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Female traveling alone ATW by train, bus, and boat

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Female traveling alone ATW by train, bus, and boat

1. Posted by jaynna (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

So, I'm planning a year off from work and want to do an around the world trip (with a 3 - 6 month stop in Africa to do some volunteer work) and decided I would try to do my trip as enviornmentally conscious as possible which means no flying and traveling by bus, train, and boat. This of course introduces not only new adventures but also new complications. I have plotted possible destinations. These destinations are mostly speculation and most of them not set in stone. Here is a link to my google map with the destinations. I'm hoping for ideas and insights into embarking on such a trip alone as a female.

  • Am I crazy for trying this alone as a female?
  • Areas/Countries that I have plotted out to avoid traveling alone as a female.
  • How feasible is it to get visas as I go and not all of them before embarking on the trip?
  • Which countries make it difficult to get visas?
  • Is a 6 - 9 months enough to do this sort of trip without flying?
  • Recommendations on whether to go by bus or train in a particular country
  • Other useful resources/websites for planning such a trip
  • And the catch all...what else should I be concerned with??

Oh, and I have traveled a bit. Mostly for work but for sure some pleasure also. I lived in Europe for 2.5 years and so have seen almost all of western Europe. So, I understand about not being stupid, keeping an open eye and ear while traveling, not being flashy in what you have on you, etc.

Many thanks!

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 10, 2008, at 1:36 PM by jaynna ]

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Have you seen this blog - Babs to Brisbane (and back)? Someone called Barbara who lives in Wales (UK) headed overland & sea to Brisbane, Australia and then back again - getting back about a year ago.

3. Posted by Whit's (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi! I'm planning to do the same thing myself - solo with no planes! I've travelled alone before and while it can be a bit freaky it is very very empowering. Going to go check out your route now. Whit

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 10, 2008, at 6:54 PM by Whit's ]

4. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

No you are not crazy.

I met a lot of women traveling out there alone. Especially in Iran. I think whether you are male of female when traveling alone you need to take precautions. For me I know whenever I took out my camera (SLR) in a difficult situation, lets say alone in a taxi at night in new city, it always made me nervous. Being with some one else is that little buffer that helps you out a lot. Travelling alone means you gotta think outside the box alot. It can be distracting but it's also a great way to learn how to look after yourself

Having said that traveling alone is one of the greatest things to do. You learn more about yourself and how the world perceives you that way.

I traveled from Portugal to China overland so if I can be of any help just send me a PM.

All the best in you trip

5. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I obviously can't offer first hand info on your original query, but i would say that no, you are not crazy doing it alone as a female. Obviously sometimes its harder as female, but on the flip side, somethings are easier. It all depends where you go, but provided you have a bit of travel experience and have good instincts/judgement and use them, you should be fine.

6months (Assuming you work 6 in Africa) is not long to travel around the world by surface if you want to see places on the way. Also, if you are on a strict timeframe (eg. have to be back by a certain date), you might struggle.

There are certain places that i think you will need to change for logistical reasons, unless (or possibly even without) planning really far in advance. Your Russian sector looks extremely optimistic in the timeframe without using planes. Weather/Seasons and language will also have an affect.

It is perfectly possible to go around the globe without flying, but you need flexibility - if you wait for specific journeys to become available, you can easily loose a month stuck in one place. Thus work out exactly what your aim is, and where you will be prepared to sacrifice at short notice simply due to what transport options are available. Also do some research into commercial boat services - freighters etc are a great way to travel, but these days it is harder to essentially hitch on freighters (and virtually impossible to work your passage as crews are skeletal even on the biggest ships as everything is automated), and whilst there are several companies who offer all sorts of possibilities - including RTW - on freighters/Cargo boats, popular routes can book up well in advance (12-18mths+ ahead in cases) as passenger numbers are very strictly registered and enforced for legal reasons.

I've done a bit of surface travel, so may be able to help on some queries/problems you may have. Feel free to message me or post here.

But very best of luck indeed, and let us know how your planning goes.