The idea of traveling to exotic places alone conjures up images of the lonely woman bent over her evening meal with three empty chairs around the table. A long "Ohhh! How sad!" usually follows. Thankfully, reality is much different than this dismal image.
A woman traveling alone has the advantage of planning her days of museum-hopping and bazaar-shopping without the need to compromise for a visit to the newly-constructed sports arena. She can talk to shop owners without looking over her shoulder at the entrance to see if her companion is still nearby. With a little planning, she can have the trip-of-a-lifetime, all the while feeling sorry for the people in groups who are as miserable as they think she is.When planning to travel alone, safety is a priority. Whether tripping domestically or internationally, there are precautions that should be followed. For example, when you encounter a hotel clerk who says your room number aloud as he hands you the key, you should go to that room and immediately call the front desk.
Ask for a different room. Don't unpack. Don't have a glass of water. Just call and ask for a new room. You should inform the manager that you're changing rooms because your old room number is not confidential. If you must stay in a less-than-secure hotel, you should ask for a room on the top floor (or, at least not at street level).
Verify that there's a telephone in the room and that it works. Always get a room with dead-bolt locks and keep your room secure at all times. It's best not to travel with heirlooms or expensive jewelry but if you forgot or your aunt just gave you a gift that you have to carry with you through the trip, always ask to put it in the hotel safe. Always get a signed receipt from the hotel clerk. And never wear the jewelry when you're going sightseeing or bar-hopping.
Keeping your passport safe is actually pretty easy. Don't put it in your purse or an outside pocket. Travel stores carry small pouches that are worn inside your clothing and are closed with Velcro. Invest in one of these cool pouches and keep both your passport and any transportation tickets (such as a rail pass) tucked neatly inside. The same goes for travelers' checks. Never keep your checks and your receipts in the same place; keep the receipts in your main suitcase and take out only the checks you'll need for the day.
These day-checks should be kept in a secure "inside-the-clothing" pouch.If you're traveling internationally, you'll have lots of different kinds of currency. Clerks in foreign countries love to give coins as change to Americans.
It's easier for them and it's more difficult for you to exchange. If you don't catch onto them, you'll find yourself weighed down by the heavy jingle-jangle of change and you'll need a massage before you leave that cute ancient ruin. Learn the values of currency for the country you're visiting, and always ask for your change in paper money. Before deciding to leave the country, take out a couple of small bills for your scrapbook and exchange the rest into the currency for the next country instead of American dollars. Your rate of exchange will be better and you won't pay an exchange fee twice.
As you venture into single-life travel, know that you're one of the lucky few who can actually make this choice. It's too much fun to chat-it-up with people along the way, learn about their family heritage and become one of their favorite visitors. You'll find life-long friends as you step aboard foreign trains or have a cocktail in the plush lounge of an urban boutique hotel. Have fun with it.and travel safe..Nina Brock is a Portland, Oregon writer and business owner. She is co-creator of Boardeaux, the Unique Board Game for Wine Lovers. After years in large corporations, she now freelances business and other writing as well as public speaking.
By: Nina Brock