Do you have a need to get out and see the world? Have you thought about traveling on your own, however, are not sure where to begin planning this daunting task? Do you wonder if you have the courage to set out alone into the world and experience all of the joys and gifts it has to offer? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions then this article is for you.
Gone are the days a woman is not safe traveling alone. No longer are the days where a woman can’t have fun out in the world on her own. Yes, a woman needs to make sure she is safe, and there are steps to take to ensure she has done everything she can to make that happen. There are some things a woman shouldn’t do on a trip alone that she can when traveling with friends. However, this should not stop you from exploring the world and traveling.
STOP SITTING AT HOME AND START TRAVELING GIRL!
- Research cities or areas you have always wanted to travel. Look for activities and things to do that would be fun and welcoming for a single woman traveler.
- Explore different hotel and resort options that are single friendly and have the amenities you like. In some cities, you can get a cheaper smaller room just big enough for you as a single traveler. Cruise ships offer single travelers the opportunity to have a room mate of the same sex, which can cut costs if you are ok with sharing a room with someone you don’t know.
- If you are a virgin solo traveling girl, try going away for a weekend to a destination that is not far from home. It will get you used to planning and finding things you like to do on your own, and will help you feel comfortable traveling solo. At the end of the weekend, you will be saying “I can do this!”, and you will be planning your next trip.
REMEMBER EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE TRAVELING SOLO;YOU ARE NEVER ALONE IF YOU DON’T CHOOSE TO BE. TRAVELING ON YOUR OWN IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MEET NEW PEOPLE AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS. YOU WILL NOTICE MANY PEOPLE ARE TRAVELING ON THEIR OWN WHETHER IT IS FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
- Once you have decided where you are going, find the right date that works for you. Research the popular local activities and seasonal events for the surrounding area.
- Plan your dates, schedule and book your travel arrangements. Make sure you find out all of the travel documents you need for travel and the expiration date requirements.
- Passports Keep in mind your passport can not have an expiration date within 6 months of your travel dates. If you need to renew your passport give yourself enough time to get that done. According to the U.S. State Department renewing a passport can take 4-6 weeks and expedited renewal can take 3 weeks. Please visit travel.state.gov for more information on renewing or applying for passports.
- Photo ID Many countries request a form of photo ID. You can use your passport, however, it is also a good idea to carry your driver’s license if you have one. You will need it if you plan to drive where you are going, and it is safer to carry around instead of your passport in case you lose it.
- Other Travel Documents Depending on your citizenship; you may need additional documents. You are responsible for making sure you have everything you need to travel safely and hopefully effortlessly between countries.
BOOK YOUR TRIP
- Look for deals for single travelers
- Watch out for the “single supplement” on cruises Several cruise lines have a “no single supplement” period during the off season. Holland America Line is launching new “single cabins” as well.
- Read Trip Advisor You can read all types of reviews before you book your trip. tripadvisor.com
- Check on transportation options for getting to your destination, as well as traveling within or between destinations if you are traveling to multiple places. Check plane, train, bus, subway and any other public transportation schedules used in order to be fully educated on your choices.
STAYING SAFE AS A LADY WANDERLUST TRAVELING SOLO
- Use Street Smarts As in any big city be aware of your surroundings. Walk with confidence and look around you. Look at people in the eye, and carry yourself with an air of strength and comfort. People are less likely to target you if you are paying attention to them and your surroundings.
- Don’t act like a tourist if you are lost Go into a shop, hotel or restaurant to ask for directions or check directions on your map or phone. If you need to ask for directions on the street, ask a family or another woman. Stay in public places. The more people around you the safer you will be.
- Have an initial plan where you are going
- Map out your plan before you go. You can always change it once you get to your first destination after you get your bearings and feel comfortable in your surroundings.
- Know the train or bus system and plan your route. Visit stations, if you can, to get a feel for how the system works, what services they have, and what feels safe. When in doubt, it costs more but use a cab from the hotel until you can get your bearings. Uber is also a wonderful option and is international as well. uber.com
- If taking an overnight train avoid sleeping in an empty compartment. It’s safer sharing a compartment with a family or renting a sleeping compartment.
- Trust your gut
IF A SITUATION OR PERSON DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT IT PROBABLY ISN’T
- Don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself Don’t dress flashy or carry large purses. Research the culture, fashion and behavior of women in the area you are traveling and try to fit in. Don’t bring anything valuable, especially jewelry. If you have an expensive wedding ring leave it at home, and wear a cheap fake modest version.
- Keep your money safe Don’t carry all of your money and credit cards together. If your hotel has a safe in the room put the money and credit cards you don’t need that day into the safe. What money you are carrying hide in a safe place on your body or in your purse. It’s best to carry a smaller cross strap body purse with the opening clasp facing your body for safety. I have been known to put my money and credit cards in my bra.
- EMV Credit Cards EMV stands for Eurocard, Mastercard, and Visa. These are credit cards with a special chip in them and do not have the traditional magnetic stripe on the back. Over 80 countries throughout Europe and Asia only accept EMV cards. Check out this resource for more information on EMV chip cards. creditcards.com
- Protect Travel Documents Put your passport and any other travel documents you are carrying in your room safe and carry a copy with you in your purse. If there is no safe, find a place to hide the documents in your room. An alternative is to always keep them with you and keep a copy in your luggage. Another option is to keep pictures of them on your phone.
- Register with the U.S. State Department If you are traveling outside of the country you may want to consider registering with the state department. This way the department will know where you are in case of a national emergency, and can send you alerts for the area you are visiting. (If you live in a different country than the U.S. check if your country has this option, and if it works for you.)
- Leave your itinerary with one or two people you trust Include flight and transportation information and schedules, hotel names, and phone numbers.
- Consider Travel Insurance
- Don’t be too trusting Be aware of the people who are overly nice to you and question their motives. Especially men. Thieves and scam artists can be very charming and great companions on your trip. Keep your guard up.
TRY TO “HASSLE FREE PROOF” YOUR TRIP
STRIVING TO MAKE YOUR TRIP AS HASSLE FREE AS POSSILBE TAKES MORE EFFORT, BUT CAN MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER WHEN YOU ARE ON THE ROAD
- Make reservations ahead of time You can always cancel them later. Just be aware of the cancellation policy if you are asked to put a credit card down to hold the table.
- Buy tickets for tours, attractions and museums ahead of time This can help you save time from standing in long lines to purchase tickets, and can possibly save you money. Many places will allow you a 7 day grace period to use the tickets from the first date you choose to visit.
- Research holidays and when things are closed before you leave This will help you be aware of when things you might want to see or do are closed; so you can plan accordingly. Make sure you note the holidays that are during your stay, and which public places, such as museums and activities shut down during those holidays.
Remember to have fun and go with the flow. Things will happen that you don’t expect, and things will go wrong. It’s all a part of the adventure!