Some good motherly advice, friendly tips and essential handy hints you should pack for your next trip.
- lf you don’t want to be bothered, put both headphones in—regardless of whether you’re listening to something or not.
- Pack less and buy what you need as you go, travelling light can make you feel more free.
- Take a notebook or iPad to dinner—if you’re not into people watching.
- Don’t speak—never make it obvious you don’t speak the language unless totally necessary, it will make you less of a target.
- Order a special meal on the plane you get fed first!
- Use body language if you don’t speak the language, it’s (almost) just as easy to communicate!
- Take a few Band-Aids and gum in your handbag or daypack—the best way to make an instant friend in transit.
- Use Skype, viber etc to stay connected with home—it’s free, quick, and easy to use.
- Download the best travel apps to make solo travel easier.
- Sign up for group activities every now and again.
- Use a tripod or any random ledge to take photos with yourself in the frame.
- Solo meals can get a bit lonely snacks are you friends and will prevent you spending so much time noticing you are alone.
- Confidence is key. The worst thing you can do for yourself both internally and externally as a solo traveller is look worried or fearful. Even when you’re lost or in trouble, remain assertive and attentive at all times—no matter how tough it can be at challenging situations.
- Think, act and dress like a local. If you really want to blend in, be sure to take a visual note of what others around you are wearing and follow suit. While it may be hot and humid for you in springtime in Hong Kong, you will soon notice the locals are still wearing pants and/or a jacket. If you want to blend in and not be taken for a tourist target, go with the flow. Aka leave your summer brights well and truly at the bottom of your suitcase when you arrive in Paris.
- Embrace your me-time in your life. The world is inherently a good place (just with a few bad people in it). It’s important not to let fear get the better of you and prevent you from travelling solo because this is just as important a time in your life as others will be—work, marriage, family, a house, etc.
FIVE TIPS FOR WOMEN SOLO TRAVELLERS
- Get to where you need to be before nightfall
That way you can ensure you A) know your surrounds, B) can get emergency supplies before it gets dark and unsafe, and C) aren’t walking the streets with all your luggage and an invisible ‘tourist target’ on your forehead.
- Don’t get wasted when you’re traveling alone
This should be an obvious one, but for some reason it’s not. The reality is that it would be one of the most insensible decisions. When a friend from home is in the same city as you are, go for it. But by no means should you go out getting wasted on your own and attempt to make it home safe after a night of heavy partying in a foreign city. It just won’t end well.
- Be aware of your surrounds at all times
When you travel solo, it’s important to remember that you are your only eyes and ears to ensure you and your belongings are safe. This can be quite difficult at times (aka taking your entire luggage to the bathroom with you), but it’s important not to take chances. When you are in public places, be sure to keep your bag towards the front of your body and zips done up at all times.
- Leave a trail
Social media – with its’ many pros and cons – can be a great tool when travelling solo. A simple check-in at a new location or a quick photo upload will help to keep your family and friends back home in the know of your whereabouts. Before you leave home, try and set a sort of ‘time frame’ – aka – if you don’t see me post anything for 5 days straight, you know something is probably wrong.
- Have an alter ego
In case of emergency, remember to have an alter ego or a ‘second self’. This is a falsified version of yourself that you will have as a backup story in case of extreme emergency. Imagine you’re out for lunch and a creepy man (you’ll meet many of those) asks where you’re from and how long you’re in town. You obviously don’t want to jump at the chance to invite a conversation with him, so you’re going to have to think quick – and be convincing at the same time. A simple “I’m just visiting for the day with my boyfriend who’s somewhere around here looking for me (laugh)” will do the trick!