Today, I would like to talk about traveling alone. Specifically, traveling solo as a woman.
|Me, solo in Cambodia|
Why? Are we helpless little flowers?
To that, I say an emphatic NO.
As long as you are prepared for your trip, you are as safe as you are sitting at home fretting.
So, first a few tips, then a few links to some other awesome ladies doing the same thing.
Tip 1: Research your destination before you go!! This sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many people just turn up somewhere. Get a guidebook. Find a place to stay before you go, research about the local people and customs and what you should wear to blend in, and have a secure place to store your passport/money/credit cards (could be a secret pocket in your pants, or just wearing a moneybelt under your clothes) so that even if your wallet or handbag gets stolen by a pickpocket, the important stuff is still safe.
|Also available in kindle!|
Tip 3: Know the local police numbers, AND know the number for your local embassy or consulate, in case the worst happens.
|Know how to get in touch with these guys.|
Tip 4: Act like you know where you're going. Nothing says tourist like stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to pull out a map and stare at it. If you need to check your map, duck into a shop. Or, better yet, if you have a smartphone, download apps onto your phone (accessible offline in case you don't have wifi or 3G coverage) that you can look at. Then, you just look like a normal person checking their phone instead of a gawky tourist.
Tip 5: Don't be afraid to be rude. Women are taught to be polite at all costs, but when you're traveling this just doesn't fly. Don't be a jerk to random passers-by, but if someone is harassing you, tell them very sternly to Fuck Off. They may not understand your words, but they will understand attitude and a loud voice. Plus, it draws other people's attention to the situation and makes that person more likely to leave you alone, now that they've been spotted by others.
Tip 6: At the same time, don't be afraid that everyone is going to rob or hurt you. Most people are just like you. Normal, non-murderous, and just trying to go about their day.
So, those are my tips. Now, I'd like to recommend some fellow solo lady travelers that really helped me when I was starting off.
- Adventurous Kate -- Kate took off for a 6 month jaunt through Southeast Asia on her own. Her tips were invaluable when I visited that region solo myself (even though I was only there 2 weeks!). My favorite post of hers has to be about visiting a ping pong show in Bangkok alone. Hilarious!! She's been to many countries all over the world solo, so definitely check her out.
- Steph at 20-something Travel -- Steph didn't let not having a travel buddy hold her back. Her blog's tagline is "Why wait to see the world?" and she lives by it. She started off traveling solo on a RTW ('round the world) trip, although she ended up traveling with her fellow-blogger boyfriend (now fiancé!) later on. The link above is one of my favorite posts by her, called "Is the American Dream Holding You Back?" It is one to check out for sure.
- Janice at Solo Traveler -- This cool lady is a bit older than the others, but that makes it even more awesome that she's out exploring the world on her own. Click the link for a good post she wrote about the potential dangers of solo travel. She's also written articles about specifically women traveling alone, and also how to travel alone without being lonely. Good reads!
So that's it for today. Now, I'm off to the Norman countryside to meet up with some fellow teacher friends for the weekend. We're having pizza and booze, so it's sure to be a great time!
Tomorrow, I'm blogging about "Is Couchsurfing Safe?" Stay tuned!
(pictures: 1- mine; 2- gadling.com; 3- wikipedia.org)