As a strong, independent woman, solo travel holds a special allure. It offers a unique attraction that transcends traveling with a romantic partner or a group of friends. Solo travel affords you the chance to experience yourself in entirely new surroundings. The opportunity to learn about new cultures is magnified by the prospect of learning something new about yourself in the process.
Yet, there are real risks associated with solo travel. Those risks are multiplied because you’re a woman. Whether or not you truly are more vulnerable, the perception alone can make it appear so. Here are solo travel tips every woman should bear in mind.
1. Consume Alcohol Moderately
Many people enjoy drinking on vacation. It loosens inhibitions and helps you relax and mingle with others. Just remember that alcohol’s effects can creep up on you. If you go too fast while traveling solo, you could find yourself in a condition that leaves you vulnerable to strangers. You don’t need to read a news headline to recognize the dangers of inebriation abroad. Keep in mind, too, that when you’re in another country you’re in a state of adventurousness. You’re more likely to drink something you’ve never tried before, and the results could be unexpected. You don’t have to become a teetotaler on vacation. Just take it slow and you should be fine.
2. Initiate Contact
As a woman traveling solo, both tourists and natives may assume you’re with someone else. They may think that you’re only sitting alone because you’re waiting on your companion. As a result, they may refrain from reaching out to you. When you’re traveling alone, you may have to be the one to initiate contact with others. You don’t want to come back home without having had any real conversations with others! If you tend to be an introvert, you may hesitate to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Just remember that this trip is just as much about exploring new versions of yourself as it is about exploring museums. Reach out to others with a simple request or comment. You may be surprised how much interest fellow travelers or natives take in you!
3. Bring Your Own Comfort Items
Let’s be honest. Women need certain “stuff” to be comfortable. That’s why the handbag was invented, right? (Well, not really, but that’s a story for another day.) Depending on where you’re traveling, you may not have access to many of the items you need to feel clean and comfortable. For instance, don’t assume that an expensive hotel abroad will provide everything you might expect from a 4-star hotel in the states. Basically, bring your own essentials. That includes things like contact solution, breath mints, feminine hygiene products, aspirin and even toilet tissue. If you can’t live without it, bring it.
4. Hide Money Everywhere
Obviously, you know that a woman traveling solo may be a target for pickpockets or even muggers. Most police will recommend that you just hand over everything so you get to walk away from the encounter. That’s fine, but where does it leave you with ten or so days left on your solo vacation? Separate your money and hide it in several different places. If the worst happens you can pull it out from one hiding place and that will look like your entire stash. Consider hiding money and credit cards in your socks, shoes, undergarments, inside your hat or even sewn into the hem of your overcoat.
5. Keep Your Status to Yourself
Once you get to know a fellow traveler or native, you may be tempted to share the fact that you’re traveling solo. After all, you’re an honest person, and how long can you pretend you’re “waiting on a friend”? It’s very important that you keep your solo status to yourself while on vacation. Most people in this world are good and trustworthy. But there are also many devious people who prey on solo travelers; especially women who are traveling alone. Those people have had a long time to build up their skills. They may even pose as fellow adventurers. Once you get back home to the security of your family, friends and colleagues, and you want to continue a friendship you started while traveling solo abroad, it’s fine to divulge that you were going it alone. Until then, keep up the pretext that you’re there with a group. The assumption will be that someone is waiting for you and they would follow up if you don’t return by a certain time.
Finally, never let fear or anyone else deter you from traveling solo as a woman. You never know where a solo travel adventure will lead you. The only thing you can be sure of is that you will never forget it.