I've cried on my couch while watching Eat, Pray, Love more times than I'm willing to publicly admit. Apart from inspiring me to sob alone in my apartment, it also inspires me to live my Julia Roberts dreams and travel alone. The only problem is that I'm SCARED. There's no way I can comfortably eat, pray, or love on a trip unless I feel safe, protected, and relaxed.
1. "The best advice I've heard as a solo female traveler is if there aren't local women out alone, you shouldn't be either."
2. "Take self-defense classes so you know how to look after yourself if the worst thing happens. You'll feel more confident in yourself."
3. "I take a tampon out of the applicator, roll up my cash, and put it in the empty applicator. I use my flat iron to reseal the wrapper. Someone may steal my wallet, but no one is stealing tampons."
4. "Both Android and iPhones have safety SOS settings. You can configure them to call emergency services with options that you can do without even taking your phone out of your pocket and attracting attention."
5. "If you feel uncomfortable around people when you get somewhere alone, you can make a 'fake phone call.' Say something like, 'Can you open the door for me when I get the room?' so no one knows that you're alone."
6. "If you’re looking to scare someone off, be unhinged. While walking or waiting for the bus, if I get a creep vibe, I stare intensely at something and talk to myself. The less sense it makes, the better."
7. "I travel internationally by myself for work a few times a year, and when looking at hotels, I always do a run-through on Google street view of the surroundings so I'll know what to expect. It helps to feel more comfortable somewhere new after I get the lay of the land."
8. "Write down important phone numbers on pieces of paper and leave a copy in your hotel room, another on you, and another in each suitcase just in case you lose your phone and don’t have important contacts memorized."
9. "Ignore people! A lot of the worst behavior I have experienced as a woman on my own comes from business owners who think a female tourist is an easy target for a flirtatious or aggressive sales tactic or men in bars or cafes who think that makes you an easy pick up. Most people with less-than-honorable intentions will back off if you really don't engage with them!"
10. "Get a bag with a zipper! Makes it way harder for anyone to pickpocket you."
11. "I'm single and when I went to Cape Town, I visited a local brewery. When a guy started to chat me up, I got a weird feeling...so I mentioned that my 'wife' was on her way over and pulled up my friend's Instagram that has a ton of photos of me and her together and he immediately changed the conversation and tone with me from flirting."
12. "Always share your location with anyone back home — no matter the time difference. It helps in emergencies to track your last known location."
13. "Buy a door jammer for your hotel room! It fits perfectly in checked luggage and won’t take up any room in a car. It’s lightweight and could save your life. If you want to add another layer of safety, pack rubber door stoppers."