Here's How Estela Travelled To 40 Countries And Found The Kindest People In The Most Dangerous Places
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19th Jun | 10 min read

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    Estela is a passionate traveler from Spain. After several trips by herself, she created her project #QuieroViajarSola in 2018, the blog and community for solo female travelers in Spanish. She hopes to inspire women to take their luggage and go travel around the world!

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    What Inspired Me To Start Traveling

    I think I have been traveling my whole life. First during holidays with my family, then with friends, and more recently, solo. I started traveling solo in 2016 and since then I can’t stop. It is liberating!

    Activities I Enjoy When Traveling

    Before the pandemic, I traveled frequently, particularly abroad. Some of my most recent trips before the lockdown were to Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada, and in recent months, I have traveled to Spain, including the Camino de Santiago.

    I enjoy being in contact with nature and walking, but also visiting old places and beautiful landscapes. So I try to incorporate all of that into my trips.

    How I Choose Where To Travel Next & How Long To Stay

    I usually travel to places that I really want to go to and that are appealing to solo female travelers, so that I can show my followers what it's like to visit those places solo. I begin by researching what to see and do in that location, then decide to travel there.

    Then I look for flight deals and finally book hostels and activities, leaving some room for improvisation. I like to be surprised by the places I visit and learn about things that don't appear in travel guides.

    The amount of time I spend traveling is entirely dependent on the destination. If I go to a country that is far from Spain, I try to stay for at least a month so that I can really explore it and explore its culture, whereas, in Europe, I tend to go on shorter trips because it is easier to visit many of its destinations.

    How I Pack for My Trip

    If I'm going on a short city trip, I usually travel with a small suitcase, but if the trip is long or includes a lot of outdoor activities, I pack my backpack.  Since I work online, I usually take my laptop with me. Also, I can’t travel without a book and one of the most precious gadgets for solo travelers- a light tripod to take pictures since I don’t have a companion who can take them for me. 

    Read more: Lisa Is An Experienced Digital Nomad On A Mission To Inspire Others To Feel The Empowerment Of Solo Travel!

    The Safety Precautions I Take When Traveling Solo

    Most of the places I’ve traveled solo to were much safer than what people or the media usually say about them, although that doesn’t mean there are no risks, of course. I always travel with travel insurance, try to arrive at my destination during the day, book accommodations in safe neighborhoods, and don't go out alone late at night.

    Also, when I go hiking in nature, I study the path beforehand and prepare well for it, checking the weather forecast and taking with me enough water and food, adequate clothing, or an extra battery charge. 

    Read more: 137 Countries And Counting: This Is How Danay Travels 11 Months Out Of The Year Without A Full-Time Job

    My Take On Exploring Tourist Spots vs Hidden Gems

    In total, I've visited more than 40 countries in my life, among which 18 of them were on my own in the last five years.

    I believe that a trip should include both tourist attractions and hidden gems; the former is usually very characteristic, important, or typical of a destination, while the latter shows the traveler's reality and how people live.

    That's why I try to take long trips with plenty of room for improvisation, so I can get a glimpse of a destination's true soul.

    As an example, consider one of the last days of my trip to Turkey. I had been exploring a lot of destinations around the country (Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir, Antalya) and the last one was Kars, close to the border with Armenia.

    To get there, I took a train from Kayseri that took an entire day to arrive, passing through beautiful landscapes. I was one of the few foreign travelers doing that journey.

    The next day, after arriving in Kars, I took a tour to the ruins of the ancient city of Ani, and once again, the majority of the passengers were Turkish, except a Canadian, a Frenchman, and myself.  It didn't matter that we couldn't understand each other because of the language; the Turks had all agreed to meet for dinner that night and had invited us to join them.

    In the end, we all ended up watching a show of Kafkasya, a traditional Caucasian dance, and having a great time. Before meeting them, I had no idea such a show existed and was performed in the city!

    Read more: Hannah's Top Destinations For Solo Female Travel & How To Use Unpaid Time & Holidays To Get There

    The Travel Apps or Websites I Use on My Solo Trips

    Google Maps is a must-have app for me. For me, it is very important to get to know where I am all the time when traveling solo, and also, it provides a lot of information about places to visit in every destination all over the world.

    In many cities, their "Directions" feature is very helpful, as it tells you how to move from one place to another with public transportation.

    When traveling abroad, it is also very handy to have a currency converter and good translator apps.

    In general, I use many social media apps to update my profiles and show everything I do during the trip to my followers. 

    Read more: Steff’s Career As A Digital Nomad & Solo Traveler Started Ten Years Ago Out Of ‘Necessity’

    How I Travel on a Budget

    When planning my trips, I always try to keep costs as low as possible, for example, by comparing flights ahead of time and staying at hostels rather than hotels, especially when traveling alone. It is important to choose hostels with a kitchen for long trips so I can cook and save money by not eating outside.

    I always walk a lot in the cities I visit, and if they are big, I use public transport instead of taxis or private rides.

    Also, I usually do a lot of activities outdoors, and if I want to visit a lot of museums or monuments in a city, I check beforehand if there is a tourist card that allows me to save some money on entrance tickets. 

    Read more: How This Woman Supports Herself Abroad Working On Pinterest

    Some of My Favorite Solo Travel Stories 

    The first one was my visit to Machu Picchu, in Peru. I had dreamed of visiting this place for ages, so I knew I had to enjoy it as much as possible when I decided to go.

    Therefore, instead of taking the typical day tour from Cusco that only allows you to visit the archeological site for a few hours, I stayed two nights in Aguas Calientes, the town close by, so I could enter Machu Picchu in the morning and leave in the afternoon, with no hurry.

    It was a great decision because once all the people visiting the place with tours were gone, I had Machu Picchu almost to myself. Being alone in that historical and beautiful place was magical. 

    The second one was in Berlin, Germany. I had traveled solo for New Year’s Eve and I really wanted to go to the party that takes place in front of the Brandenburg Gate, but I thought that maybe one night like that one would be boring to be just by myself.

    I checked the events in Couchsurfing to see if there were any plans I could join, but there were none, so I decided to create one myself. To my surprise, around 50 people were interested to join me! Not all of them came in the end, but we were a very nice group of people from all over the world. It was the craziest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever lived! 

    Read more: After Quitting Her Career Of 15 Years, Kelly Moved Into Her RV And Has Been Traveling Around The USA Ever Since!

    Some Challenges of Traveling Solo

    The pandemic is currently the only thing keeping me from traveling more. Otherwise, I'd be traveling to some faraway destinations, as I've done in the last few years. 

    With time, I have realized that there are no real impediments to traveling nowadays (except in situations like the current one, which affects the entire world) because technology has made everything very simple.

    If you have a translator app on your phone, you won't have to worry about other languages. You can travel quickly to the other side of the world, and if you don't mind leaving behind certain commodities, you can find a lot of offers to travel cheaply.

    Aside from that, I know many female travelers are concerned about their safety when traveling alone, and many of them will not do so because they are afraid something bad will happen to them, which is logical.

    On the one hand, many women are killed every day around the world simply for being women; on the other hand, we women grow up being told we shouldn't do this or that, and, of course, that we shouldn't go out on our own because the world is dangerous. And, yes, the world is dangerous, but then so are your city and your home.

    Over the last five years, I've traveled solo to many places around the world, some of which were considered dangerous, such as South America or Turkey, but what I discovered there was kindness and loving people.

    I've never felt unsafe traveling alone, and whenever I had a problem, there were people nearby who were happy to help me out. The world is a beautiful place, and luckily, there are many good people all over it.

    Read more: Marching To The Beat Of Her Own Drum: Kiara Explains Why She Prefers Taking Solo Trips Over Traveling With Other People

    My Advice to New Solo Female Travelers

    Traveling alone is a very different experience than traveling with friends or with your significant other. It is a great exercise to get to know yourself better, discovering your limits, learning how to solve problems on your own, gaining confidence, and becoming more aware of everyone and everything around you, so I simply say "Do it!"

    When you travel alone, you have an incredible sense of freedom, and there are many more good things than bad things waiting for you out there. You don't have to go to the other side of the world or travel for a long time to experience it, and if you're not having a good time on your own, the solution is as simple as booking a ticket back home. As I previously stated, traveling is very easy nowadays, so allow yourself to do so and see what happens!

    New to our blog? Here are some of our inspiring solo female traveler's stories worth checking! 

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