Advice for More ‘Advanced’ Destinations
As I mentioned above, having a plan is really important in lesser visited countries- can’t stress that enough. Things work very differently in Africa and the Middle East than they do in the US or Europe. If you want to travel to offbeat places, you’re going to have to get comfortable with people staring at you- especially if you’re a white woman. This has actually been one of the things I’ve struggled with the most during the past year. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where everyone on the street is staring at you for whatever reason. These looks can feel like judgmental scowls and I’ve felt peoples eyes burning holes through me countless times. It thickens the skin. Attitude is everything. Recognize that smiling in certain cultures can be considered a sign of weakness so don’t always smile but carry the energy as if you are. Sometimes you’ll have to pretend to be in a good mood because more often then not, bad things happen to people with a bad attitude.
Above all, common sense is the most important thing you can bring with you when you’re traveling alone. If you’re on a tight budget, know in advance exactly how much your taxi from the airport to the hotel should cost to avoid being ripped off. Only use certified taxis and don’t be afraid to ask to see their certifications if they’re using their personal cars. Know what the proper currency exchanges are and avoid changing money at a higher rate from the airport if possible. Don’t follow anyone you just met into secluded areas under any circumstances, especially at night. The two best pieces of advice I could give to a women traveling alone is 1. Don’t get uncontrollably intoxicated and 2. Don’t go out alone at night unless you’re with other people. These are very simple, somewhat straight edge and boring rules but following them has kept me out of trouble 100% of the time.
Another really important social skill I’ve cultivated is when I’m walking around markets or shops and men are breathing down my neck trying to hustle me. I either don’t acknowledge them or I tell them to take a step back. Don’t let strangers think they can take advantage of you. Confidence is key. All of these tips might sound obvious but you would be surprised how easy it is to make mistakes when you simply aren’t being mindful.
Traveling alone is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, regardless of your gender. After traveling to 190 countries, I can say for certain that women do not have to live in fear of the world as long as you move with awareness and common sense.
I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen because they most certainly do. However, terrible things and scary people can be found anywhere in the world. That doesn’t mean that you should live your life in fear and miss out on the experiences that will change your life.
Be smart, have fun & change the world ladies!