Things you should know about solo travel for women…
Often I get asked to contribute to others blogs for women and on traveling.
Here’s what I wrote for a recent blog which I thought I’d share…
As a woman traveling on your own around the world there are some things you need to know so you feel safe, organised, empowered and on top of things! And some of these things may surprise you a little bit
Of course when traveling alone you need to be organised. It’s really easy to get flustered with no one else to ground you. So be prepared.
- Look up all your Visa Requirements before you leave. Check with the different consulates via phone or email if you need to. Travel Agents don’t always have all the information so you need to check the websites of each country before you leave
- Check the validity of your passport. Most countries require a 6 month validity to enter. And if you think you’ll end up traveling longer then get a new passport before you leave. These take up to 10 working days.
- Always carry photocopies of your passports … but don’t do what I did once and leave them on your printer! Rookie Error and I was no Rookie! Lol
- Have all your travel documents in one folder / travel wallet / purse and ensure you carry some reliable pens.
The Flight – make sure you’re comfortable
- Always pack a comfortable pillow even if one of those u shaped neck pillows you can buy in every airport. If you’re comfortable you’ll hopefully sleep and that’s always important when traveling as it can be hard work
- If you swell up get some compression socks
- Always have a pair of legins, warm socks and a cardigan of sorts or wrap of some sort – night flights can get really cold
- I always carry a couple of scarves that are warm so I can drape them over me like blankets or around my shoulders and can keep you warm at your next destination. If it’s already warm they’re easy to rollup and pop in your hand luggage
- I find it’s worthwhile having hand luggage on wheels so if you’re stuck in lines you don’t have heavy bags weighing you down. I also have a large light handbag that I can put under the seat in front with everything I need at arms length.
- To stay fresh carry a spritzer for your face to keep your skin hydrated; a cream for face, hands, arms and legs; any concealer you need for tired eyes and a good lip gloss to keep your lips hydrated.
- Make sure you buy water to take on board. In International you will need to buy this on the other side of customs. Its usually expensive but you will need it. Often the flight attendants wont get to you for at least half an hour and then you receive small cups of water which isn’t enough to keep you hydrated.
- Try to eat healthy food on the flight and remember alcohol is extremely dehydrating and not the best thing for your body to consume while flying. You will feel more affected than usual and then you need to navigate yourself once you get off the flight so you want your wits about you.
- Even though I fly all the time I can be a really nervous flyer, so I have some good meditations downloaded … Deepak Chopra – The Secret of Love … may sound a bit corny but the smooth sounding calming voice and relaxing background music calm me down everytime. Do all your itunes downloads before you leave.
- Some carriers in flight entertainment is designed for your ipad, tablet or phone, so may be worthwhile investing in before you leave and ensure you download your favourite music and movies. Comfort entertainment.
- Personally I always use lightweight luggage so you can carry more inside it. Mine are medium sized (otherwise with large suitcases you always go over the weight limit) and very importantly they must have 4 wheels that can go in any direction. This makes a huge difference especially when you’re on your own and there’s not always someone to help. Both my luggage and hand luggage have this and I can roll one on each hand with extra bags on top. If you have to tilt luggage on 2 wheels you’re carrying the extra weight.
- Of course if you’re back packing that’s a whole different scenario. But make sure everything is lightweight and your backpack is the right size and weight for you.
- Always put all of your toiletries in your large luggage, don’t carry it on board.
- Remember you can only carry 100ml bottles of fluids (including creams etc. on board) and even then they sometimes explode or leak so best to keep them in sealed plastic bags
- If you’re great at picking up languages, lucky you! If like me you’re not, then make sure you have a good translator app on your phone.
- Always try to learn at least a few phrases in another language… hello, goodbye, thankyou, excuse me, and learn the word for toilet! I learnt that after traveling to China and needing a toilet urgently in a department store. After playing charades with lots of squatting the girls still had no idea what I meant and there was no signage to point to. Lucky I saw a McDonalds sign just in time and ran for it lol.
- If you ask people from the country you are traveling to about words and make an effort to learn they will connect with you much easier and appreciate your effort.
- There is definitely a universal language though … eye contact, a smile, a touch on the arm, certain body language gestures, tone of voice. It’s a good experience to be more in tune with ourselves and others on a different level when we don’t know the language.
- One of the hardest thing about traveling on your own can be loneliness. Although you do meet many other people when on your own, there are also times – usually mealtimes – when you can feel a bit exposed. Couples seem to stare at you rather than speaking to each other and not all of us can go up to every person we see. So arm yourself with a good book or an electronic device. Mealtimes are a good time to catchup on facebook, download photos, send emails or even Skype. In many countries restaurants have free wi-fi thank god!
- Music is a great way to elevate your moods
- And when you’re tired, let yourself rest. Traveling can be hard going and often we push ourselves out of discomfort. Sometimes its best to just find a nice quiet place, take a deep breath, look around in thankfulness and be in the present moment.
And most of all go with the flow. Let things happen and let yourself get caught up in them rather than sticking to a strict schedule. This way you’ll experience so much more than having your head in a map or a lonely planet book. Look around, make eye contact with people, connect with nature, stay when you want to stay and go when you want to go and learn to be a part of this amazing world, like a drop is a part of the ocean.
Love Zoe x
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