t.

safely-solo-traveling-as-a-woman

In another city, I was visiting a spa, a place that’s supposed to be relaxing and comforting. Sure, it was a little rowdy because it was Friday night, but still. I was sitting in the thermal baths with my eyes closed and head back- a sure sign that I’m not looking to meet anyone. I’m completely happy and secure in the fact that I’m traveling solo as a woman. Regardless, I get approached by someone asking if I speak English. Then, when I say I do, he continues to talk my ear off nonstop. Again, I was vague; polite yet distant. I kept closing my eyes again saying, “It was nice to meet you.” But this guy just doesn’t get the hint. Finally, it’s time for me to leave, and I eye the clock and get up. He says, “Where are we going?” I have to explain that I’m leaving on my own because I’m working and my time is up and I have to head elsewhere. He continues to ask me out for drinks to which I politely decline.

It may seem innocent, but someone who was at the spa with his friends shouldn’t have to approach someone with their eyes closed, completely in their own world, and try to get up in their face and talk their ear off. It’s more than missed social cues at that point.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that it traveling solo as a woman can be hard because most guys assume you’re there to hook up, you’re looking for someone to have a “good time” with that night (is that ever really a thing?), and they tend to not take no for an answer because you’re by yourself- what else could you be doing? A majority of the people in the world don’t understand someone who enjoys solo travel and thinks you’re looking to meet people. And many people can’t grasp the idea of traveling for work and won’t accept that I’m working and I can’t talk as an answer.

So, men, I ask you to please think twice before approaching a woman on her own while she’s traveling, especially if she looks closed off, and please don’t ask someone out who is wearing a wedding band. It’s okay to be friendly, I’m not saying that it isn’t, but pay attention to social cues as you would in any other situation. And ladies, watch out for yourselves. Value your time first. And if you have to, don’t be afraid to get a little rude if the occasion calls for it. Sometimes, it’s the only way I can enjoy my trip. My travels, even if they are for work, are for me. It’s not my responsibility to entertain someone else who I’m not traveling with because they can’t take a hint; in the end, that only ruins my time. So, be cautious but polite. But never be afraid to put your foot down if you have to. You are allowed to travel alone by yourself, and that’s absolutely okay. And it’s not up to you to make other people understand it.

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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