Photograph: Shoreditch, London, by Sophia Al-Irimi
Why I set up GirlsThatTravel.com
Hi! I'm Gemma, and I've had the solo travel bug ever since I was a child! I grew up in Durham, in the North-East of England and started my solo travels aged 12, when I would beg my Mum 'pleeeeease can I go to Newcastle by myself!?' (note, Newcastle is only 14 miles from Durham, but to me it was a HUGE city!)- she reluctantly agreed and I was allowed to go on the bus by myself. I found solo travel so liberating - I could do what I wanted, when I wanted. Even being alone was a novelty back then. I've been hooked ever since.
About fourteen years ago, aged 23, I set off on my very first solo backpacking trip, heading to Bangkok via a two night stay in Dubai, then moving on to overland throughout South-East Asia and Australia. Looking back, I didn't have a clue what I was doing! But it was honestly the best thing I have ever done for my confidence, and for my life experience. I have never felt so free and alive. Since then I've been on many more solo trips, but what I would have loved, was a resource for solo female travellers like myself.
Can I travel solo?
Short answer - yes! Whether you're an aspiring first time solo traveller, want to step out of your travelling comfort zone, or would just like insider tips, travel hacks, destination guides and interviews with the women who have done it, you're in the right place.
First time solo traveller?
I'm here to help! The blog is full of tips to get you started. It can be SO daunting when you're about to set off on your own for the first time (I still have vivid memories of the butterflies I got when booking my first round the world trip - and that was just in the travel agent's office!). This post - 11 essential tips for the first time backpacker - may help ease your nerves and help you get packing (whether you're backpacking or taking a weekend hotel break). And this post - The 11 best first time solo travel destinations may help you decide on where to go first!
The best places to stay and eat as a solo traveller
And of course the best things to do! Wanna hire a bike on your own in Barcelona? Or simply looking for the best tapas spots (and how to avoid those long queues?) Whether you're a first timer or an experienced solo traveller, I'm so glad you're here! My blog gives you access to destination guides, real life reports from on-the-road and some great hacks to get a more authentic experience, discover local gems and even save some money along the way (what's not to love? ;)
Solo travel is one of the best things you will ever do
Ever spent yet another morning commute scrolling through inspirational Instagram travel pics? Solo travel is not just something 'other people do' - anyone can do it! You don't need thousands and thousands of hard earned dollars or pounds to make it possible.
Still feeling a little anxious? As Hannah Stuart-Leach mentions in this great post, "Great, pivotal changes haven’t happened in my life due to me lounging around in front of the TV in my slipper socks."
I'm here to help you plan your trip, stay safe, and make the most of your precious travel time when you get there. I'm hoping that this blog will grow to become the ultimate guide to solo female travel. I'm so stoked with the positive response so far and I'm thrilled to have been featured on BBC Womans Hour and Mashable.
On my first ever solo trip, to keep me company, I brought along the works of wonderful travel writers like Michael Palin and Bill Bryson, and although they were fine companions, what I really wanted were more travel narratives written by women. For that reason, I put a call out on social media, for submissions to my book, and was inundated. This has inspired me to also take the next step and create a blog, an online resource packed with advice, interviews and tips from female solo travellers.
Taking to the road alone is a brave decision. A Girls' Guide to Travelling Alone: Inspiring true tales from solo women travellers is an eye-opening, honest and inspiring on-the-road companion. Richly varied, these witty, challenging and sometimes uncomfortable travel stories have been written by women of all ages, nationalities, backgrounds and experiences, each with a compelling tale to tell.
Share your story
I would love to feature your story on this website. I'm always keen to read about exciting experiences from solo female travellers. I will also be looking for guest writers for the blog, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also submit your photographs to feature on our website. I will add a picture credit with your name and a link to your blog, twitter or instagram feed :)