Some people shouldn’t snack at Midnight, or post online, or feed Gremlins. I should not be allowed to book travel. The number of middle of the night flights, bus rides and even ferry seats I have spontaneously purchased on a Monster Energy Drink and Cold Little Caesars pizza spree is...five. But perhaps that’s five too many, as with every occasion, I excitedly spend the next day telling everyone I see, “Hey guess where I’m going?!” to which my audience’s response is always the same, “Oh, cool. Who are you going with?” ...Uh, me? Cue the outrage and distress.
Whether taking a plane, bus or hitchhiking your way to an adventure, there are ways to prove the haters wrong, be safe and make the most of your trip. Here are my top tips:
Here I am safe and sound on a solo trip to Iceland exploring the Grandi neighborhood of Reykjavik (the art is by Guido van Holsen).
Take advantage of the witching hours
- Schedule layovers/gaps in travel during the wee hours of the morning. Some people were not made for the red-eye life, but keep in mind if you can schedule your journeys for overnight travel, you can spend more of your daytime hours on fun activities. Also, take into account how long your trip is - if you can time it so that any layovers or wait time in rest stops/terminals/bus stations is during the wee hours of the morning you reduce risk (crime tends to peak in the afternoon) and also - shorter bathroom lines!
Prepare for Aunt Flo
- Come amply supplied with feminine hygiene products. Tampons, pads, diva cups, etc, can be incredibly hard to find in some countries. Even if you are not traveling during your cycle, bring some supplies just in case. Pro tip: Bring an empty tampon applicator as well - they make great secret storage spaces for rolled up emergency cash. Just don’t forget they are there!
Kick it old school
- Go old school with your memories! Nowadays it is so easy and affordable to buy an instant camera from Instax Fujifilm or even resuscitate new life into your family’s 90’s Polaroid camera thanks to the Impossible Project and Polaroid Originals. Taking an instant camera gives you some tangible memories from your trip, so that the pictures don’t have to live on your phone forever, can decrease spending on tchotkes and souvenirs (You’re making your own!). It makes it easy to remember every aspect of your trip when you don’t have travel partners to bounce memories off of, makes you less of a target because you're not constantly holding up your iPhone 8 or expensive DSLR, and it's also a great way to meet locals - someone has to push the button to take the pic, no selfie sticks here!
Avoid the trunk
- When taking taxis or public transportation, keep your belongings with you, not in a luggage compartment or trunk. This way you have control and can leave at your own mercy - or at a moment’s notice if needed!
Fly under the radar
- Be the most difficult target on the block. Whether that is carrying yourself a certain way, locking up your bags in multiple ways, hiding alarms on your body or residence when it’s just too much effort to go after a tourist like you, most people will give up.