Anytime someone asks me about my job, I always get a mixture of the same type of responses. “You go to Disney for work? You cruise too!? OMG, you’re so lucky! That’s so cool!” which is followed by, “Oh you travel all that way by yourself? Do you go out to eat in restaurants alone? You fly all alone? Oh, I could never do that!!” Here’s where you’re wrong, because trust me you totally can! You just have to be smart, plan ahead, and be confident in yourself. Coming from someone with anxiety, believe me, I have thought of about 30 ways each of my trips could go wrong, but I’m a smart traveler and I don’t leave much room for error. Let’s see if I can help get you ready for your trip…
- Never tell anyone you’re traveling alone, even if asked. Always say you’re meeting someone/here on business.
- Never post your hotel, or current location until after you’ve left
- Always have a designated person you virtually share your Uber rides with who can track you to your location from their phone.
- Carry a Fanny pack or crossbody purse when possible: a bag you can wear & see (so not a backpack) is always safer. If weather permits a coat, put your bag on, and then your coat for extra protection/security
- Always carry an external phone charger; you never want to get somewhere and not be able to use your GPS, call a friend to talk to while walking alone, or call for help Heaven forbid you need to.
- Never leave a drink or food unattended that you plan to come back to. Never let a stranger pay for you, anonymously or as an in-person gesture. If you feel uncomfortable in a restaurant, tell your waiter or the manager. Don’t leave without being able to do so safely, it’s better to stay in a public place until you feel safe.
- If you order food from your hotel, have it delivered to the lobby and meet the driver at the front desk. Don’t ever have anything delivered directly to your room.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times; keep your head up and off your phone when it can be. Know what time it gets dark, and have a plan for how your evening will end and how you’ll get back to your room safely.
- If you have an itinerary or even somewhat mapped-out plans, give a family member or friend a copy of it.
- Don’t make yourself a target. Avoid traveling with anything that may draw attention to you like a designer bag, etc. Be sure to leave your real wedding rings/jewelry at home if you can; invest in a silicone ring or costume jewelry replacement
- When exploring a new city, look into group travel options ahead of time. There may be group day trips to popular sights or locations you want to visit! (Which likely includes transportation if you’re going to more than one place.) This way you have a tour guide who is keeping track of you and your group as you go, plus you’ll have a local person to ask advice from for the rest of your trip. Take advantage and pick your tour guide’s brain about where you should (and shouldn’t!) go and the best way for you to get there.
- Avoid staying at an Air BNB when traveling alone. Staying at a hotel is safer for solo travelers for a number of reasons: the front desk staff and quite frankly just not being in a random location alone are the biggest pros to a hotel. You can ask the front desk Concierge for advice on how to get places, they can help you with questions and concerns about any part of your trip, and it’s one quick phone call to someone downstairs if you have any problems at all. No matter where you stay, triple-check that your doors, windows, balcony doors, etc. are all locked before bed and before you leave your room.
- Obviously, you could carry something with you that you would be allowed by the airlines such as a small can of mace
- …and just for the record, this may go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway: I do NOT recommend international travel alone when it can be avoided.
Traveling on your own can be very empowering and truly enjoyable when gone about the smart way! I totally understand that it is not for everyone and that’s okay; my hope is that you’ll take a chance and not let solo traveling keep you from seeing somewhere you’ve always dreamed of!
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