A lot of things can go wrong when you’re travelling solo in a foreign country, especially for us solo lady travellers. What if a natural disaster hits the region you’re in? What if someone steals your wallet and passport? What if you get kidnapped and strangled and left in the back of an alley with cats eating your face off, leaving you unrecognizable to loved ones?
What, am I the only one worried about that? Fine, then.
Travelling solo is an amazing way to meet new friends, have new experiences, and discover new things about yourself. However, let’s not throw all caution to the wind, here. It’s fine to be adventurous, but you also have to take some precautions
#1. Have photographic evidence
Post at least one picture of yourself and the new group of friends you’ve made to Facebook or Twitter every day. Be sure to have a street sign, landmark or otherwise distinguishable scenery behind you. That way, if you go missing, the police will know the last place you were at, and who you were with.
I’ll admit, this tip came from my mother, who didn’t tell me at the time that she was concerned for my safety, but instead made it sound like she just wanted to hear all about my adventures. It never occurred to me that my daily Facebook posts were, in fact, an evidence trail for police in the event of my gruesome murder. Thanks for not scaring the bajeezes out of me, mom.
#2. Be rambunctious and weird
Maybe it’s just been my experience, but the girls who are the most off-beat also seem like the most amount of work. Let’s be honest – if you were going to steal from someone while they slept, or try to cop a feel on a crowded train, who would you target? That loudmouth girl who speaks at crazy high volume levels about every thought that crosses her mind, or the quiet girl who keeps to herself and doesn’t seem likely to make a fuss? Yeah, we all know the score. The more obnoxious you are, the more likely people are to assume you don’t take sh*t from anyone.
If you are naturally shy and quiet, it’s time to take up acting! Believe me, I used to be that girl. Shocking, I know. But when travelling solo, it’s all a matter of fake it ’til you make it. Be that girl who kisses a bearded dragon pet lizard at a dingy bar.
#3. Call your mother!
A friend of my mother’s nearly had a nervous breakdown when her son went backpacking through Australia and didn’t hear from him for three months, after their last conversation consisted of, “Yeah, I think I might try to hitch a ride to India somehow.” Spontaneity is all well and good, but don’t be that guy. Let someone know where the frack you’re going to be, lest you send your poor mother into an early grave.
#4. Listen to your internal creep-o-meter
Travelling solo as a lady is not the time to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. If you’re getting the heeby-jeebies, girl, you Gee Tee Eff Oh immediately.
#5. Make friends where you sleep (not THOSE kinds of friends, geez you guys)
Chat up the hostel owner or the concierge, or even that one old dude who’s always sitting in the common room lobby smoking a cigarette and watching sports on the TV, no matter what time of day or night. (Seriously, what is that guy’s deal, anyhow? Does he work there or what?)
Chat them up when you first get to the hostel or hotel so they’ll remember your face and a bit about you. I got to know the owner of the hostel I stayed in while in Nagoya – Otohaya Guest House. It was some kind of hippie-commune-living off the grid style guesthouse, and I loved it. I knew that if I didn’t come back after partying all night, the owner would have at least been somewhat worried about me.
Don’t be creepy and intense about it. Just make some casual chitchat. It’s important for someone to at least remember who you are in case you go mysteriously missing. The friends you make at hostels will come and go – you need to get friendly with the people who work there. Be careful with that old dude though. He’s usually harmless, but pay attention to your internal creep-o-meter. Don’t make small talk if the readings are off the charts.
#6. Pack light
Don’t bring expensive possessions you can’t afford to replace. This is not only because you’ll run the risk someone stealing from you – you need to be sure that, if things get sketchy, you can extract yourself from whatever situation you’ve found yourself in, as quickly as possible.
Let’s face it ladies, travelling solo can be the most amazing, life-altering experience you can undergo – but you also want to make sure you’ll be safe on all your world travels. These are just a few tips that I personally used during my own solo adventures. Hopefully some of them will be useful to you ladies. Safe travels!