Ticket for 1? Solo Traveling Tips!
Independent, fearless (most of the time) and confident... are we talking about women that belly dance or are we talking about women who travel solo? Yes & Yes... and many times the two are actually one-in-the-same.
Three-quarters of those who take cultural, adventure, or nature trips are women, and women make 80% of travel decisions regardless of where they go or who they go with. There has even been a 230% increase in the number of women-only travel companies in the past six years.
Dilara Sultan is a belly dancer who has a long list of solo travels under her belt, but that does not allow her to be any less cautious. "I believe that it has actually made me a better traveler for it," she said in a recent interview with a major national magazine. "I have sat back and observed many, many mistakes that people - men and women included - do putting themselves at risk."
As a result, Dilara has taken on the role of "travel-nag" when she learns of trips that people will be taking. "Don’t get me wrong; to travel and see the world is the best way to understand it. To keep your guard up and be relaxed are two very important keys to successful journeys. Unfortunately, most people mess them up."
So what can a woman who has trekked to 16 counties in the last 4 years (and calls both Texas and Turkey home) teach anyone about travel? Plenty, and she has also enlisted the help of fellow belly dancers from around the world to help as well.
On the morning of your trip, beware of the bling. Lots of jewelry can set off airport metal detectors and slow down the process. Also refrain from wearing too many layers, if you get cold easy, grab a light jacket. Wearing comfortable shoes is a must, shoes that can be slipped on and off. Just a quick reminder that wearing socks is smart so you are not standing barefoot in the security line.
When riding in taxi cabs, watch to make sure that the cab's meter is running - or that one even exists. Do not allow it to be held at the whim of a driver how much you will have to pay when you get to your destination. Depending on the city, consider checking for a private driver to pick you up at the airport rather than taking a cab. The car is cleaner, the service is better, and the leg room is a great bonus.
When Dilara travels to New Jersey, Chicago, and other metro areas, the limo is the way to go. "If I have a few friends with me, it is actually cheaper to have a limo rather than four people take teo cabs. If I am alone, the extra leg room in a Town Car is worth the extra cost, but the bottom line is that I feel much safer with a prearranged driver."
Once you are at the hotel, instruct the front desk to refrain from giving out your name and room number if asked. Keep a close eye on your bags while checking in. Be careful about when you hang out your "Please service this room" sign, as it tells people you're not there. It's safest to simple call housekeeping when you leave your room. Conversely, the do not disturb sign can make the room seem occupied, which is especially handy if you leave expensive items inside.
Know your expected costs. Contact your hotel and ask them what to expect in cab fares so you are prepared. While you have them on the phone, ask about a hotel shuttle or driver available. The cost may be near the same - or even free.
Whenever you're out shopping and sight-seeing, don't set your purse down on the ground. Keep it close to your body while walking. Leave expensive jewelry and cash in your hotel safe. Make photo copies of you credit cards and IDs before you leave in case they get stolen. And as always, avoid those pesky tourist traps if at all possible!
Traveling alone can be a scary prospect, but more you do it, the easier it becomes. Always remain alert to your surroundings and do your research before you leave. Following these simple tips will ensure that your trip is a great success.
Caution: your identity could be in danger if you're using public Wi-Fi hotspots. Protect your information by following the A-B-C's of Wi-Fi safety here.