“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” – Mary Anne Radmacher.
For some people, traveling is more like a vacation where they'd relax and chill by the beaches or soak in the sunshine at some hill station, while for others, traveling is a way of living life. Esther Susag - a well-known Instagram Influencer with more than 80K followers - surely belongs to the second group and she's made a choice to explore and represent her unique journey through her lenses. Being a traveler myself, I know what it feels like to be free and adventurous - to flap the wings and fly around this beautiful world, witnessing the mesmerizing landscapes and experiencing things out of the box!
Her journey as a photographer and content creator began when she was studying in Ecuador and then the next year got the chance to travel across 12 countries during her term with Semester at Sea. The seed of wanderlust was sown then, and there was no looking back! After graduating, she found the perfect opportunity for more exploration — a seasonal job in Guam where once she was done working there, she was able to backpack Asia for 4 months. Later, she moved to Germany and started living in the outskirts of Munich, which has become her home base while she continues with her journeys!
During a recent conversation with Esther, she cared to share some useful tips that she has learned through her experiences, which can be essentially useful for female solo travelers.
Here’s a list of some worthy advice for female solo travelers from Esther Susag that she learned from her own experiences over the years.
1. Don't hesitate to take the leap.
While traveling solo might seem extremely overwhelming and a tad bit intimidating in the beginning, it's gonna change the way you look at life. It'll fill you with a sense of empowerment and happiness.
2. 'Being unsafe' is a myth!
There are various misconceptions about the safety issues of female travelers, but once you set out, you'd realize that the world isn't that bad! Yeah, you need to be careful with your money and valuables, also avoid going to shady places at night, and trust your gut - that's it.
3. Start your solo traveling from both popular and unpopular destinations.
If you haven’t solo traveled before, smaller cities like Budapest, Dubrovnik, and Prague are great places to check out. But also, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and discover hidden gems. Some of the best experiences can come from exploring a place that isn’t on every “top destination” list. Research before you leave your hometown, make a list of places you wish to see, and make a tentative plan (you can always tweak it as you go) - this will make things easier for you in the beginning. And once you become a pro and gain more confidence, you will probably find yourself doing things a little more spontaneously.
4. Stay at hostels or Airbnb accommodations.
For solo female travelers, the best option is to stay at hostels where you'd get to meet other travelers (always check out reviews to find the best ones that fit your needs). Don't be shy to say 'Hi' to someone, and initiate a conversation. Hostels are perfect to socialize and you might just find someone to tag along with you for a day trip! Other than that, Airbnb accommodations are also great for those who are seeking a bit of privacy. The hosts are usually friendly and always keen to help travelers, suggesting places to visit and popular things that locals do in that particular region.
5. For first-timers, get a local SIM card when you land in a new country.
If this is your first big solo adventure and is seeking a bit more security, getting a SIM card can be the perfect way to help ease any nervousness. It can help you navigate your way through all the adventures you have ahead. Anything from finding your accommodation to finding the best sunset spot. It will also make keeping your friends and family updated back home a breeze! Getting a local SIM card is pretty easy and you'd mostly find shops at the airport itself. Make sure you have access to Google Maps and other necessary apps, and life as a solo female traveler will get easy!
6. Don't hesitate to spend that extra buck!
Often, people are in two minds when it comes to spending money on an experience that is a little expensive or buying a souvenir, grabbing dinner at that restaurant with the beautiful view, etc. But Esther says that it can 'Make your trip experience'! Spending a few extra bucks here and there can actually end up offering you experiences that become the highlight of your journey and etches a mark on your mind.
While sharing these tips, she also mentioned her journey around New Zealand, where she took a campervan and drove around the postcard-perfect destinations, living life to the fullest. She remembered all the amazing people she met on the way and the experiences she gathered, which still fetches a smile on her face. Esther also traveled to Guatemala with a small group of classmates, back in 2016, to volunteer for a community development program and contribute towards an effective social cause.
In a post she shared on Instagram, Esther wrote: "Before I traveled I had a hard time going with the flow. I lived by having a plan. I needed to know what was happening and when it was happening. When things got derailed it completely threw me for a loop. Traveling nearly full time for the last few years has shown me how to live more freely and now as buses are late, flights are canceled, things get stolen, I have become a person who realizes that life goes on and it will always end up okay. Traveling can change you in ways you never thought it could. This is just one way it’s changed me. Go. Do it. Go travel. Experience the world."
If you’re contemplating about taking a leap of faith to travel solo, then now is the time to book that ticket and experience life like never before!