Traveling to a new city or country by yourself is a great adventure and an excellent way to get to know yourself. But it can come with some inherent risks if you're a woman traveling by herself. The good news is that by avoiding a few common mistakes, you can reduce those risks and have a better trip. Here are 5 tips for the solo female tourist.
Upgrade on Hotels. It may seem like a good idea to use cheaper lodging to save money and meet more people. But there is value in booking a regular hotel or even a resort, like The Breakers Hotel, for at least part of your stay. They can be safer than booking hostels, guesthouses, rented rooms or other shared housing situations. It also provides a place to unwind and relax when you've spent the day figuring out your own way around a strange city.
Start Slow. Traveling by yourself is a different experience than doing so with friends or family, so avoid over-planning the beginning of your trip. You may feel vulnerable when you arrive in a strange place alone, so plan to spend some time learning the ropes. And don't be afraid to splurge on some comforts at this time, too -- things like a cab ride instead of the bus or a well-known hotel chain you can count on.
Decide on Your Itinerary. You have a rare chance to get to know yourself and enjoy doing the things that interest you... so be sure to make use of it. Plan ahead before you leave to know what you want to see, visit and experience. Knowing in advance where you want to be and how to get there will also help keep you safer. However, don't make yourself a slave to your schedule -- build in some time to simply enjoy yourself comfortably too.
Stay Safe. While wandering a new city, avoid behaviors that can put you at risk. This includes becoming intoxicated, wearing expensive clothes or jewelry, staring at maps and walking unnecessarily at night. Pay attention to your own internal danger alarm and avoid things or people that make you uncomfortable. And be sure that trusted friends or family members know where you are and how to reach you in an emergency.
Have a Plan B. It may not be fun to think about what could go wrong, but it's more important when you travel alone. Have extra cash tucked away in your shoe, carry two forms of ID and know how to get back to your hotel using different routes or transportation. Carry contact information for your hotel, airlines and rental car companies in case you have a change of plans. And leave enough wiggle room in your planned itinerary to juggle sightseeing in the event things are closed, weather is bad or you change your mind.