I'm no stranger to traveling abroad, but up until my recent trip to Paris and Vienna, I've travelled with a friend, significant other or my sister. Even with how spatially aware and type A I am, there are some things that are just out of your control. No matter how smart or savvy you think you are, the truth remains you are in a foreign country and the most important thing is your safety.
I've compiled a list of 6 travel tips for women traveling solo.
- Make sure you are connected at all times. Whether that's paying a couple hundred extra for an international phone plan that month or renting a portable Wi-Fi /data router from the airport, make sure you are able to reach your loved ones, hotel, etc. Verizon has an affordable “pay as you go” option, where you can have Wi-Fi and data overseas for $10/day.
- Use Uber over local taxi services. This one is probably me just being so fucking "American" but after watching Taken a handful of times, you want to make sure you have the information for your taxi driver and are able to track where you're going and being taken. When I landed in Vienna, I had ordered an Uber and as I was waiting in the designated Uber pick up area and a man came up to me and asked me what my name was and if I ordered an Uber and then he proceeded to convince me he was my Uber driver. Even with the travel and sleep deprivation, this didn't seem right to me. Uber drivers will have your name and in return, you will have the name and license plate for the Uber driver picking you up. There is no reason the driver should have to ask what your name is and you always have a "checks and balances", being able to verify the license plate number on your driver’s car.
- Leave your flashy ass shit at home. Let’s be honest I’m a sucker for designer bags. My go-to is a very notable Chloe bag, in red no less and my favorite “going out” bag is my Gucci Dionysus cross body but I leave those at home when traveling. Carrying anything that is noticeably flashy makes you a target for getting pick pocketed or robbed. Don’t put yourself in a Kim K situation and just carry your less conspicuous items. This goes for your electronics as well. I used to travel with my laptop ALL the fucking time because I would convince myself that after being out all day, I’d come back to my hotel and blog or work. That never happens. I just started not even bringing them on my trips and not only do I not worry about it getting damaged or stolen, it saves a lot of weight in my luggage. Cameras… I know I know, if you don’t have that iconic photo in front of the Eiffel Tour, were you even in Paris?! iPhone’s have great photo taking capabilities these days, so if you’re not a photographer/blogger/whatever leave the expensive equipment at home. I travel with my Canon EOS M3, it’s a small and lightweight, easy to travel with camera that takes great photos. I also will only bring one of my lenses. I have three different ones for this camera, but I pick one and stick to it.
- LoJack yourself. Apple and google products have some variation of Find My Friends. I will always activate find my friends for when I’m going on sketchy bumble dates so why not for when I’m abroad by myself? This is a good way for someone back home to always know where you’re at.
- Pack a whistle and pepper spray if you can. The whistle will be totally fine in your carry on. I’ve been able to travel with pepper spray because I pack it in my checked luggage. Note to self: There is no way you’ll be able to get through TSA and international securities with pepper spray. So if you want to pack it, check it!
- Try to limit the amount of foreign currency you have on hand. I’ve always hated carrying cash. Long story short, when I was in elementary school my mom was robbed at gun point bringing back a large sum of cash to my family market. Since then, the idea of have cash on me scares me. I always have a small amount in the currencies of the countries I’m going to for taxis, tips, etc. But I’m lucky because my credit card has no foreign transaction fees (I have the Capital One Quicksilver Card). For those of you who travel international quite a bit, it is a good idea to look into so you don’t have to carry so much cash and you don’t get charged those transaction fees. I’ve included some banks/credit cards below that offer zero transaction fees:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Citi ThankYou Premiere Card
- Starwood Preferred from American Express
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Bank of American Premium Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Platinum Card from American Express
I hope ya’ll found these tips useful and realistic. I’m always annoyed when travel tips tell me to go register with the local Embassy’s. Yeah, that’s probably a smart thing to do, but will you really do it? If you’re like me, the answer is probably no. Haha. But these six travel tips are things I always follow when abroad. Happy travels!