“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” So said Jawaharial Nehru.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover,” So said Mark Twain.
In the spirit of Nehru and Twain, let’s dream a little here about single women travel.
Traveling alone intimidates most of us. But with the right combination of “throw all to the wind” exuberance and careful planning, traveling alone as a single woman can be fun, safe and memorable.
Here are a few travel tips for single women.
Let’s start from the beginning, right when you are planning your trip.
Preparing for the Trip
1. Determine whether you want to travel solo or with a woman’s travel club, of which there are some good ones. Do an online search for “women travel clubs.” Better yet, get a recommendation from a friend or acquaintance.
2. If you go solo, and once you know your travel dates, register with the State Department. Go to their web site and click Travel. On that page you will find “Register Your Travel.”
3. Make copies of all your important identification, tickets, and itinerary and keep them in a separate place from the originals. Give your family and friends a copy. They should know places, dates and contact information for every place you will be.
4. If you are taking medication, make sure you have enough for the duration of the trip and for the few days upon arriving home. That will give you time to refill your prescription.
5. Visit a travel supply shop or browse online. Sometimes you will get ideas for items that will enhance your trip, such as mosquito proof clothing, water purification, and hand wipes.
6. Buy travel insurance. For as little as $1 a day, you can get emergency medical care, medical evacuation, access to board certified doctors, reimbursement for lost luggage and travel delay, among other things. Travel insurance is the best thing you can give yourself – after, of course, the trip itself.
During the Trip
A woman traveling solo can practice safe travel. Here are tips:
1. Be culturally sensitive to the way women dress and behave in public, especially in Muslim countries. Locals will appreciate your efforts. You honor them by keeping to their “house rules.”
2. If you don’t want to lose it, don’t take it. Leave your good jewelry and expensive items at home. It’s best to keep money on you in a concealed pack.
3. Use your instinct! Stay away from deserted areas; don’t go far from your lodgings at night and only in well-lit and frequented spots.
4. Check into reputable hotels – even though you may have to pay more. Usually go with a recommendation. Bed and Breakfasts are usually safe. Again, go with your gut instinct.
5. Memorize the local emergency contact information. For example, in Italy their “911” is 113. Road side assistance is 116. For emergency numbers in other countries visit this website: www.sccfd.org/travel
6. To avoid unwanted attention, wear a fake wedding ring and avoid eye contact with men.
The best advice
Enjoy your travel by making friends along the way. Someone once told me, “Your new friends are better than police. They will look out for you.”
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” Robert Louis Stevenson