My top five tips for travelling alone based on my own experience.
I have a lot of experience travelling alone, having back packed across Europe, as well as taking solo vacations. It can be very rewarding, thrilling and educational not forgetting relaxing. It gives you a great sense of freedom having time out on your own but there are a few top tips to help you along the way I’d like to share with you.
How you dress
OK, so in todays world you might think this is not so important, after-all we are after equality and we should as women be able to dress as we wish. However it does matter if you do not wish to draw attention to yourself. if you are in another country with different values, religion, cultures, it matters greatly and you would be wise to do some research around your destination and dress accordingly. Some countries require you to wear a shawl or a head covering to enter a temple for example. You don’t want to attract unwanted attention so be sensible, dress modestly.
Body language plays a big part and especially when travelling alone. Stand tall, use EarPods instead of having your phone on show when using maps. If you need to stop to use a paper map, stop in a well lit area or better still go into a shop or restaurant where there are many people.
Walk confidently, look as though you know where you are going. Spend time looking at how the locals move around, are they walking fast, slow, mirror your environment. I myself find it extremely useful to wear sunglasses, it is not as noticeable when glancing at street signs and people watching, not at night obviously. Learning the subtleties of body language will go a long way in helping you look like you know where you are and what you are doing or at least look confident enough that you are left alone.
Confidence is everything, it can get you a long way, as long as you are not so confident you become cocky or complacent that is. Regardless of where you are, be it shopping on your local high street or exploring the streets of a major city or hiking a mountain, confidence is key.
Walking tall and with purpose is a great method for deterring unwanted attention. The minute you appear lost or panic you automatically look weak and could become a target of unwanted attention. Be strong in your stride.
Keep in touch with friends and family
This is so easy nowadays, when I first went travelling it wasn’t so easy. With social media sites, mobile phones and solo traveller groups for like minded people, there really is no excuse not to stay in touch. Make sure people know your plans, your last destination and reasons why you are going where you are going and what time you plan to leave or return. Should there be a natural disaster this is really important, also mark yourself safe on social media if this happens if possible. Set up a Facebook page or instagram so people can follow your journey and post regularly. This way if your posts become less regular and out of your pattern people will spot something is out of place very quickly. If you are staying at one particular hotel, give the front desk your number, where you are going and what time you expect to return, if you are out with a tour company given them that name as well.
Above all use your common sense
Using your common sense should come naturally to you, especially when travelling alone, we tend to become more aware of our surroundings. This is a good thing but still think. It is easy to get distracted when travelling and have a false sense of security with friendly faces who are really strangers.
*Don’t walk around late at night on your own.
*Stick to well lit areas
*Carry an extra charger for your phone
*Carry a paper map
*When taking the train sit where there are many people and never in a single carriage on your own, day or night.
*Don’t accept a drink from a stranger, there are many stories of drinks being spiked so have your drink in sight at all times. This includes seeing what the bar tender is doing, I have heard of a girl having her drink spiked and it turned out to be the bar tender. She was lucky as her friends turned up but just because they work in the bar doesn’t mean this doesn’t happen.
*Don’t accept a lift of a stranger to save a bit of money
*Carry a whistle or personal attack alarm, these are cheap to pick up
Ask yourself is it really worth the risk? Am I sure? What does my gut feeling tell me? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
These are just a few tips for solo female travellers, which, can also apply to you on holiday and for all genders. We need to all stay safe and enjoy our adventures and return home too tell our stories.
You can read a more in-depth article on travel safety in my next blog
A little about the author:
Andria runs an lifestyle, travel & photography blog “A2BwithAB” and is an award-winning international freelance photographer. She writes for various travel and ex-pat magazines and guest blogs across various sites documenting global culture. A keen traveller herself and big cat lover she shares her thoughts, journey and experiences with you and hopes you enjoy her travel articles and tips as much as she does herself.
Photos taken by AndriaB and writing copyright of Andria B / ABwithAB (c)
Author of A2BwithAB