The following interview on solo female travel in Sri Lanka was submitted by Eileen Cotter Wright.
Hey there! I’m Eileen Cotter Wright, an American from Boston currently living in London. I’ve been a freelance travel writer for four years and a pro blogger for three. From the Caribbean and Mexico to Romania and Taiwan, I’ve been a real lucky lady to wander all over this beautiful planet.
Why did you decide to travel to Sri Lanka by yourself?
I had only been to Asia once before, and got a golden opportunity to check out Sri Lanka. It was a 10-day trip throughout the country, covering everything from beaches and temples to street food and luxury resorts. So I boarded the plane from London, tried to calm my flying nerves, and off I went!
Did you have any trouble traveling solo there?
I did meet up with other travelers while there and some local Sri Lankans, so I felt fairly secure at all times. In fact, I found local Lankans to be incredibly friendly in a warm way. No matter if I was in a small village or huge city, there was always plenty of waves and hellos. I noticed too that even those hawking wares on the street would ask once politely, then move on once you said no. Usually those situations can get pretty aggressive so I appreciated the respect of space.
Did you ever feel unsafe?
Some cities like Colombo were pretty crowded. The only time I felt unsafe though was when I noticed there’s no seat belts in the tuk-tuks! And they encourage you to hold onto the roof bar and stand up as you zoom through the marketplaces downtown! But it was a thrill and something I’ll never forget.
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences from traveling solo in Sri Lanka.
It really all was amazing! I loved learning how to eat the Sri Lankan food properly – with your fingers! The fresh, mostly vegetarian food was always delicious and full of flavor. Spotting a wild elephant right by the side of the road was magic as well.
Were there any special precautions you took to feel safer while traveling solo?
I left all valuables at home and dressed modestly. Not because it’s required, but I don’t travel alone to be seen – I travel to learn, observe and blend in best I can.
>>Check out these safety tips that are worth the splurge.
Did you meet any other solo female travelers while you were there?
I did meet up with a group while there, including three other women. One of the women is British and lives as an expat photographer in Sri Lanka. She loves the country and feels very safe as a solo female living outside Colombo.
What luggage did you bring with you to Sri Lanka?
I actually just brought one big carry-on sized suitcase with wheels. I need to invest in a real proper luggage piece! But I packed light and was able to maneuver it fairly well – even while changing hotels at least four times!
Were there any items you were glad you brought with you or that you wished you had brought?
>>Read our guide to packing for conservative countries.
What’s your number 1 tip for females traveling solo to Sri Lanka?
Hydrate and stay alert. I don’t mean being nervous and worried, but use common sense while out on your own and keep your wits about you. Also, drink ALL the water. Trust me!
About the author: Eileen Cotter Wright is an American expat living in London, UK. She owns CrookedFlight.com for adventurous females and PureWander.com for those who love to travel in packs. You can say hi on Twitter @Crooked_Flight or Instagram @CrookedFlight.