It’s a big, beautiful, bad world out there, and many rightfully want to explore it all and soak themselves in experiences that only travel can offer. At Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s biggest hotel booking platform, our team has put together some valuable tips for the woman that wants to travel solo. If you’re a man, don’t jet off just yet, you will learn a thing or two too.
This piece is intended to give today’s woman who is more adventurous and wants to do more the chance to do so safely and in a frame of mind where she is free of paranoia and can enjoy her trip conveniently and in the best possible way.
The primary aim of travel for leisure is for pleasure. Safety is, however, a prerequisite for enjoying your trip to the fullest.
The primary safety concerns for women that travel alone are the threats of abuse, assault, and theft. While it would be comforting to believe in a utopian ideal where women aren’t targeted as prey, the realities are harsh as the opposite is the truth.
Here are a few effective tips on how to keep safe while traveling;
-Research your location: before you travel, you should seek out information about your destination. This shouldn’t just be restricted to hotels and transport but also cultural peculiarities, acceptable dressing, the meaning of simple gestures, tipping culture, taboos and several others.
-Dress in a culturally acceptable way: This does not mean that you have to dress like the locals, it only suggests that you dress in a way that they do not find offensive or too amusing. It protects you from the possible threats of abuse, shaming, or catcalls.
-Smile often, it exudes confidence
-Life over property: If you ever get yourself in a robbery situation, give up the valuables that ask for without putting up a fight unless you have great self-defense skills and are confident of your chances of getting out of the situation unhurt.
-Trust your instincts: Usually, instincts are a function of a person’s subconscious and aggregation of the environment’s subtle signals. They shouldn’t be ignored.
-Watch your drinking: If you must drink alcohol, then be sure to do so moderately, as getting drunk will leave you with limited control of your senses and open you up to abuse and exploitation.
-Blend in: You should try to blend in or attempt to appear as an expatriate who knows what they are doing.
-Try to avoid staying out late except you have good company
–Charley Newman, a travel blogger advises that single women wear a fake ring to keep unsolicited advances of forward and confronting men at bay.
-Know the name of your lodging: It’s easy to forget the name of your lodging especially if you’re in a country where they speak another language. So, ask for it and write it down somewhere.
As a final safety tip, Evelyn Hanno, a popular female solo traveler once suggested that “when other travelers ask you what you do for a living and you’re not sure if they can be trusted, tell them you’re a police officer on holiday”. Brilliant, no?
CONVENIENCE/ EMERGENCY TIPS
For ease of travel and in the case of emergencies, it is necessary to be familiar with these tips;
-Scan your important documents such as your passport, driver’s license, and health papers and save them on an online storage space. You might lose your devices and documents, but your files will always be online.
-Keep some cash for emergencies and hide it in unlikely places on your person or in your luggage. Sanitary pads and religious books are a few places to consider.
-Avoid or bargain a reduction in the single supplement -a travel industry premium charged to solo travelers when they take a room alone.
-If you’re traveling to a place where they speak a different language, do a crash course on the spoken language of your desired location. It will help you to get along easily.
-Before you travel, take up hiking as a sport to build your stamina and endurance for when you travel and have to carry your luggage with you for possibly long periods.
-Get insured for your travel: This helps in the event of medical emergencies, thefts, and losses
-Pack essentials: It might be tempting to cram your luggage with things that you won’t really need. For your convenience, your luggage should mostly be made up of essentials -pack light!
TIPS FOR ENJOYING YOUR TRIP
Solo travelers often feel boredom, fear, and several other emotions that deny them of the pleasures of travel. Here is a list of tips to ensure that you enjoy your trip fully;
-It’s a solo travel, true, but get out there and meet new people.
-Try out local cuisine, go sightseeing, and immerse yourself in real experiences.
-Don’t resist impulse: eat that cake, indulge in that guilty pleasure.
-Watch your drinking. This was mentioned earlier as a safety tip, but it doubles as a tip on enjoying yourself maximally while on a trip. Would you want to be any less in control of yourself while on the trip of your life?
-Easy with the selfie sticks: Usually, you want to preserve beautiful memories in pictures, but sometimes overdoing it hampers with the quality of your own personal experiences. If you truly enjoy yourself, you won’t need photos to remind you of how you felt on your trip to Ikogosi Warm Spring in Nigeria, or the Amazon river in Brazil.
To travel is a beautiful thing, to do so on your own is liberating, and one of the best ways to truly discover yourself. No woman should be denied of this pleasure simply because of her sex!
Head of Communications, Hotels.ng