Solo or not, all travel companies attest to an increase in women travellers. The reasons could be many — a chance to break free from personal and professional shackles, the exhilaration of seeing new sights and sounds or the adrenaline-filled moments of travelling without any plan with just the stars to guide you on your journey.
For Thiruvananthapuram-based Sobha Viswanath, who runs Weavers Village, travelling solo was a way to face her biggest fear. She says “I have always travelled in a group. But I had to travel alone due to circumstances and gathering courage, I took off to Goa alone.”
Not a good idea said naysayers, but Sobha conquered her fear of travelling solo. Goa is now her second home and she went on to travel to Kolkata, Mumbai, Tirupati, Amritsar and Punjab.
Sobha cautions, “ Wherever I go, I have guardians and I do my basic planning regarding lodging and logistics. Travelling is about new experiences — the people, food, culture and the sights.”
Sajna Ali who runs the travel site Appooppanthaadi has provided travel experiences to women groups of all ages. Present in her groups are an increasing number of students as well as mother-daughter duos. Hampi and Badami are her favourite destinations. Giving pointers for solo travellers, she informs, “Check for valid entry permits and carry clothing according to the weather. A must-carry is first aid. Also, check the itinerary. Lodging details need to be shared with your close friends or family.”
Sajna is often asked about the safest destinations for solo women travellers. She says, “Frankly, there is no answer but what is needed is for women to be alert all the time and to know whether it is safe to step out at night.” Sobha ends by adding, “Talk to the locals, they know best.”...