Quick Tips for Solo Travelers

Keep it in front of you, and that looks goofy and whatever, but you’re going to make sure that you don’t lose all your stuff. Hi everybody, my name is Shayla, and I do these videos every Wednesday. I have been traveling full time since 2015, and I make these videos every week to inspire you and encourage you to start creating a life that you want instead of just falling into one.

This week I’m in Athens, Greece and I am volunteering with refugees. I have extended my trip and I have been getting a lot of messages asking about how I’m traveling by myself. I wanted to address the single female travelers and give you some advice that I’ve learned from traveling for the past two years.

So tip number one is download Google Maps. Google Maps, or Maps.me, which I haven’t used, essentially it’s a way for you to get maps offline, because even if you don’t have service, your phone still knows where you are.

In Cuba we could pin the house, and that way when we want to the beach, we’d know exactly how to get back. It’s also really nice when you’re in a taxi, you can put in your home and you know that the taxi’s
bringing you to your home and not to another place.

The other thing is you can put your earbuds in. So here in Greece I walk to the community centers that I volunteer in, and so I’ll be just walking down the road, listening to my audiobook or my podcast,
and I have maps on, and it’ll tell me, take your left, so then I know to take a left, and I don’t have to be that, oh, what’s going on?

Then you become a target, this girl has no idea where she is, so if you act like you know where you’re going, fake it until you make it and get there, if you’re not sure, then act like you know where you’re going until you could hop into a cafe or somewhere that you can look at your phone.

So building on that, tip number two is, don’t make yourself a target. There’s so many things that you do that you might not realize, so having your phone out like this, (mumbles) snatch, it’s gone, it’s gone.

Take that picture and then put it back. Your camera is also another big thing. In Nicaragua, a photographer taught me to put duct tape over, mine says Sony, so I put duct tape over Sony, and on the strap a little bit, jus to make it look a little more worn, it’s not like, oh my gosh, this brand new, awesome camera, it kind of looks like it’s been in your backpack for a while.

Also, jewelry, a lot of my friends are getting engaged, because it’s that time, when we used to go to Mexico my mom would always buy a fake wedding ring, so if anybody wants to rob you, it’s a no-brainer,
please take this target ring, get it away from me.

The next thing is your purse. So my purse, let me go get it. You want a purse that can go across body, you don’t want to have your purse on your shoulder like this, you want it to go all the way across,
across your body like this.

Keep it in front, not back on your hip. The other thing that’s super handy, which I didn’t even realize when I bought this purse, it can also be a clutch, or you could put your hand through it and just hang on to it as you’re strolling through the market.

Because what’s happening is people are taking scissors, cutting this, and then they take your purse, and it’s gone. Your backpack is another thing. So, let me grab that. Depending on where you were I would not recommend wearing an outfit like this, but since it’s what I’m wearing, I’m going to show you.

Wearing your backpack like this, on somewhere like the metro, not ideal, because you can’t see what’s going on back here. Whenever I get on the metro, I throw it on front like this, and just chill with it. And that looks goofy and whatever, but you’re going to make sure that you don’t lose all your stuff.

See all these really handy compartments that make accessing your stuff really easy, don’t put your (beep) there. You can see there’s another pocket in here, put things in there so that it’s easy for you
to find but not easy for people to take.

And when you walk around, walk around with a purpose, don’t walk around with your phone like, ah, I don’t, what? Walk with a purpose, like you know exactly where you’re going, you’ve done this a thousand times before.

Tip number three is where to put important things. Passport; in Spain, my best friend Laura lost her passport, take pictures of the passport, either have it on your phone, or I print out hard copies, so if I do lose my passport it makes the process of getting a new one really, really easy.

When we want to Cuba, they don’t take your credit cards, and we weren’t sure about the ATMs, so we had a lot of money. Some in my purse, in my makeup bag, in my electronics. If somebody stole my purse, I wasn’t completely out of money.

Tip number four, a lot of people, women specifically, when they travel, are really nervous about where to stay. I would hands down recommend a hostel. And people are freaked out about hostels because that stupid movie.

A lot for times, for women, they have women only dorms, or co-ed dorms, so you can decide. And people think that it’s dangerous, being with all those people, but I feel like it’s more eyes and more people that can help you.

If some guy’s trying to approach you in the hostel, getting too close, you can say something and there’s a lot of other people in the room that will help you. So when you go and you meet people, a lot of times
you’ll go out, so tip number five is don’t drink too much.

Don’t go out and be like, alright, we’re going to get hammered, I’m in Amsterdam, I’m going to try all the drugs that I’ve never tried before. This is not the place. You want to have fun, and you want to socialize,
drinking beer is better than drinking cocktails because you can see them open the bottle and you know that nothing is getting inside of it, people don’t know you, people are not making sure that you make it home okay, you need to make sure that you are on your game, and that I think is where a lot of people get in trouble.

Tip number six is pack light. You are traveling by yourself, you want to be independent, you don’t want to need someone else to have to carry your bags. I pack with this thing. This is my bag, and I love these backpacking backpacks, it has this really nice hip strap, but you can see it’s not even on my shoulder, so it’s all on my hips, and this keeps it so it doesn’t hurt your back too much, but you want to make sure that when this is on, everything is really tight, so this is nice and tight onto, it should just be like an extension of your body.

And then you could have this on the front. I love this combination. And I try and pack with this inside because inevitably, sometimes you end up with more than you go with, souvenirs and different things. Again, you do not want to be the damsel in distress who’s on the airplane and can’t get her bag down because it’s too heavy, you want to be super independent, get your stuff.

For not knowing what to pack, you pack enough for one week. And then, you meet lots of friends so that you can wear the same outfit two nights in a row with two different groups of people. I really love this outfit, and I went out with a different group last night than I’m going out with tonight, I’m wearing the same outfit.

It’s really that simple. I do that while I’m traveling, I do that at home. Even for these videos I have to think about a new outfit to wear because I don’t have that many clothes. Number seven, I am a backpacker, I am very frugal, I’m very cheap, and one thing that I do pay for is safety.

When we were in Thailand we had a late night flight that came into Bangkok, but Bangkok’s not really that safe of a place, especially at night, so we paid the extra money to ensure safety. We asked the hotel to send a taxi for us, and I think that you should never skimp on that.

Even here in Greece, when I go out at night, the walk to the metro, all the time, it’s like a 20 minute walk, but at 11 o’clock at night, I wasn’t so sure, and I wasn’t willing to risk it for five dollars, so I definitely called a cab and had them bring me.

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