Sometimes when the travel bug hits you, it hits you hard. You feel this inner urge to go– and go right freaking now. Even if its for a long weekend, a week, or month it’s hard finding someone that can go with you! People have obligations in their life that they can’t neglect or maybe they just don’t really have any desire to go anywhere. Either way that shouldn’t stop you. Of course it’s nice traveling with a friend or loved one but I’ve come to find one of the most liberating experiences you can have is traveling alone. You can do what you want, when you want, and where you want! You have that time to be completely selfish and its honestly the best thing you can do for yourself. I understand traveling alone is daunting, especially as a woman, and a little scary but I’ve learned over the years of traveling alone some very helpful tips that will make you feel safer traveling. Here is are some tips to help you feel safe for traveling alone!
Have your hotel or destination address saved.
Going through customs they usually ask your for your final destination address. Avoid getting flustered by having the address either printed out or in your phone and easily accessible.
Arrange for transportation from the airport.
Unless you are going somewhere close just for the weekend in a country or city that speaks the same language as you, I can’t recommend this enough. Being in a foreign country where they speak a completely different language is so intimidating when you first arrive. Do some research ahead of time for reputable companies you can hire. You can put your destination in ahead of time so you don’t have to stress out trying to tell a cab driver that doesn’t speak your langue where the heck you’re going- not that you really know. After going through customs and getting your bags its a relief seeing your name on a sign. Plus it’s a lot safer than taking a taxi.
Research the safest area to book your hotel.
I find that when I travel alone I like to walk everywhere- which means I always book a hotel either in the city center or very close to it. To be honest, it might mean spending more money but it is worth a piece of mind. Being able to wake up and walk right out to the city center and not through a sketchy area is worth every extra dollar.
Have a list of places you want to see.
I’m in no way one of those people that create a full itinerary of my trip, scheduling every second. However, it’s always a good idea to have certain points of interest that you’d like to see! Use Pinterest, social media, or whatever you’d like to get ideas of what you want to do. I’ll research where they are and plan my day around a few that are close together to visit. Of course I’ll encounter other fun things to do during the day but its nice to have an idea of what area of the city you want to explore so you’re not wandering aimlessly. That way you can make the most of your time.
Don’t feel intimidated eating alone.
I think one of the hardest things to get used to when traveling alone is going out to eat. It feels intimidating eating alone and I completely understand. But, once you do it a few times it won’t bother you at all! You can bring a nice book to read or just enjoy people watching while having a leisurely meal. It’s quite liberating! I also like to spend that time doing some research of what I want to see for that day or the next.
Eat lunch or dinner at the bar.
I don’t say this because I want you to black out or anything but you’ll be shocked at how many people you’ll meet sitting up there! Other people that are in the same boat as you will usually sit at the bar to eat, just because it is way more social. You can chat with the bartender or the people sitting next to you. It doesn’t make you feel as isolated as you do when sitting at a table by yourself. Who knows- you might meet a new friend to explore the city with.
Don’t drink too much.
I’m all about having a good cocktail or glass of wine while on vacation but when you’re traveling alone its important to keep your wits about you. Drinking causes you to lower your inhibitions and maybe make choices you wouldn’t if you were stone cold sober. I have a 2 drink maximum at night time just to be on the safe side! You don’t want to go to a seedy bar or club alone. Ever. You’re asking for trouble.
Don’t walk home too late at night.
My mom always used to say to me “Nothing good happens late at night” and its true. You can be in the safest city ever and still feel uneasy about walking around the streets late at night. If you are out later than you feel comfortable make sure to get a taxi. Don’t risk it!
Don’t give too much information to strangers.
One of my favorite things about traveling alone is how many interesting people you’ll meet! You’ll be shocked at all the friends you’ll make traveling alone, and from all walks of life. I still keep in touch or follow on social media a lot of the people I’ve met along the way. However, when meeting new people you want to be careful how much information you give out. For instance, I never tell people what hotel I’m staying at or my plans. I just pretend like I can’t remember the name. Don’t feel like you have to share to be nice and certainly don’t give your phone number out to someone just because they ask for it. Friendly local men looovvee asking for your number or WhatsApp- but don’t feel like you have to give it to them. Unless you want to of course 😉
Download the Google Translate App.
Obviously this only applies if you are going to a new country that doesn’t speak your language but it really is such an incredible app. You don’t have to have wifi for it to work which is helpful for when you are walking around. If you have a question type it on your phone and it will translate it for you. Even if it isn’t perfectly translated they will get the hint and they can speak into the microphone and it will translate what they said to you. Very helpful!
Put in your next destination while you have wifi.
If you don’t have Tmobile (which I HIGHLY recommend if you travel often) and just rely on wifi it can get a little nerve-wracking trying to find your next destination. If you have an iPhone and are connected to wifi, even when you disconnect from the wifi your location and directions will still work! So find a place with wifi, plug in your next destination, and head out!
Never walk around with all of your money and credit cards.
I learned this the hard way when in Ukraine. Not because someone stole it but because I drank a little too much with a bunch of friends and my wallet slipped out of my purse with all of my credit cards and cash. I was very lucky to have friends that would loan me some money but if you’re traveling alone you might not be so lucky. Now I have a wallet with a chain that hooks onto my purse strap for extra security. What I usually do is take cash out and only put a little in my wallet as well as one credit card just in case at a time. That also helps with budgeting for the trip! Keep the remainder of the cash and credit cards in a safe place in your room.
Don’t dress provocatively.
Listen, I’m all for expressing your individuality through fashion. However there are ways to do so without your boobies or butt hanging out. I always try and be respectful of the culture all the while trying to look cute!
Just because I’m telling you to be safe doesn’t mean that you will be in danger. Have fun, explore, and enjoy getting in touch with your inner self. It really is the best gift you can give yourself- not to mention a huge confidence booster! If you can travel alone- hunny, you can do anything you want. Go out there and explore… it’s a big world!