Traveling alone can be one of the best experiences of a person’s life. But that doesn’t mean it is without it’s risks, especially if you are a young woman. Not everyone has Liam Neeson as a father who can come rescue us if we find ourselves in dangerous situations.
There’s a few things you should keep in mind before you go and while you’re on your trip.
Research the costs beforehand.
If you’re going somewhere that is foreign to you (I’m not just talking internationally), you’ll want to know the costs of things before you ever arrive. For instance, if you’re heading to New York, you’ll want to price out how much the taxi fare ranges vs an Uber or Lyft or other car services. Many of these car services will allow you to put in your destinations to get a quote. Look online for answers to any questions you may have about different costs. There’s a good chance others have searched for the answers as well and might have some tips. For instance, a shuttle might be a better option, rather than a car service or taxi. You don’t want to show up in a new city and have someone take advantage of you because you look like a tourist. The same goes for street markets. Many street vendors will take part in price negotiations or “haggling” and are completely fine with it. You don’t want to come home and realize you could have talked them down to half price for your souvenirs.
Don’t let anyone know you are alone.
It’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up asking a local for directions, or recommending an attraction to visit. When asking about your destination, be sure to mention that you are meeting someone there, or you’re interested in going with your companion on this trip. While vacations alone might be just what your life needs, you want to make sure you make it out of this vacation with your life unharmed. Don’t let anyone know or overhear you talking about visiting a place alone.
Be aware of what you're wearing.
Make sure that your outfits and your jewelry don’t call attention to your presence. You’ll want to look as much like a local as you can. That means you should be dressing similar to the way others are in public settings. If you have a lot of expensive jewelry or even a really flashy ring, you’ll want to leave that at home and take some costume jewelry instead. There’s a chance you already look like a lost tourist, you don’t want to become an easy target because you look prime for a mugging.
Take multiple IDs.
If you’re traveling abroad, then you’ll probably be carrying a passport as well as some type of identification card. Be sure to keep these in separate places. If you’re staying at a hotel, inquire about a room safe and then lock your passport inside it. This allows you to have a form of identification (either driver’s license or state ID) on your person, but your more important, and harder to replace one, is still safe as a backup. If you lose your purse, wallet, or are mugged, you’ll still have your more important identification locked away in the safe. Never carry both with you.
Google Maps your destination.
One of the best things you can do for yourself before taking a journey is Google Mapping your destinations. Before booking a hotel, research the neighborhood. No one wants to stay in the ghetto. Not only should you view the neighborhood you’ll be staying at, research what’s around your tourist destinations. Google Maps will allow you to view the “street view” which will give you images of everything surrounding the address. You can walk up and down the street and view other businesses or homes. This helps you understand the area you’ll be visiting, but will also help you if you get lost. If you can find a familiar landmark that you’ve seen on Google Maps, you’ll, at the very least, know that you are close to your destination.
Keep in touch with home.
Make sure someone back home knows where you’re going. Set check in times with someone or keep in contact with them while you’re journeying. Let them know where you’re visiting and how long you should be visiting that destination. If you meet anyone while on your trip, be sure to let someone back home know. Tell someone back home as much information as possible about the individual(s) as you can, and include a picture. We’re a selfie generation, so it should be no problem convincing your new friends to take a picture. This will help if, God forbid, you wind up missing, and it might even deter someone if they had different intentions than just being your tour guide. Knowing their information has been sent to someone else means they will be the first to be incriminated.
International Phone Plans
Pretty much any mobile carrier has an international phone plan available nowadays. If you’re in a position to pay for a vacation, you can spring for a $25-$50 international phone plan, which seems to be the average cost. Most - if not all - phone providers will also allow you to access your standard phone plan for a daily cost. This is convenient if the international phone plans won’t give you enough data or text/minutes for your trip.
Definitely make sure your phone will work wherever your trip takes you though. If you get lost, you’ll want to be able to access a GPS app or make a phone call for a car service, etc. It’ll end up saving you in the long run, and it’s just smart for protection.
Portable Phone Charger
All of these phone-based tips are useless if your phone is dead. Make sure you take a portable phone charger with you, and make sure that IT’S charged. A lot of vacations will consist of a lot of walking around the town or specific attractions and you won’t have access to power outlets to charge your electronics. Be smart about your battery life too. Don’t waste it all Tindering your life away. Save Tinder for when you actually have an outlet available. Use your battery life on updating someone back home, finding your way around town, and snapping amazing pictures to make everyone back home jealous of your solo-cation.
If you’re a single female on vacation alone, you want to make sure you’re protected at all costs. That means keeping something, like mace, in your purse while wandering. You never know when you are going to take a wrong turn and end up in a shady alleyway all alone. Looking like a tourist, and a lost one at that, makes you an easy target to be attacked. If, God forbid, you find yourself in that situation, you want to know you at least tried to stop someone. Keep some mace or a small pocket knife on you. There’s nothing sexier than a girl who can defend herself. Never go down without a fight.