So you’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug, have your awesome destinations picked out and are ready to hit the road with your backpack and map in hand. Only problem is, you can’t quite convince anyone to take the leap with you. Of course it’s fantastic to travel with buddies, but traveling solo is an incredible experience all its own- the only question is, it safe for a single lady? The fact is, as long as you do your research and follow some practical advice, solo travel will turn out to be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life- so read on and don’t miss out! Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for safe solo travel:
Do Read Up on your Destination Wherever you plan on traveling, you should make yourself aware of any safety concerns you may face along the way- such as personal security, health issues, political situations, and any laws or cultural/religious customs that may affect you as a woman. (For example, you may need to adapt how you dress if you plan to visit a Middle Eastern or Islamic country.) Get any necessary shots you may need and bring along medical supplies you may not find readily available at your destination. Being too prepared is always better than not being prepared enough, and you want to start your travels out with peace of mind!
Do Prepare Accordingly Before You Go Get any necessary shots you may need and bring along medical supplies you may not find readily available at your destination. Make copies of all your documents and put them in separate places (one in your backpack; one in your purse.) It’s also a good idea to scan copies to yourself, and leave one at home with family. Don’t forget about travel insurance and any visas you may need for your time away. Organize your passport/money/cards in a bag you can keep safely on your body. Being too prepared is always better than not being prepared enough, and you want to start your travels out with peace of mind!
Do Pack Lightly The lighter you go, the less chance you’ll have of losing something valuable, and you’ll find your belongings easier to manage. Always keep your eye out on your bags when you’re traveling, don’t let anyone put anything in your bags and don’t carry anything across a border for anyone else. All common sense advice, so just be responsible and aware!
Do Talk to Strangers Yes- it goes against everything you learned growing up! But step out of your comfort zone and just talk to people- from locals to other travelers, you’ll find that most people out there have a story to share. Be open and friendly; you’ll have something to learn from everyone you encounter, and befriending locals is the best insight into a new culture.
Don’t Be Afraid of Doing Things Alone I think this is one of the biggest hurdles people have to get over before they travel alone. From checking into a hostel to going out to eat, to museums or anywhere else when traveling, don’t feel weird about doing things alone! If you’re confident and open, chances are you’ll find people to do these things with anyway- but if you don’t, enjoy the time to soak everything in on your own- it can be a great time for reflection.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear/See From scary stories in the media to movies like Taken and Hostel, many people believe that the world is a treacherous place and that leaving your home country alone is akin to insanity. This is very sad because the fact is, as long as you travel responsibly and with awareness, you needn’t feel at all threatened by the unknown. The world is a wide and wonderful place filled with people who far more often than not are happy to help you along your way- being open to these experiences rather than fearful will change your life for the better!