Solo Female Traveler
- Being a solo female traveler, the biggest thing is that you have to be aware. You have to always be conscious of where you are and what your surroundings are.
- When you arrive in a country, one of the first things to do is get your bearings and find out about transportation, because you’re not going to get anywhere if you can’t get anywhere.
- Walk with a purpose; or in other words, walk like you belong there. Look, there will be some places where you will stick out (I’m blonde and have blue eyes, I will stand out in a lot of countries), but the key is if you are confident and appear comfortable with where you are then there is a less likelihood that you will be pick pocketed.
- Dress for the country. When I first went abroad, I dressed like Americans would in the heat and I will admit, I stuck out just because of my clothes. A good tip is to mimic the dress of the location you are going to. If you are going to a hotel/resort area that may be different, but if you will be staying in a culture, take the time to figure out the dress (i.e., covering your legs/arms in certain countries).
- You will get approached, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But staying cool, calm and collected will help you deal with those situations. (easier said then done but just remember to breathe)
- Don’t carry a great deal of money with you or don’t show it, you don’t want to shout to the world that you have a lot of money.
- The biggest thing I learned was that if I believed in myself and didn’t allow myself to get stressed, then I would feel more confident and comfortable if a situation arose.
Cultural Shock Experiences
- There are culturalisms in every country that you will have to learn. These may vary from how to eat certain foods, how to deal with public transportation, etc. These can lead you to look out of place, trust me, I’ve been there.
- People will try to sell you things on the street. I had a man try to give me a flower in Rome and he wouldn’t leave me alone until I finally took the flower and then asked for 4 Euros. Not a free flower, nope. I had a friend whose daughter was abroad and took a picture with a performer and they didn’t realize you had to pay for that, so keep your head up, not everything is free.
- Pubic transportation is key. When I was in Thessaloniki, I used the bus system multiple times every day. We had to learn the process of stamping your ticket and you always had to have your ticket! (or else there would be issues)
- In my experience, learning some of the language and using that to communicate with locals helped my experiences. When I left Mexico I spoke a little with the ticket agent in Spanish and he seemed surprised when I asked him how he was in Spanish. Courtesy goes a long way.
- And if all else fails, watch the locals.
Comforts for Travel
- WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES, one of the biggest tips I could give. I learned that lesson when I was in Rome with all of the cobblestones. Now that doesn’t mean geriatric shoes, but shoes that you know YOU will be comfortable in. Personally, I love sandals that aren’t extremely flat.
- For women, the appropriate purse is a must. I’m a cross-the-body lover. I enjoy the mobility it gives me. But I always keep the purse close to my front hip to keep an eye on it. But I also love shoulder purses too. Key is the straps, make sure they are sturdy.
- Utilize the carry-on option on airplanes or in other words “my purse can hold a lot of stuff but it is still my purse so I can take another bag too.” I always take a tote or similar size bag as my carry-on to hold computer, books, etc.
First and most important…”Not all those who wander are lost.” –J.R.R. Tolkien
These are some of my favorite quotes I live by for travel and for life in general.
- “Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.” –Seneca
- “Keep calm and carry on.” –Winston Churchill, very popular now but still applicable.
- “Where there is love there is life.” –Ghandi
- “My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”–Maya Angelou, one of the reasons why I am here today.
- “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” –Mary Anne Radmacher