You’ve been dreaming of booking that trip overseas ever since you could walk and talk. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
You have a bucket list of destinations written down in a journal that is currently collecting dust. You can’t rely on your friends to have time off work to come with you. You come to the conclusion that you’re going to have to get past your greatest fears and challenges and gather up the courage to do it all alone.
You give yourself the pep talk, and you get excited every time you think about it.
But, you still have one more obstacle standing in your way….
I’ve spoken to and coached so many women who have expressed that one of their greatest fears is not necessarily having the confidence to travel solo, but the fear of disappointing their family and close friends for plenty of reasons.
Many of us know that our family will always have their concerns when it comes to thinking about traveling alone. They will most likely fear for our safety, how we will survive and fund ourselves, and how we will be able to do it all alone without anyone to lean on for support during challenging times. Those are just some examples of why your family might have objections to you wanting to travel solo as a female.
In my last post I talked about breaking free from the expectations of your family. More specifically, I gave you a glimpse into what my life looked like 6 years ago before I decided to take the leap of faith and travel solo.
You can revisit that blog if you haven’t yet read it yet…
I am going to provide you with some TOP TIPS on how to prepare for your first ever solo trip even when your family is currently unsupportive.
These are the tips I wish someone had given me because boy did I make life hard for myself back then.
Don’t tell your family about your plans right away!
Yes, you read that right. Parents will always parent you know matter how old you are. They will always be worried about you, especially if you still live at home and drop this bomb on them. Get into the habit of practicing your independence before you start traveling. I made this mistake years ago. I always confided in my family no matter what it was about.
I was pretty much shooting myself in the foot. Asking for advice from others often leads to more confusion. You have a vision of what you want to do. You ask your mom or better yet your grandma if she thinks it’s a good idea. She says no, and gives you all the reasons why she thinks so. You walk away feeling more confused than you were, frustrated and angry. You actually start to believe, “maybe she’s right, I can’t travel alone – it’s too dangerous!”
What to do instead:
Don’t tell them about your plans. First, come up with a plan. You know that old saying, “actions speak louder than words?” That’s your motto now.
Sit down and do some deep research:
Research the country you want to visit – find out about the culture customs (e.g. do you need to bring appropriate attire that covers your shoulders/knees?
Look up flights
Look for accommodation options
Look up transportation options within that country (local buses, trains, ferries)
Look up travel insurance
Read as many blogs as you can that give you tips on traveling to that country, or follow bloggers like myself who give you helpful advice and guidance for traveling solo for the first time
P.S. I will be releasing a tutorial soon on how to do all of the above steps to find the best budget deals and how to do the most effective research. Trust me, I’ll be saving you hours of YouTube binges and Google searching till’ the wee hours of the morning. Reply in the comments below if you would be interested. Or send me an email on topics you would like covered in this tutorial that I may have missed in the steps above.
You might also want to sit down with yourself and evaluate your spending habits & make a budget plan:
Create a budget spreadsheet for how you will start saving NOW
Sell & flip some things you own to have a bit of extra cushion
Stop buying $6 Starbucks coffee’s every damn day or any other expensive habit you have (e.g. getting your nails done every two weeks)
Don’t go on shopping sprees – when you go backpacking solo for the first time, I promise you’ll end up living in one bikini the entire time…
Start transferring 50% or more of your paycheck into your travel savings account NOW
If you haven’t completed these steps first and foremost, then there is no reason to tell your family about your big extravagant plan. Because likely, if your mom is anything like my mom… She’s going to want to see the logistics behind this grandiose plan that you have. Instead I want you to prepare. Don’t pull the trigger, and blab about your loose plans just yet if you are worried about objections.
2. Don’t go asking your friends for advice either!
You might have a core group of friends right now who might always give you amazing advice when it comes to your love life… But most likely not. It’s great to confide in your girlfriends once in a while, but your close friends can often rub off on you just like your family does.
They love you and have the best intentions for you too. They might ask you, “How will you afford this? Are you going to just quit your job? What about ____?”
Again, you will be left confused, frustrated, and angry.
Maybe you have a friend you have traveled with in the past, but you know they can’t come with you on this next trip you want to go on. Or maybe, your friends don’t have the desire to travel solo as you do. That’s totally fine. But if your friend is Salty Sally who sees the negative in every situation, then she likely won’t have good things to say to you when you tell her that you are thinking about solo travel. Maybe she’s not salty, but rather scared. Scared Sally will fear for your safety just like your mom does.
What to do instead:
Instead of telling them about your plans, ask them if they would ever consider traveling alone. Take note of what they say. Maybe they will surprise you and say, “heck yes!” Then you have awesome friends that will push you to go outside your comfort zone.
Maybe they will give you plenty of objections, and you can reflect on these later and see if you agree with any of the above. Or better yet, why you disagree with all of the objections. You know for a fact that there are women out there who have done it.
So why can’t you?
Don’t listen to Sally.
Continue with your research and feel more prepared than ever before you embark on your first ever solo trip.
3. Start practicing self-sustainability and independence NOW.
What I mean by this is start re-wiring your brain to believing that you are a true independent self. That’s right – you don’t need anybody to tell you otherwise.
Go on walks, hikes, and bike rides by yourself. Read a book alone in the park, walk the streets and shops on your own, eat alone, or even go see a movie alone.
Start believing that you are a confident woman who doesn’t need anybody.
I’m not saying to become totally selfish and live forever in solitude. I’m telling you to practice being comfortable with being in your own company. Practice solving your own problems, before going to someone else to ask for help or advice.
When you travel solo, there will be times when you will be alone. BUT, there will also be plenty of opportunities to make new friends – so don’t fear. This is something I’ll talk about in another post.
Whatever it is that you decide to do alone NOW, get so good at being independent that no one can make you feel like you need someone’s approval ever again. Not even your family or close friends.
4. Hit your family with your verbal presentation PREPARED right before you leave.
At this point, you would have completed all the previous steps I mentioned above. Your family has witnessed how independent you truly are. You might go to the extra step and have a PowerPoint presentation planned for your parents on all the logistics behind your first ever solo trip. Okay – maybe a bit too far. But you do you.
You are telling them about your plans. You are not asking for permission. I would suggest telling them about the plans weeks to a month before you will leave. Don’t start telling them about this a year or two in advance. They won’t take it seriously, because well you haven’t done all the above steps I’ve mentioned. It will make it a lot less stressful for you and them. You won’t have to handle any objections while you quietly prepare for this, and this can give you a lot more clarity and peace.
Okay, maybe if you’re under 18 and you don’t have a way to fund this yourself… then you are going to need to ask for permission.
But, I am talking to the independent women here who are over 18, ready to take life into their own hands.
You already have things planned out. No, you don’t need to have everything booked already. But, show them that you have done the research, you know where you can stay, how you will stay safe, etc.
Tell them that this is your life and you are responsible for your happiness. You are an adult after all. They will support your decision…eventually.
Just be patient if you don’t get the response you were hoping for. They will come around.
It’s the hardest bit. Dealing with the objections from your family. But you are prepared. You know that you can do this. And ultimately, they can’t really stop you.
5. Handle Objections in a calm matter and hit them with some reverse Psychology questions!
If your family hits you with a bunch of objections even though you followed all the steps, then I want you to try this next approach.
If your mom says, “I still don’t feel comfortable with you going off on your own. What if someone takes advantage of you, or you get lost/hurt?”
You reply, “Have I gone to places on my own here?”
Mom, “Well, yes… but it’s HERE!”
You: “Bad things can happen anywhere. Every single place has the potential to be unsafe or dangerous. But if I was so afraid all the time, then I would probably be a hermit hiding in my room. Would you want me to do that?”
Mom: “Of course not, but at least we are here if anything bad happens to you!”
You: “You’re right, but you will always be a phone call away to help me if needed. Don’t you want me to be independent and learn on my own? I bet you don’t want me stuck in your house forever?”
Maybe at this point your mom will agree with you. She will understand that she needs to let you go. You need to go off into this world and learn to be on your own. Because how else do we learn and grow if we don’t face adversity on our own, without our parents constantly holding out hands?
Try to ask these questions in a calm way. Yelling and arguing won’t allow you to have an open and vulnerable conversation. Instead, the topic will be closed and you will feel like you’re not being heard. The trick is to ask thought provoking questions that will help your parents realize that you are capable of being independent and safe on your solo travels.
6. Hire a Travel Coach
Yes I am going to do some self-promotion here, because I am a solo travel coach. I’ve been an expert solo traveler for 6 years now. I wish I had someone to prepare me for dealing with the lack of support I received from my family years ago.
Travel coaches are different to travel agents or travel consultants. Travel coaches help you push past your fears and obstacles pertaining to traveling. Dealing with the weight of disappointing your family is a big burden to go through all on your own. Travel coaches like myself work on mindset and personal empowerment.
I help women find the confidence within to break through any obstacles and fears they may have. Dealing with family objections is a huge specialty of mine – in fact I pride myself to be an expert here.
If you want an accountability buddy who will help you break through some of the challenges you face when it comes to your families’ lack of support for traveling solo, then look no further.
What I have just provided you with is the WHAT behind this topic. If you choose to work with me, I will dive deep into the HOW. Specifically, how can we prepare you to deal with your family’s objections and many other fears that may be holding you back from taking off on your first solo trip!
Let me know what you thought of this in the comments below.
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Thanks for reading,
May 27, 2020
I absolutely love this post, and find that some of these tips are incredibly valuable; especially tip #1 – It is so true that we live most of our backpacking trips in one bikini, two pairs of shorts and a few sarongs! Save your money for souvenir shopping and none of the pre-departure shopping. Great stuff!
Aww thank you Elena! Right – you really don’t end up needing much at all 🙂 I love that travel has turned me into a minimalist!