In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to celebrate some of the fellow travel bloggers and photographers in my community that are paving the way for a new brand of female activist. They may not be working in the government to fight on the front lines for women’s rights or break stereotypes as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but their work and passion are just as important.
Through sharing their travels on social media, these fearless females are inspiring women from all over the world to embrace new cultures, have empathy for global women’s issues, and break apart preconceived notions about particular stereotyped destinations and the people who call these places home.
I truly believe that the more we travel and have personal experiences with other cultures, the more peaceful and equal a place our world will be. In light of all this, I asked 16 women, representing 13 different countries around the globe, to share one piece of advice they would give to other female travelers. Here is what they had to say.
Polina Burashnikova (@Polabur)
- PICTURED: At the Eltz Castle in Germany
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Moscow, Russia
- LIVING NOW: Amsterdam
Always have your portable charger with you. Wear the most comfortable clothes. Get up as early as possible to get the best shots without people. Don’t forget to pack ear plugs since you never know what noises can disturb you during the night (neighbors, party outside, etc). Try getting lost in a new destination on purpose (you might find some unexpected hidden gems).
Katie Purling (@mycolourfulworld_)
- PICTURED: At Lady Bay, Normanville, Australia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Adelaide Hills in South Australia
- LIVING NOW: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
My best travel tip would be to leave your fears and reservations behind, and always be adventurous and open to new experiences. Step outside what you are used to or most comfortable with and just give something new a go. Obviously this has limitations and we do have to be extra careful at times, especially when traveling alone. But all in all, don’t hold back and you will have the time of your life!
Jessica Wright (@BonTraveler)
- PICTURED: At Ben Youssef in Marrakech, Morocco
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Auburn, California
- LIVING NOW: Marin, California
My favorite tip for female travelers is to do your research beforehand and respect local culture – how you dress, dine out, or even greet someone can go a long way.
Kimi Juan (@KimiJuan)
- PICTURED: In Padar Island, Indonesia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Manila, Phillipines
- LIVING NOW: Still living in Manila
I think as a female traveler it’s best to be safe wherever you go, but don’t ever stop or hinder yourself from dreaming and going to all the places you want to go. Live your dreams!
Lee Litumbe (@spiritedpursuit)
- PICTURED: In Dakar, Senegal
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I’m originally from Cameroon, where I was born and spent my childhood. It wasn’t until I was 9 years old that I moved to The States.
- LIVING NOW: USA
For first time solo travelers, I would say start by taking a trip to a new place (it can be domestic or international) that incorporates the things you enjoy doing. That way you have the comfort of doing what you love, but you get to do it in a new environment and will become exposed to new people who also love to do the same things. For instance, if you’re a foodie and like to try new cuisine, maybe plan a trip to Thailand, California, Chicago, or India to go on a food crawl. If you enjoy working out and running, maybe plan a trip to a different city or country and run a marathon there.
Marcy Yu (@Marcy_Yu)
- PICTURED: In Kenya
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I was born in Costa Rica
- LIVING NOW: I’m based in Panama
My advice is to travel to places that are not that popular on social media and not where everyone else is going, as it will give you an advantage and allow you to introduce new destinations to people. Having the opportunity to explore a new or unknown destination (like many countries of Latin America) will allow your photos to become more unique, popular and who knows — maybe people will see it and will want to do the same or recreate it.
Hannah Rheaume (@HannahRheaume)
- PICTURED: On the streets of Havana, Cuba
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Lewiston, Maine, USA
- LIVING NOW: Lewiston, Maine (when I am in one spot long enough)
Be smart. This can mean so many things. Like choosing your destination wisely. Planning ahead and understanding the culture before you arrive. Learning some words in their native tongue…maybe even some of their customs. Know the city limits, where not to go. Best places to eat. Best place to watch the sunset or sunrise. Understand how public transportation works. Really familiarize yourself with the destination before arriving. You will feel less stressed and ready to take on your new destination the minute you step off the plane.
Sophie Clapton (@travelsofsophie)
- PICTURED: At Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I am originally from London, England however I am currently traveling around Australia.
- LIVING NOW: Right now I am living out of a car with a friend I met through social media two days ago!
My biggest advice is probably to trust yourself. Trust your instincts, allow yourself to say yes to the adventures that feel right and to say no to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, regardless of anyone else’s opinions. I’ve had friends tell me I’m crazy for couch surfing or planning a road trip with a guy I’d never met, but they turned out to be the best adventures. However I’ve also packed all my camp site up in record time at midnight before due to some people making me feel uncomfortable. There’s plenty of more practical tips out there but I honestly believe that if you trust yourself then you’ll go far.
Erica Villas (@GirlUnspotted)
- PICTURED: In Taipei, Taiwan
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I was born in the Philippines and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada
- LIVING NOW: Now currently living in the Philippines again
Sometimes it feels like we always need to keep up with our social media during our travels, and that’s okay — it’s a great platform not only to update our friends and family, but to inspire others as well. But you need to maintain a certain balance, otherwise you’re just traveling through the lenses of your camera. Invest more time in being in the moment, instead of capturing the moment. Sure, take a ton of photographs, but don’t travel for that reason. Snapchat/IG stories are fun, but do you really think your friends are watching the entire 930 seconds of it instead of tapping away? Just put the phone down once in a while. Disconnect a little. Trust me, the unseen versions are always the most unforgettable ones.
Marina Comes (@MarinaComes)
- PICTURED: At the Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona, Spain
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Spain
- LIVING NOW: I was born in Tarragona, but I’ve been living in Barcelona for many years now. Both cities are located in Catalonia, a region in Spain.
Drop your fears and let your destinations surprise you. Get in touch with locals and try to discover the country from within…forget about all you’ve heard about a place and live it your way.
Mel Vandersluis (@mvandersluis)
- PICTURED: In Bali, Indonesia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Montreal, Canada
- LIVING NOW: Montreal, Canada is where I currently live when I’m not traveling.
I love Instagram for several reasons, but one of them being that you can make friends all over the world. When you finally visit that place, you can meet up with those people (as long as you feel comfortable). Not only does that mean you’ll have someone with you, but it helps to have a local who knows the area who can tell you all the dos and don’ts.
Alina Rudya (@Rrrudya)
- PICTURED: At the Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Ukraine
- LIVING NOW: For the past 7 years, I’ve been living in Berlin, Germany and traveling the world intensively.
Honestly, I don’t like dividing travelers into women and men. I think we all are equal when it comes to adventure, excitement and joy, which comes from discovering new cultures, places and people. Nevertheless, I do understand that traveling solo as a woman can be more dangerous and require precaution when going to places with different cultures and traditions. Generally though, I want to encourage more women to travel and discover the world, since I still see that the word “adventure“ is much more often associated with male rather than with female character.
Christine Wedberg (@AlienChrisBlog)
- PICTURED: In Zagreb, Croatia
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Stockholm, Sweden
- LIVING NOW: I don’t have a base right now, and I haven’t had one for over 1.5 years. Between my travels, I stay for a longer period somewhere in the world. For example: I’m going to stay in Greece for one month after my trips to Iceland and Italy this year. I don’t have a plan to settle somewhere soon since I love how my life is right now – free, adventurous, and spontaneous!
Make sure to embrace this time of your life. Traveling the world is one of the best things you can do, so make sure to make the most out of it. Make memories, go loco, conquer your fears, and travel to the places you always wanted to go to. It might sound a bit cliché, but you only live once! Just go and have your own adventures that you’ve always dreamt of – I promise you, you won’t regret it!
Samita Santoshini (@Sam_Wanderlust)
- PICTURED: In Hallstatt, Austria
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I am originally from India. Was born and brought up in the green tea gardens of North East of India.
- LIVING NOW: Oxford, UK
My only advice to female travelers is to believe in themselves and plan that trip that they have always wanted to go on and do it, instead of waiting for the right time, right opportunity and most of all, the right person to go with. As a solo female traveler, I think being aware of oneself and the surroundings is key to a peaceful travel experience.
Michelle Halpern (@Livelikeitsthewknd)
- PICTURED: Hiking Rainbow Mountain in Peru
- ORIGINALLY FROM: I was born in Miami but grew up in Maine
- LIVING NOW: I split my time between California and Virginia when I’m not frolicking around the globe.
For at least one day of every trip you take, make a point to throw out your plan and see where spontaneity takes you. Wander aimlessly letting your heart lead you down streets you didn’t already know existed. Guide your exploration based on the strangers you meet and the energy of the day. Often in traveling we get wrapped up in having each moment fit like a puzzle into a well-strategized itinerary, but I find that some of the best travel moments are uncovered when I let it all flow naturally.
Julia Reiterics (@Chicchoolee)
- PICTURED: At the Keemala Villa in Phuket, Thailand
- ORIGINALLY FROM: Austria
- LIVING NOW: I still have my home base in Austria, but I am traveling a lot.
Go, and don’t be afraid to discover our beautiful world! You will never ever regret it.
Thank you to all of the amazing women who made this post possible! Please make sure to go follow them on Instagram to continue following their journeys around the world.
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