Essential Tips For Traveling Alone - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

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Being a woman who thrives on independence and reckless acts of adventure, traveling alone is just something I do. I like to create my own agenda, go where I want to go, and do it all when I want to do it. Sure, it’s nice to have company, but only if you want to resign every decision to a group vote. And someone always gets screwed on the team vote – that someone typically turning out to be me.

Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

Traveling alone is not for the faint of heart – particularly if you’re already averse to eating alone in your own neighborhood, or making small talk with friendly strangers. If that’s the case, you may want to brush up on your people skills before you embark on a solo journey. Otherwise, you might find yourself locked up in your hotel for days, ordering room service and watching UK Law and Order because you’re too afraid to treat yourself to tea and crumpets at the corner café. Not only does that sound epically boring, but it would be a colossal waste of your money and time. After all, why “get out” if you’re not going to, well, get out?

For most would-be travelers, it’s the fear of “being alone” that holds them back – the fear of being in “unsafe” situations, or being “that creep who hangs out at the restaurant alone.” Really the only way to conquer this fear is to experience solo travel yourself. You’ll soon realize that most places aren’t as dangerous as you thought (if you’re smart about where and how you go), and that all those foreigners you think are judging you could really care less.

Traveling alone doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming; there are plenty of ways to reduce your chances of being mugged or kidnapped.

If and when you decide you’re up for the challenge, here are some tips to keep in the back of your mind:

Take baby steps.

For your first trip, go to a destination where most people speak your language. Traveling solo becomes far riskier when you’re heading to a place that you’ve never been, not to mention a country where you don’t speak the local language. If nothing else, at least drive to a neighboring state to “practice” getting around alone.

Language matters.

If you insist on traveling alone to a strange land where English isn’t the primary language, at least make sure you know a few basic phrases in the native tongue. It’s also a good idea to memorize or write down emergency phone numbers, as well as addresses and areas where English is spoken, like the local US Embassy.

Don’t forget to use your greatest asset –  common sense.

Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

Don’t look like a tourist.

Pulling out a guidebook in public is a great way of announcing you have no idea where you’re going, and a surefire way to increase your chances of getting mugged. Instead, tuck your map into a book or magazine, or, better yet, download maps to your smartphone ahead of time for quick and easy consultation.

Check in at a large, reputable hotel.

While booking a room at the Four Seasons won’t completely guarantee your safety, you will at least benefit from the increased on-site security, as well as the complimentary WiFi.

Don’t get hammered

…At least not outside the confines of your hotel room. Sure, we all like a cocktail here and there, but it isn’t the brightest idea to be strolling around the dark streets of Amsterdam alone, incoherent and unaware. Plus, if you make a new friend, it’s nice to be able to remember them the next morning.

Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

Stay alert at all times, or: constant vigilance!

This doesn’t mean you need to be paranoid; there’s no fun in traveling if you’re always looking over your shoulder for potential predators. Just try to exude an air of confidence while walking around so you don’t look like a lost puppy.

Study your surroundings.

Research your destination and where you’ll be staying weeks before the trip. That way, you’ll feel right at home and know just what to expect when you actually arrive there. “Winging it” or “faking” your way around town can be a little more challenging than you might anticipate.

Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

Don’t forget about home.

Seriously. You may be traveling alone, but tell at least one person at home about your plans (and no, your dog doesn’t count). If you get lost or if an emergency arises, it’s good to know that someone else has a handle on where you are. Plus, you don’t need the local police knocking on your door because you forgot to tell mom you landed safely.

Beware of creepy parking lots.

If your hotel has no valet service, make sure you park in a very well-lit and secure lot. If no such space is on hand, choose another hotel. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Send the right message.

When you leave your room, hang the Do Not Disturb Sign to give the impression that somebody is inside, or that you’re not traveling alone. And dress conservatively. I hate to say this, because women should be able to dress however they want, but… don’t wear your sexy miniskirt or cleavage-baring tops when you’re traveling alone. Wear practical clothing that doesn’t show off your sexy bits so you’re less likely to get unwanted admirers following you.

Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

While none of these tips can guarantee you won’t get a hangnail or lose your passport in the airport bathroom, hopefully they’ll help you remember the importance of using common sense. You can be just as social, fun and charming as you always are – just stay smart. And remember, this trip is all about you; don’t ever feel pressured to do something you think is unsafe. Just do what makes you happy!

Want more? Here are 50 Travel Safety Tips!

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

50 Comments

  1. Osana Smith

    Just wear something simple when traveling. Don’t exaggerate your outfit just because you’re a tourist. Simplicity is always more.

  2. Arlen Given

    Traveling alone is NEVER boring! It has always been exciting and challenging. A true adventure!

  3. Veola Sancho

    Going to a non-english speaking place can be really difficult. You don’t know what they’re talking about. And it’s difficult to communicate with them with directions and ask questions.

  4. Michelle Lee

    I’ve never traveled alone. It’s too scary for me tho I wanna try it. I always travel with at least one companion so that I know that I know I’m secure myself.

  5. Jodi Thil

    Nah! No matter how careful you are, there’s always a con artist around the corner.

  6. Kath Brantley

    Before traveling alone, I always carefully research about the destination so that I can be familiar with where I’m going.

  7. Debra Whaley

    Also, as a tourist, you shouldn’t trust people easily. You don’t know their true intention. Better safe than not!

  8. Quin Meri

    “Don’t look like a tourist” – yes..tourists should blend in so that they don’t get fooled by locals…a map on the phone is really an essential when traveling even when you’re not alone…

  9. Blanche Martina

    This is true. I’ve prepared like this when I’ve traveled alone for 3 days in a foreign country. This advice really helps!

  10. Jenifer Jeni

    Very informative! Makes me less terrified with my trip alone next week.

  11. Susan Rice

    Reading this article made me want to try traveling alone! I want to experience this!

  12. I think, for a woman, traveling alone is like chasing dreams and achieving goals!

  13. Kelly Gonzales

    Great tips!

  14. Robert Patel

    You can always use the internet whenever you need anything. The Internet is important when traveling, so make sure your hotel has a Wifi.

  15. Carrie Bleau

    Whenever I use my car for a trip alone, I always check the parking lot first. I don’t want to go home without my car. Lol 😂

  16. Wilma Moore

    A little Urbanette! I’m going to NZ this August, and I’m just alone, this article will help me a lot on that trip.

  17. Paul Daiz

    Traveling alone is a sign of strength and independence. Only strong women can do traveling alone.

  18. Evelyn Harris

    Being ready is not being paranoid, you’re just getting prepared for your safety, right? My friends always teased me with that.

  19. Luisa Rodriguez

    Language is important because it’s the way of communication. It’s the way for you to survive your vacation.

  20. Ani Hoker

    Before I became a solo traveler, I started to travel to the neighbor city of NYC. I had these long drives alone in the middle of the night. I started at the bottom, and now, I travel wherever I want without being afraid.

  21. Katherine Donnelly

    Being alone doesn’t mean you’re unsafe. I’d rather be alone that be with someone whom you can’t trust. If you want to live a better life, accept the fact that being alone, is way better.

  22. Martin Juyes

    Why the hell would you wear seductive clothes on your travel? Do you want to get raped? I bet not.

  23. Lancy Stanford

    YEAH.YEAH.YEAH. Traveling alone? Lol, I’d rather sleep in my bed. HAHAHA 😂

  24. OH!! I had an experience traveling alone, but it only lasts for two days because I cried, and asked my mom to fetch me. HAHAHA

  25. Marina Josef

    Traveling alone is a huge challenge, but don’t take your life at risk. It’s fun, but you have to be careful.

  26. Marina Bozek

    The food is also important when traveling. PLEASE!!! Research everything before going somewhere. I know that you are going for an adventure, but be safe.

  27. Jesse Wyss

    Whoa. How can we look tourist? Can you give us tips on how to make me look not?

  28. Yuliya Bruce

    I tried to travel out of the country without telling my sister, and mom. I ended up grounded for a month.

  29. Having a small research about where you’re off to, it’s not being excited or being too ready, but it’s for your safety as well.

  30. Jossen Row

    God damn, it’s true! Before traveling using your car, ensure that you have a safe parking lot. We had this experience with my girlfriend where our tires had been stolen due to lack of safety security.

  31. Jurik Smith

    We’re on a high technology generation and using common sense is not prohibited, so let’s just be smart when traveling alone.

  32. Selli Coaze

    Oh yeah. I didn’t think about putting that sign in my doorknob whenever I travel alone. I’ll put that in my mind, thanks!

  33. Hena Taylor

    Business type of people would know the struggle of traveling alone. I always have a business meeting in the different state of America, and there are times that I also visit other countries which English is not their second language. It’s hard, but with a few research, and review before traveling, you’ll survive.

  34. Jessi Agusta

    I can’t imagine myself traveling outside the USA alone. I’m not an anti-social type of person, but I’m scared going somewhere I am unfamiliar.

  35. Everything should come with a plan. If you are planning to travel alone, make sure that you are ready, because being alone is not as easy as with companion.

  36. Bela Christo

    I’m a solo traveler. I find it hard at first because what’s easy about traveling alone, right?

  37. Joss Butler

    I always put the “do not disturb” sign every time I travel, alone or not. It’s free, so why don’t I use it, right? ROFL.

  38. Cristina Joseff

    Language does matter. It’s your way of communicating with other people, and if you travel to a place you’re unfamiliar with, that’s your only way to survive.

  39. Maria Bruce

    Oh, no. I can’t travel alone. It’s not that I’m scared, but I just find it boring.

  40. Ana Brose

    These tips are very useful, especially for people who wants to travel alone.

  41. Jeni Morgan

    IKR. Going out alone scares me already, and I bet TRAVELING will be scary.

  42. Steev Smith

    Lol, I remember this one time, I’m going to travel alone, and my girlfriend insisted that I keep her photo in a picture frame with me at all time. HAHAHA! She wanted me to remember that I have a girlfriend back home.

  43. I tried to travel alone to move on from my toxic past. It helps me a lot to forget everything, and move on. I met lots of new people, and learn a lot from them.

  44. When I travel (specifically when I'm alone), I make sure to have ALL IMPORTANT EMERGENCY phone numbers. I enjoy my "lone trip" while making sure that I remain vigilant (at all times).

  45. With the help of modern technology, lone travelling became easier. It's easier to find your way in an unfamiliar area. For me, the most important thing to remember is "safety." I definitely agree with the article's advice on creepy parking lots.

  46. For me, traveling to a non-English speaking country (especially when I have to travel alone) is a CHALLENGE! Each time I travel to non-English speaking countries, I make sure to note important (emergency) numbers. Two weeks before my travel, I also install a 'language translator" app in my smartphone to help me when I get to my country of destination 🙂

  47. Hannah Mayers

    Research is the key for a successful, enjoyable and safe lone travel. Learn from other people’s experience. Read blogs, articles about the place you wanted to visit.

  48. Courtney Watson

    As much as possible, try to avoid traveling alone in a place where you’re not familiar of the language spoken.

  49. Jen Garcia

    I remember the ‘scary’ feeling when I traveled alone for the first time. I was really restless and worried. Well, I have researched about my country of destination weeks before my departure, but I don’t know, I was really scared. How I wish I was able to read this article before leaving for really useful tips.
    Thanks Urbanette! You really help us!

  50. Andrew Givens

    You’re right. When traveling around, you absolutely have to tell someone where you’re going and when you’re coming back. In case you don’t come back when you said you would, these people could sense that something might have gone wrong.I can’t forget the true-to-life story of Aron Ralston depicted in the award-winning “127 Hours”. He was stuck in the Grand Canyon for 5 days! And the thing the greatest lesson Aron learned from that experience is always, ALWAYS let your loved ones know where you’re going!

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