Should a Young Woman Travel Alone?

Over on the City-Data forums rathernotsayyy is mulling a decision that many young would-be travelers have difficulty with.

Should I spend a lot of money (or at least a lot of money for a 20-something) and take a long backpacking trip or should I play it safer, save my money, and keep my nose to the grindstone?

The travel could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and could possibly have life changing implications in terms of the way someone views the world and their place in it.

Then again, the trip could be dangerous and less than imagined … on top of being really expensive. You could come home broke, unemployed and disillusioned. That is, if you come home at all.

rathernotsayyy weighs the scales this way:

I am a 24 year old female that has recently become obsessed with the idea of backpacking through Europe in the fall of 2016. I feel like I need to do this at some point in my 20’s, or else it will be my greatest regret for the rest of my life.

I have what someone without wanderlust would consider a good situation right now. I have a stable job (thought it’s boring), a nice apartment, and most of the people I love are close by.

On the other hand, I’ll have had what I’m sure will be one of the most life changing and beautiful experiences. … I sometimes feel like I’m suffocating because there’s so much out there I have yet to see.

What I really enjoy about the ensuing discussion is the amount and quality of advice offered by fellow travelers. I mean, there is great advice given on a lot of threads – and a lot of threads with similar discussion topics to boot – but this particular thread seems to be even more chock full of good advice than usual.

I can’t really speak from experience as I’ve never done a trip like you’re suggesting but I do know one thing. It’s usually better to do something and regret it than never do it at all and wonder what if ~WannabeCPA

you may be practicing all-or-nothingism. The idea that if you don’t do a long backpacking trip in your 20s, that you will never travel (or have regrets as you say). …


It’s a matter of choices and options over a lifetime, not just over a decade (your 20s). ~Back to NE

Don’t let money and job prevent you from having a more interesting and fulfilling life. …


Travel is not for the sake of telling people which countries I have been to. Travel is the best medicine for narrow mindedness and ignorance ~botticelli

That’s only a small sampling, but it’s some truly inspiring stuff. And on a more practical level, eureka1 offers some advice that could be useful to many younger workers who want to take a big trip:

See if you can get a once in a lifetime leave of absence from work. Point out to them that you’re only going for two months and it will take them that much time to select and hire someone to replace you

Read this entertaining and enlightening thread in its entirety: I am constantly torn between traveling alone for 2 months, even though it scares me, or playing it safe where I am…

Aire” by Eleazar. CC BY 2.0.


  1. Traveling alone has been one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences of my life. Yes, there are moments that might be intimidating, but as a young woman who has gotten over the fear of traveling alone, I certainly have matured and enriched myself in ways that no textbook could ever teach me.

    Of course, I highly recommend being assertive and not naive. You have to understand “street smarts” to some degree, and most importantly, use your best asset – your intuition to assess people and situations. Now get out and travel! 🙂

  2. To travel in your 20’s when you have little or no responsibilities is an opportunity that should not be missed. As you get older you generally have things in your life that do not allow for you to travel for extended periods, so IMO Go for it!

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