As a female, should you travel alone? Yeah…why not? Travelling alone often means being able to unwind and learn about yourself as well as the culture of a foreign land. We can already hear the protests against it but there some ways that you can be a travelling single and still stay safe! Here are some of our top tips and reasons for giving into your wanderlust and not care about your friend’s schedule – just up and go! After all, you need to put your selfie stick to good use.
1. Choose the right hotel
As much as we love AirBnB or discount motels, if you’re travelling alone, it is best to stay in a hotel for safety reason. Choose either a top end luxury hotel or a small hotel that’s located in a busy area as the staff are either trained to remember you (for the top end hotels) or there few guests so the staff would automatically familiarise themselves with you. Small hotel means a small lobby and it will be easy for you to notice anyone loitering around and picking their victims. The hotel will also be your ‘headquarters’ to seek for help and advice. Personally, I like to choose a hotel that is located near a subway station, if not two as this would ensure that it is a place that has enough footfall to have a station built.
When checking-in, request for a room near the lifts (elevators) and away from any renovation work. Also ask the female staff (not the reception) whether it is safe to walk around the hotel at night. If you intend to use the gym, do also check whether there is an attendant in the gym at all times.
Don’t put the “Make Up Room” sign on your door. This is an announcement to everyone that you’re not in your room.
If you’re travelling on a budget and would still like to stick to AirBnB, only choose those with a lot of good reviews. Also check that those who reviewed have done multiple reviews so that you know that they’re legit travellers.
Remember to give someone at home the address and contact number of where you’re staying; even the room number once you’ve checked-in.
2. Ditch the jewellery
You want to draw less attention to yourself when travelling alone. Thus, it’s best to leave the jewellery back home and dress simply. If you do have any nice dinners to attend during your trip, remember to keep your valuables in the safe provided in the hotel and this is the time not to skimp on either a car or uber pick up after.
Best is if you ask the concierge to make any restaurant reservation for you and ask him or her to say, “Please take care of our guest, she’s coming alone and will need a taxi home.”
However, it is advisable to wear a wedding ring (even if you’re not married) in certain countries, such as the Middle East, but do some research on the country or city before travelling.
3. Get the chance to make new friends
You can either go online before your trip to befriend a local so that you have local advice on where to go or meet up with them so that you have someone to bring you about town. Some network sites for female travellers around the world are:
Alternatively, you could join a tour such as those arranged by Insight Vacations where solo travellers can be room matched with someone of the same gender and not pay single supplement rates. Even if you’re not able to match with someone else, Insight Vacations currently are offering discounts to single female travellers (from now till 30th March, to travel by September 2017) on selected tours to Europe such as Greece, Italy and even Egypt.
Talk to lots of people while travelling! This is the chance to get the sense of what’s happening locally and they might even give you cool tips on what to see and do. However, it’s best not to reveal that you’re travelling alone unless its within your guided tour group.
4. Be in charge of your itinerary
There is a reason why ‘free and easy’ travelling is getting popular and as a solo traveller, you can do what you want and see what you want on your own time and leisure. It makes planning a trip so much easier as you don’t need to worry about other people’s budgets, schedules, likes and dislikes.
That said, do remember to give a copy of your itinerary to someone back home. Even if you’re the sort who enjoys being spontaneous, it’s good to then check in with your family or friend the day before to let them know which landmarks or tourist spots you’ll be visiting the next day. Which brings us to our next point.
5. Schedule regular check-in with someone
Be it through Skype, whatsapp or even Facebook messenger. This would ensure that someone is aware of your safety and it’s also a good time to gush about your trip so far and make them jealous that they didn’t join you!
6. Have copies of important documents
You will need to have both soft and hard copies of your important documents such as your passport, insurance (we don’t need to tell you that you should get travel insurance…right?), travel reservations, contact details and address of your country’s embassy etc. The soft copies should be saved into cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive so that it’s accessible from any computer or mobile device. Hard copies should be with you at all times.
7. Keep cash separately
Don’t have all your cash with you when you are out of your hotel. Keep some in the room and best is to hide them either at the bottom of the box of sanitary napkins or inside a sanitary napkin (without the napkin, of course) or inside an emptied deodorant stick case.
Do remember to have a ‘cushion’ to your daily budget so that you can take a taxi back in case you’re out a lot later than expected.
8. Track your ride via Google maps or navigation
If you’re travelling to a place where Uber, Grab or Lyft is not available, then it’ll be best to have Google Maps on hand so that you know that your taxi driver is bringing you to the right place. If you’re worried about data roaming, then you may want to get a local SIM card or a travelling wifi device.
In the case that your driver steered off course before going back to it after you pointed it out, you may want to pretend to make a call to someone and tell them that you’re “arriving soon” so that the driver thinks that there’s someone waiting for you at your destination.
9. Take care of your bag
If you’re going anywhere, take your bag along with you. Even if it’s to the toilet. When walking along the road, keep your bag towards the inside of the pavement, away from the road. This is to prevent any snatch-and-ride incidents. If you have to put your bag down to purchase tickets or anything, best is to place them either between your legs or between you and the counter. I personally prefer to travel with a cross body sling bag so that I do not need to worry about where to put my bag down.
As for your luggage, remember to use a tag that covers your luggage tag. Don’t put your home address but your office address instead.
10. Be confident
Travelling alone can be daunting but once you’ve learnt how to conquer the city all by yourself, it will definitely give you a boost in confidence like no other. It’ll make you a better traveller and all the safety points above would just come naturally to you. Just stay safe by practising the right precautions while you explore the world and learn about yourself throughout the journey. Best part, when you return home, you’ll be the one with stories to tell to those weekly gatherings with friends and/or family.
Photo credits: Pixabay and Insight Vacations