Liam Witham of PSS International Removals sends us this useful article with lots of tips for female expats traveling alone. Thanks Liam!
Being a female expat can be daunting at times, although more often than not, travelling alone can be an amazing and personal experience. After all, you are your own boss, and the only person you need to worry about is yourself – so spread your wings and fly! But for female expats traveling alone, things are not always easy.
To help with the process, we’ve developed a few hints and tips.
> Always start by planning your housing options and transportation before you leave. Where you decide to live and your methods of travel are very important, so always try and book your tickets as far in advance as possible for cheaper prices.
> When taking the train, avoid sleeping in empty compartments. You’re safer sharing a compartment with a family or group of friends. If available, rent a couchette for overnight trains. In some countries, for a small charge, you may be able to stay with like-minded roommates in a compartment that you can lock, in a car monitored by an attendant. Chances are you’ll wake-up well rested with your belongings intact.
> If looking for cheap and temporary accommodation while you search for something more permanent then book a hostel with a minimum of 4 people in the same room, take a look at Air BnB.
> Everyone needs to communicate with others directly and sometimes, after days of walking around a new city, you may find yourself needing human contact. By staying with other travellers in the same room, at a sociable hotel or comfortable apartment, you could share stories about the city or the joys of travelling and you could even meet new friends in the process.
> Avoid becoming a couch potato and don’t be scared of talking to strangers. Wherever you might be and whenever you feel alone, open up to the people you meet – whether that be waiting for the bus or sitting on the beach. Always smile, ask for help or comment on a particular topic that may lead to a longer dialogue and develop that into a meaningful relationship.
> When it comes to men – do your research, learn how to deal with them in your new country and don’t be shy! If you never converse with men, you could be missing out on a chance to learn something new but use your female instincts to choose the man and choose the setting.
> Always dress modestly to minimise unwanted attention from men and take your cue from local women. Never be overly polite if you’re bothered by certain men and always create boundaries to protect yourself from potential threats. Use appropriate facial expressions, body language and a loud firm voice to fend off any unwanted attention.
> Should a man come too close, say “no” firmly and loudly in the local language. Furthermore, if you’re arranging to meet a new male friend, choose a public and recognisable place. Depending on your location, if you are worried about street crime, you could try wearing a money belt to keep your money, important documents, passport and credit cards safe. In a worst case scenario, should someone steal your purse, you won’t lose as much.
> When you use cash machines, withdraw cash during the day on a busy street, not at night when it’s dark with few people around.
> Avoid going down small and suspicious alleys and play it safe while navigating. If your gut feeling tells you that a certain route might be dangerous, consider an alternative. Be self-reliant and well prepared, so that you don’t need to depend on someone unless you want to. Carry cash, a map, a guidebook, and a phrase book. Walk purposefully with your head up; look like you know where you’re going. If you get lost in a dodgy neighbourhood then be savvy about whom you ask for help; seek out another women or go into a store or restaurant to ask for directions.
> Always keep in touch with friends and family on a regular basis – whether via social media, the telephone or good old letter writing, and let them know of your movements. Try not to start your day too early and finish it too late – being a woman you have to consider every possibility so be sensitive as to your location.
> Stay confident and worry less – positivity is the key to happiness. Should something go wrong, just relax, smile and create other plans to divert your attention away
PSS International Removals are a family run business specialising in international shipping, removals, and relocation services. More on their website: https://www.pssremovals.com/
You might also be interested in this lovely article of Positive Health Wellness about why traveling is good for your health.