To travel is to find freedom! The freedom of unbidden roads that will take you somewhere new, the unfamiliar faces that may become dear, the lap of nature you will always feel at home in, travel is all this and more. But travelling solo, how does that feel? "Travelling solo is what has given me confidence, made me stronger and brave, as well as opened the doors to friends all across the world" says Gokila a PR professional, who travels solo across the world.
It is indeed true, travelling solo can prove to be the most liberating act, it is important to have this experience at least once in your life. Why you ask? Simply because you are completely in charge of your own life, and that makes you more intuitive, confident, flexible, courageous and happy! Do what you want, how and when you want to, you need not compromise because of someone else. But travelling solo does have its own drawbacks or so some women feel. So, how can a woman prepare for solo travel?
Take a look at the ten tips for budding solo women travellers.
Don't worry about travelling solo.
Photo Courtesy: Andrew Stawarz
1. If you have never travelled solo, start slow. You can club some solo travel with a business trip, where most of the trip will be planned by your company and you could just add the weekend activities to the schedule by yourself. This way you only have to worry about planning and preparing yourself for two days.
Join a travel group, though this does not qualify as solo travel, it is a great step to prepare yourself. In the company of absolute strangers who are fellow travellers you can ease into being a solo traveller gradually.
2. Do your homework. Travel safety truly depends on the place you are travelling to. Which part of the world or the same country are you headed for. Read up as much as you can about the place, its political state, its people and culture. If you are well-informed, you will know what to avoid and can plan your travel accordingly. This also includes checking on the safest travel options in the particular destination and booking accommodation in recommended hotels or hostels.
A prepared traveller is a happy traveller.
Photo Courtesy: José Manuel Ríos Valiente
3. Keep your documents close to your heart. There are few things extremely important while travelling; your phone, money and any documents you are required to carry and identify yourself with. Keep these close to yourself. Keep some money and photo-copies of documents in multiple places. You can even note down a list of phone numbers to be called in case of emergencies. This is especially useful if you lose your phone.
4. Keep friends and family informed. People can only help you, if they are informed. Regularly update friends and family on where you are headed, where you will be staying, the flight on which you will be travelling etc and some local number they can reach you on. This helps provide your near and dear peace of mind as well as additional security for you.
Make friends where you travel.
Photo Courtesy: Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel
5. Make friends. You might be wary of chatting up the wrong people, but spend some time observing; if they are a gang of both men and women or a family, you can definitely make friends. This especially helps if they are travelling to the same destination, as you can always keep in touch and have someone to contact in case of any emergency or trouble.
6. Dress practically. It is not as much about moral policing as much as it is about common sense. Are you travelling to a remote corner of the earth, where people are amazed at your very existence! Why complicate it further by dressing inappropriately? Also, it makes more sense in terms of comfort to dress like the locals. Sometimes local dress habits are decided by more than culture, it is based on the climate, terrain and functionality. Do some research and pack accordingly.
7. Personal safety. Do not go about revealing all personal details to people you just met, would you do this even at your home? No! So don't do this on your travels. Talk about generic topics, avoid information regarding your address, where you are staying or mention misleading details if you feel giving an answer is a must. Better safe than sorry!
Trust yourself first.
Photo Courtesy: Antonio MaloMalverde
8. Trust your intuition. Women are renowned for their intuition! Travelling solo is the best time to put it to use. If you can't see something obviously wrong, but have an uncomfortable feeling, get yourself out of the situation immediately. Don't worry about being paranoid, feeling something isn't right is better paid heed to.
9. Health is wealth. Your health is among the most important things to take care of during a solo trip. Eat healthy, make sure you carry all your medicines and you can even take the time out to read up about the nearest hospital and drug store for emergencies.
10. Stay alert and assertive. You must always be alert and aware of your personal space, if you feel someone is intruding the personal space and trying to cause any kind of harm, be assertive and forget politeness. Firmly say 'No' or 'Go Away' ideally in the local tongue, if that does not help, go ahead and create a scene. Sometimes the best way to drive away potential harm is by drawing attention of the public to yourself.
Plan well, travel happy!
Photo Courtesy: Petras Gagilas