One of the best ways to prepare for solo travel is to research your destination. For spontaneous wanderers, you may be tempted to jet off and figure things out as you go. Of course, you don’t have to plan out every single detail of your trip, but you don’t want to arrive without accommodations booked, address written down and copies of your documents. Have everything squared away so you know where you are and how to get home at all times. Research if the country has uber, find a metro map or exchange cash quickly for taxis.
This is especially important for women traveling internationally. Knowing what to expect regarding modesty, traditions and expectations is incredibly important. You don’t want to offend another culture or draw unwanted attention to yourself. You can also prepare yourself for things like cat-calling and learn how to handle it appropriately.
Traveling is all about being smart. If you have all of your cash, credit cards and passport copies in one bag, you run the risk of being mugged and losing everything. Separate your items, leave some locked away at the hotel, keep things in multiple pockets of your bag and always be conscientious of your bag while you’re entering and exiting metros or walking down busy streets. It’s easier to replace one card than it is to replace everything.
Or any open bag for that matter. Travel with purses that have secure zippers, inside pouches, and can’t allow greedy hands to slip inside. I love the cross-body purses that zip and fold over. I’m also cautious with my fashion backpacks – we all know I love them! However, when important documents are on my back I can’t always guard it.
Travel Tip: If you’re nervous about a backpack, flip it to the front when entering and exiting the metro.
One of the best parts of traveling is talking to the locals and getting advice, recommendations and learning about local culture. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and make new friends! You’ve got to trust in the kindness of strangers if you really want to maximize your trip.
Your solo trip doesn’t have to be 100% solo! My friend and I booked a pasta making class in Rome and it changed my life. On the days I was exploring Beijing alone, I decided to book a food tour and it was fantastic! There were other solo travelers in the group and we exchanged stories, took photos of each other and shared taxis to other great destinations after it was over. Group tours are a great way to get more socialization, learn about the culture from an expert guide and make the most of your trip.
Of course you should always be cautious. Being aware of your surroundings is one of the first things women are taught, and this is true of every-day life. However, if your fear for your safety is stopping you from traveling then it’s time to shake it off and get out there! I’ve learned the world is generally a safe place, and if you’re alert, smart and confident you won’t have any issues.