Going Solo: Tips for Women Travelers
by Jen Hobson Hoffman for 1st Choice Vacation Rentals
Women are striking out on solo adventures by the sharpest increase of any other group of travelers. Though we live in a country where personal statements made by our clothing and actions are generally accepted, women need to be extra-informed when traveling to foreign lands that might judge otherwise. Being prepared will help you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Leave a Trail. Make sure you’ve left a detailed itinerary behind with a responsible friend or family member. Include copies of your passport and visas, phone numbers where you can be reached and emergency contact numbers.
Do Your Homework. Often, being prepared can help ease the anxiety of entering another country. What are the social and religious customs? How do most women dress? When are meal times? Take the time to examine some travel books such as Lonely Planet or Fodor’s which can give information on everything from religious traditions and common customs, to great spots for dining and sightseeing.
Ditch the Diamonds. Thieves will not stop to check if your jewels are real or not, so even costume jewelry should be left at home. Don’t make yourself a target with attention-drawing jewelry. When carrying anything of value such as your passport, credit card, or cash, put them in a small bag that can be carried cross-wise over your chest or underneath your clothes.
Are you Covered? Contact your insurance carrier to be sure that your health plan includes global coverage. You can buy supplemental insurance that tacks on to your original plan for usually little extra cost.
Medications. If your trip is unexpectedly extended, you will need a buffer supply of your prescription medication. Also, bring all information regarding your prescription with you in case of an emergency. Always carry your medications in their bottles as most countries will be suspiscious of loose pills as a violation of drug trafficking laws.
Low-profile. Keep your clothing, makeup and jewelry conservative and understated. Avoid being conspicuous and therefore increasing your likelihood of becoming a target. Walk confidently; act as if you know right where you are going. Avoid speaking loudly in your own language and drawing needless attention to yourself. Carry directions from the concierge at your hotel to ensure you don’t have to stop to read maps. Don’t announce to anyone that you are traveling alone.
United States Consulates and Embassies Worldwide. If you lose your passport or need assistance in an emergency, it is best to visit the US Consulate or Embassy in the country you are visiting. Print the address and phone number of the appropriate country on this website: travel.state.gov/tips
State Department Warning List. By clicking on the following link, you will have access to a current list of countries that the United States has deemed unsafe for travelers. These countries include places of political instability, extreme situations of entry and exit, and other conditions that make traveling their dangerous or unwise: travel.state.gov/travel