Traveling with friends and family can be a lot of fun but solo travel has really taken off in recent years and for good reason! Traveling alone can be empowering in so many ways. It gives you a chance to assert your independence and experience the world on your terms. Let’s face it, not being obligated to accommodate other people or getting sucked into making plans that you don’t want to take part in, is pretty damn liberating.
But I think we can all agree that the point of traveling is to immerse yourself in new cultures and open yourself up to new experiences and one way to find these IRL experiences and communities is to first find one online.
I know, I know, most of the benefits of traveling come from disconnecting and distancing yourself from what’s familiar, so rest assured that the irony of using social media to improve upon your globe trotting escapades isn’t lost on me. But I would be doing you, dear reader, a disservice if I didn’t point out just how amazing these online communities can be for helping you build itineraries, feel at home wherever you go and truly make the most of your time abroad.
And while there are countless Facebook groups and Instagram pages that you can follow, they’re not all created equal. Here are the top five groups that I urge you to join before you take your next trip:
Girl Gone International
GGI started out as a lifeline for expat women around the world. It’s gone from being a social meetup group to a full on movement with chapters in 140 cities globally. While the main group is very active, each city has its own subgroup where you can post questions, look for a place to live and generally build rapport with other international women who’ve also caught the travel bug. You don’t have to be an expat, you can just be passing through, but these are the groups to join if you want to feel like you have a home away from home in whatever city you end up in.
Digital Nomad Girls
Traveling professionals (or Digital Nomads ) are kind of their own special subgroup within the travel space. But one of the dangers of traveling the world and taking your work with you is that you can get stuck always working inside your hotel/AirBnB/hostel or end up in coffee shops doing, well, more work. Women from around the world convene in this group to offer each other advice and suggestions on anything from responsible travel to how to experience the local culture in between project deadlines.
Travel for you, but also do it for the culture! This is the group for “ gender non-binary people of the Latin American & Caribbean diaspora who travel the world. [Travel Latina] wants to empower Latinxs to travel, combat negative stereotypes & machismo, encourage them to connect with & embrace their roots, and push for a more conscious traveler.”
Black Girls Travel Too
The travel space hasn’t exactly been inclusive of Women of Color, but that’s all changing thanks to groups like Black Girls Travel Too. The needs and experiences of travelers of Color can vary greatly when compared to that of White folks. Which is why groups like this play a vital role in providing encouragement, support and a friendly reminder that no matter where you go, you are not alone.
Girls Love Travel
This group can sometimes be a bit of a shit show, yeah, I said it! It’s massive, with over half a million members, so sometimes your posts can get lost in the shuffle and you may have to contend with some ornery comments. But it’s a great place to go for a dose of inspo. Are you looking for ideas on where to find (and eat) the best donuts? You’ll find a thread on that. Or maybe you just want to share photos of your most recent adventures—this is the group for that too.