If you love travelling and if you’re a girl, at least one solo trip has to be on your bucket list. And why should it not be, after all who doesn’t like to bend the rules a bit and get the feel of real freedom?
However, in spite of it being adventurous and exciting to explore new places alone as a solo girl traveler, certain things should be acknowledged beforehand.
Below we have listed tips & hacks for women who want to explore the world – by a girl who travels solo! Check ‘em out:
1. Try to arrive during the day
Plan to arrive during daylight so that you don’t have to try finding your way through an unfamiliar city in the dark.
2. Avoid dark alleys
Always know that you can become an easy target while walking alone in lonely dark alleys. To save yourself from that danger, a public place is always a safer option, especially at night.
3. Don’t use iPod
Never wear your iPod while walking around. Not only does it make you less aware of your surroundings, but it also makes you an easy target for thieves who can either pick pocket you or just confront you with a weapon.
4. Beware of pickpockets while travelling in public transport
Public city transportation is ripe for pickpockets. Never carry anything in your back pocket, and always be aware of your surroundings. It’s not just young men that pickpocket, sometimes it could be a group of women who will kindly bump into you or cram around you on a bus.
5. Update someone of your whereabouts at all times
Always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to arrive, and where you are staying. When you arrive, confirm those details.
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6. Trust your instincts
Be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, leave.
7. Scan documents
Scan your passport, driver’s license and health card, and email them to yourself and a friend or family member. If you lose your passport, it makes getting a new one much easier.
8. Inform the driver
Always inform the bus driver where you are heading to. In this way he will also be aware of your luggage and help you in getting down. It saves your from the danger of losing your luggage and missing out your stop.
For instance, when I board bus to some other city, I tell the bus driver where I’m going. It seems a bit silly, but a lot of bus drivers will call my name when I reach my destination.
When you appear to be friendly, other people will reach out to help you.
A simple smile actually saved me from being robbed once. I gave a pregnant woman my seat in a bus while two other people were trying to convince me that I should get off the bus early. The woman overheard the conversation and gave me a look that I knew meant something was wrong. They got off, and she told me that I didn’t need to get off as I was going the right way.
10. Plan in advance
Do some advance planning. You don’t need a detailed plan but should know, for the first night at least, where you’re going to stay. Book your hostel/accommodation before you leave for your destination. You could check stays at Zostel.
11. Go on organised tours
Break up long trips with organized tours. You’ll enjoy the company and get a chance to let someone else take care of all the details.
12. Calculate the cost
Always find out how much a cab will cost from the bus station.
I always find this out from the hostel. To double check, ask the security guard that from where to find the best cabs so that when you walk outside, you are confident about where to go and what price to ask.
13. Don’t fail to have a Plan B
Having a fallback plan, if things go sideways, is a good idea in general and even a better one when traveling alone. Most importantly, it can be helpful to someone who knows where you are, where you are headed and what you are up to. Internet kiosks, smartphones, emails and social media make this a very easy thing to do today; leave some breadcrumbs as you go along to let folks know when to start worrying.
Packing Your Luggage
14. Pack light
Pack light so that you can manage your luggage by yourself with ease. One suitcase or backpack should suffice whether you’re out for one week or three.
15. Always have the essentials
Carry the essentials with you when you head out for the day. Have the name of the place where you’re staying on a piece of paper in the local language. Have a copy of your emergency contacts and documents with you.
16. Store important items in one place
Always keep your most important items in the same place and have a simple check.
For me, it’s passport/ID Card, wallet, camera and phone. These are the items I check when I feel the need.
17. Mix with others
Connect with other travelers. The common rooms and lounges of hostels are great places to meet short-term friends, as well as to pick up excellent travel advice.
18. Meet the locals
Connect with locals. Many cities have free local tour guides but you can also tie up with a local through sites like find your people – Meetup and Women Welcoming Women World Wide – 5W.
19. Sign up for courses
If you’re in one place for a while, connect with others by taking language courses, cooking classes or anything that interests you. Also, visit the same café, fruit stall every day and get to know the people.
20. Get off the beaten track
If you want to meet other travelers, go off the beaten path. Travelers who find each other at places where there are only a few tourists are more inclined to talk to each other. Plus, you will likely to have something in common.
Other things to keep in mind, if you plan to travel solo
21. Watch the world around you
Take the time to observe how people interact and how things work. While sitting in a sidewalk cafe, on a park bench, or just killing time, you can learn how to use public transit. Whether to pay the bill at your table or at the counter and how to tip or how to hail a cab should also be known.
22. Open up!
Learn how to talk to strangers. Smile and start a conversation. Be curious and ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions.
23. Go out and enjoy yourself
Go out in the evening. Go to pubs and bars and grab a seat. Go to concerts & theater. It’s all possible solo.
24. Don’t be put off by dining alone
Enjoy dining alone. Go to restaurants with communal tables or counters. Ask a local to order for you to start a conversation.
25. Take your own photos (Selfie may be :P)
Learn to take selfies :P. Your friends will be far more interested in your photos when you return.
26. Use Skype
Load Skype onto your phone so that you can connect with friends and family for free when you have access to the Internet.
27. Take advantage of other useful apps
Download useful apps to your phone such as a GPS, a translator, currency converter and some travel guides.
28. EAT Big
Try Local Food :)
29. Trust your instincts
If someone approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, do not worry about being rude and just leave the place.
Citing an example, there are many times I have ignored men who approached me in a way that didn’t feel right. I keep walking to ignore them. I may sometimes be wrong, but it’s not a chance I’m prepared to take.
30. Always check information in some public place
Whenever you need to look at your map, never do it on a street. Pop into a store or restaurant — anywhere but on the corner.
Know that nothing is ever 100% safe, not even if you stay home. Travel and life are not about learning how to be safe. They’re about taking calculated risks. Just because seat belts don’t save lives always, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put them on!
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