Your ultimate guide to going it alone.
Travelling on your own terms is fantastic. Not only will you be able to control your adventure but it will be one that is of interest to you. You can discover what you want, when you want, and everything is done on your own terms. You’ll also be surprised at how many friends you make along the way. as well as how independent and empowered you feel by going it alone.
Unfortunately many women never take the plunge, worrying about their safety, fear of looking friendless or how they’ll occupy their days spent alone. So if you’re mulling over the idea of a solo trip but not sure how you’ll fare overseas on your own, here’s 17 travelling tips to ensure your holiday is safe, fun and fabulous.
1. Check in
Create a document that has your travel plans of where you should be on what date and share with your family, parents or loved ones. While you are travelling always make sure to be in contact and check in regularly with them, keeping them updated on your movements and adventures.
2. Be savvy
Be confident. Nothing screams traveller more than someone with 10 bags and a map standing in the middle of the street. When you are going somewhere new, its best to look at where you are heading in the hotel or airport before you leave so you have an idea of where to go and only need to glance at the map every now and again. If you’re really lost, ask someone trustworthy like a store attendant for directions.
3. Use your initiative
If it looks suspect, it probably is. Your taxi driver doesn’t have a medallion? Then chances are he isn’t registered. That man that’s been following you? Best to duck inside a hotel or latch onto a group until he has left the vicinity. Trust your instincts and always bail if you don’t feel comfortable with the situation you’re in.
4. Value reviews
While Couchsurfing and Air BnB are the best thing to happen to travel world since sliced bread, make sure if you are travelling solo, that you only crash at places with good reviews, and lots of them. Travel forums such as Trip Advisor are also great when trying to find a place that not only works for your budget and travel lifestyle but also your safety.
5. Connect with other women
While we are talking about travel forums, there are some fabulous ladies out there who have created online communities for solo women travellers to share tips, experiences, reviews and offer a secure place to connect. These forums are created by women, for women, so worth becoming part of for firsthand advice and for an opportunity to get a travel buddy. If you’re not sure where to start, try travelettes.net, sheswanderful.com and pinkpangea.com.
6. Duplicate documents
Besides long haul flights from hell, losing your passport is just about the worst thing that could happen to you while travelling. Therefore always make sure you carry copies of not only your passport but any other important documents with you just incase. A great place is on your email or dropbox, otherwise on a USB you can carry with you if you know there might not be great internet access. Just remember to store in a separate place to your other documents.
7. Go girls only
If you are concerned about safety when booking accommodation, always go for options that allow you to be with other women. Most hostels have female only rooms and bathrooms. If you’re travelling in western Europe overnight trains often have single or female cabins, too.
8. Follow the crowd
Take your cue from the local women on what is acceptable to wear. Depending where you are in the world, how you dress can see you attracting unwanted attention. Fitting in will also avoid you looking like a tourist and the perfect target.
9. Lie through your teeth
No one needs to know that you are travelling alone. Stringing together a story about a friend, boyfriend or parent who is expecting to meet you at the destination can always help.
10. Meet in public
Just as you would if you were to meet a person from a dating site, a public place is always best for a first time meet. You can guarantee nothing fishy will happen and can back out at any time knowing you’ll be surrounded by lots of bystanders.
11. Say No
Don’t risk your safety because you feel you have to be polite. If a situation or person is making you feel uncomfortable, just say no. It’s okay to turn down unwanted help or attention with a stern ‘No thankyou’. Learning the word in the local language is also a plus for situations where you may need to use it.
12. Use your common sense
Draw your money out of an ATM during the day in a busy area, not at night alone. Take your bag with you when you go to the bathroom. Sit near the driver on a bus. Don’t take a trip on an empty train carriage. Snap a picture of the cab license plate and send it to someone you know before you hop in. Don’t engage with unwanted attention.
13. Don’t be afraid to make friends
Travelling solo can be lonely so don’t be scared to make friends and find people to experience the journey with you. There are lots of genuine people happy to make a new travel buddy. Hang out in the hostel common room, join a tour group or pub crawl to meet some other like-minded travellers.
14. Chat to the locals
Experience the city through the eyes of the locals and see why they love the city they live in. Ask for advice from stores, restaurants and hotels rather than from the stranger on the corner to keep it safe.
15. Be prepared
Forward planning will make your time travelling independently a much more enjoyable experience. It’s a good idea to work out ahead of time how you are going to get from A to B, knowledge of where you’ll be staying when you arrive, and what to expect to make your time overseas much smoother.
16. Go on group tours
Group tours are a great way to see and learn about the city you’re in, and they’re also the perfect place to meet other solo travellers. A day spent together on a guided tour may be the start of a wonderful friendship.
17. Grab your selfie stick
Enjoy this handy gimmick and document every moment of your experience. How else will you show everyone your amazing solo adventure?!
Images via cosmopolitan.com.uk, huffingtonpost.com, sheswanderful.com, tibco.com, mark-hayward.com, gapyear.com, dirtinyourskirt.com, travelettes.net, hightideholidays.wordpress.com, myob.com.au, drieskewrites.wordpress.com, www.essentialtravel.co.uk, theshaqilahsianturisahrir.blogspot.com.au, tripadvisor.com, favim.com, www.cntraveler.com, blog.autoeurope.ca