Backpacking Alone

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Backpacking Alone

My daughter is planning to backpack around Europe when she completes her teaching degree next year. I would rather she went with someone not on her own. Is it safe to backpack around on your own or is it better to do it in pairs or a group say? Would love your opinion.


In my opinion, she must not go there alone.  Many things can happen along the way and in cases of emergency, where can she go for help?  Besides, it is much more exciting and enjoyable to go with a group rather than go on a trip like that all alone by yourself.  Hope this helps.

I tend to agree with Helen.

I tend to agree with Helen. If she absolutely wants to go alone, she should avoid Eastern Europe. Even though Europe is much safer than most places, it is never a good idea for a women/girl to travel alone.


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Backpacking alone

I have a daughter and I would be really afraid for her to backpacking alone. Too many things could happen. And when by yourself it would be really hard to get help.

There are hundreds, no

Apologies in advance for the rant.

There are hundreds, no thousands, of young women backpacking alone through Europe.  If your daughter has no common sense, habitually takes unnecessary risks, and is a poor judge of people, then she shouldn't go anywhere.  If she, however, does have common sense, has a reasonable regard for her own personal safety, and isn't likely to befriend drug dealers, she should be fine.

If she stays in hostels (you probably want to push this) she will meet other young people and probably travel around with them anyway.  I think hostesl are important because that will give her the maximum chance of meeting more experienced travelers and learning from them, and finding friends she can travel with.  Young people tend to get together to go to a particular place, then the group splits, and others form.  Backpacking on your own really isn't all that solitary.

The problem with starting out with a friend is that backpacking is different, and can be death to friendships.  People who start out together find it much harder to go their separate ways if things aren't going well, or if one wants to stay in France and the other wants to go to Italy.

I'm bothered a  lot by how much Americans shelter their kids.  I meet young women here in SEAsia that are traveling on their own, doing a gap year before starting their university careers.  There is a 19-year-old Danish woman staying at my guest house who has been traveling for a year.  Yet Americans still think of their 21- and 22-year olds as children.  I had a friend who was so worried about her daughter's safety when she moved to Japan (one of the safest countries in the world) at 25.  She thought she was so young to be going out of the country alone, when actually she was older than the majority of the English teachers there.

Sure, something can go wrong?  But something can go wrong anywhere?  Do you let her ride in SUVs?  Very dangerous cars, you know.  I'm not trying to make light of your concerns, but she is old enough.

I agree with the above

I agree with the above poster that it just depends on the type of person your daughter is. But I can say as a mother I would rather that my daughter didn't backpack in a place she is not familiar with by herself.

tater03 wrote:I agree with

tater03 wrote:
I agree with the above poster that it just depends on the type of person your daughter is.

Well, I don't. While most countries in Europe might be save, you will be noticable as a tourist and I generally don't think women should travel alone anywhere.

Now I am not trying to be sexist, I just don't think men are attacked or raped as often. So why shouldn't she try to find a few travel buddies or join another group?

Well, I don't deny that Cindy has a strong point and everyone should weigh their risks. While it is statistically more dangerous for me to drive to L.A. I would still prefer it over flying.


Women shouldn't travel

Women shouldn't travel alone?  As in they shouldn't take the bus to work?  Go to the beach for the day?  Go shopping in a new mall where they won't know their way around and therefore will look like a stranger?  Take jobs in another city and move there on their own?  Do you think the Saudis have a point?  There, women aren't allowed outside without a man?

 Every single person I met in Thailand who was mugged or had other 'tourist problems' was a man?  Why?  Because they feel invulnterable and do stupid things like wandering around at three in the morning, alone and drunk.  One got beaten with a stick and robbed.  

You have to decide whether

You have to decide whether you want your daughter to be safe or have a life.  Life is not safe.  I presume you aren't planning on having grandchildren, as pregnancy isn't all that safe, either.

I'm very late replying to

I'm very late replying to this post.  But surely, your daughter is of an age where it's up to her to decide whether she wants to go backpacking in Europe on her own.

It's one thing to point out the dangers and discuss how best to avoid them.  But, as the mother of a 20-year old daughter, I think you have to let them make their own decisions.  At the end of the day, that's what they'll do anyway! 

My 19 year old daughter is

My 19 year old daughter is planning a trip across Europe this summer and I am a nervous wreck about it...but I'm trying really hard to not let it show.  She can't live her life in fear...needs to get out and live it! 

 Some of the comments on here have made me feel a little better about her traveling I'm trying to get excited about it!

 Glad I found this site!

I'm sure she'll have a

I'm sure she'll have a wonderful time.  I wish I were 19 again and traveling Europe!

With parents who are worried about their children traveling alone, how about them taking cell phones or mobile phones that are suitable for using throughout Europe?  Then, if they have an emergency, they can contact home.  And, your minds will be more at rest, knowing you can keep in touch with them.


cindy wrote: Apologies in

cindy wrote:

Apologies in advance for the rant.



No need to apologize. I think your points are very relevant. Bad stuff can happen anywhere and there is no reason to live basing your decisions off of fear.

 I can understand how some of the people in this thread feel though.

I'd rather have someone

I'd rather have someone with me when backpacking. It's not only the increased safety, but also you'll never get bored with a buddy along. Anyway, just my 2 cents (and I'm not sure if this thread is female specific or not).

I agree

I prefer someone with me especially when going to a place for the first time.

Well, I can understand both

Well, I can understand both sides but from a father's point of view I would also feel better if she got someone with her.

The best experience of my life

Of course there are risks, just like there are risks when you drive a car or eat sushi...but hey, you have to live your life. I traveled around Europe for 3 months on my own, and it was absolutely the best experience of my life. I was 23 at the time and straight out of college. You should check out my Travel Blog to see some of the things you can experience on a solo journey, or one with a close friend. It's the best way to become self reliant and learn who you really are and what you are capable of.

She must not go there

She must not go there alone, that's just what I think. It'd be better if she was with someone or a group of people. Plus travelling with a group can be much fun!

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I'd never allow my teenage

I'd never allow my teenage daughter to travel alone, especially not in Europe. I have been visiting many European countries so I'm speaking out of experience. I was traveling with my husband so I wasn't alone and still we had lots of problems. There are lots of cruises from New York and my son is working on one of them. He's 24 and it took me a lot of courage to let him go on the water for so long. I guess it's not enough to trust her, you simply can't trust everyone else.

well i always believe that

well i always believe that moving with a group is better than moving alone. so i would suggest you to let your daughter to be with her frnd group not alone!


She can travel late

She can travel late afternoon to get rid of the heat but not too late too. to be safe. 

Backpacking alone

I traveled to Europe on my own when I was 26 and it was a fabulous experience.  I found I  met more people traveling alone than I meet otherwise.  I didn't "backpack" though--does that mean she's going to campgrounds or ???  As long as she's not trekking in deserted areas by herself, I think she will have a lovely time.

She should be aware of

She should be aware of everything. She must be curious of everything like keeping her passport everywhere she goes.

backpacking alone


I understand your conserns. She is your daughter,and you are her parent so you feel responsible and you want the best for her.
That's very good.

I don't know if this makes you feel any better, but I am a young woman: 21, and I live in Europe (in the Netherlands).
So I do know Europe, at least my own country but also a lot of the other country's, and it is really not that unsafe.

To me, offcourse, because I live here, it's actually kind of boring.
Anything or place you don't know brings fear. Because it is the unknown and who tell's you its safe.
But like you are frightend of your daughter traveling through Europe, my mother would be frightend with me traveling through America.

From my experience in Europe I can say it's safe, and probably a very interesting and good learning experience.
There's history everywhere, different languiges, and it's a modern western civilised place.
So in terms of traveling, and your secureness, she coulnd't have picked out a better place.

I, on the other hand, would like to go to Vietnam on my own.

Anyway, if she is going, and being of my age; she probably will, I have one tip for her.
Don't try to see too many places in a short notice.

There's a huge veriety here: every country is so different: you could easely spend a month in spain or france for instance.
I meet to many American tourists who try to see a country in a day or two and travel all trough Europe that way.
I think that's a waste.

I hope you don't worry too much.
By the way: in most European countries (espacially in the netherlands, but in the other countrys espacially in the big city's) most people can speek english. There's no corruption so the police will actually help if you need anything (not like in most parts of the world) and healthcare is very good (probably even better than in some american hospitals).

Good luck, and I hope she enjoys!

Best Regards, Hiske

I am 21. i just finished

I am 21. i just finished travelling for 3 months in Asia with my best friend, im not working in London and planning to go to spain BY MYSELF for 2 weeks. It's not my first trip but it will be my first alone and although im a little nervous i have complete confidence in my own ability to travel alone. I think if your daughter wants to go alone that you should be extremely proud that she has the self confidence to a) walk into new social groups and make friends (which she will inevitably do) and b) to work out how to travel, budget, communicate in a foreign city by herself.
You have every right as a parent to be nervous for your daughter, but give her a little credit, if she thinks she can do it you should trust her. she will be fine, and even better she will defiantly grow and become a better person for it. she will not be alone for long, I have never found it hard to meet decent people while backpacking. you should jut make sure she knows she can call you if she gets into any trouble.
hope this helps. :)

Let her go on her own- she'll be fine

I backpacked Europe the month after turning 19 with my sister and had a GREAT experience. I had no safety issues at all in spite of the fact that my sister would routinely wander off and leave me alone in major cities. It is likely better to travel to Europe and then meet other travelers who are compatible than to force an entire trip with people who might not support each other's travels. Hostels are terrific for meeting other young travelers (use the internet to learn about available hostel).

I totally agree with Cindy (well said!). Life is not safe and America is not safe. Frankly, I'd feel far better about my kids exploring Europe on their own than here. If she has common sense and good judgment, then she will be able to Figure It Out (FIO). She doesn't have to know everything in advance, because she can FIO, which will make her stronger.

While we'd like to bubble-wrap our kids in high-visibility colors to keep them safe, our job is to let them go when they are ready. I hope she has a magical experience!

Thank you!

Your rant convinced me that traveling Europe alone, and with random hostel friends, is exactly what I want and need to do. Thanks so much.

Travalling alone

I am an Indian and first of all can not digest if my daughter wish to travel alone in an unknown teritorry. Then when you think about life .. We all get it once, and everybody want to live it in a cheerful manner. Understanding the circumstances are the most important, way you want is one thing and what is to be done is another. So everybody should have the mental strength of choosing what they.. Our loved ones.. Want..., whether it's back packing alone or letting her going in that age. There life experience of the parent has the priority... As a daughter she should listen to that... Why because from the letter of the mother I can séance she is a caring mother.. ,, not like many westeners. .. Those who will have pathetic personal past can not stop their baby from what they are doing. But in your case each day this girl is enjoying in Europe the mother will be melting in her home.... Dear daughter do not go... Your first responsibility is respect your parents... You get life only once that is to enjoy with in our civilized society rules ...when we do some thing it should make all around happy... All the best.... And dear mother did the the father agree for this trip...?

~~~~Going alone~~~~

In the 90's I went pack pack alone and I had a GREAT time....I stay in the Student hostels and met up with other people mostly women and I had a great do have to use COMMON STREET sense.....

But, now sense things have change around the world with the terrorist attack....I have reservation..even now that I'm a mom of a 14 y/o

I think you should use precaution and learn some basic language there...

Remember YOU ARE A Guest their and seen as a foreigner tourist...not the BIG FISH AS YOU ARE IN USA