If you have read any of my posts in the past few weeks, or follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, do!), you will not be shocked to learn that I love to travel. I know, not the world’s best kept secret. But I do. There is something so empowering about visiting a country where you don’t speak the language and learning how to navigate the streets, subway, and menus. When I travel, it is generally for work, which means I travel alone a lot. Most folks cringe right about here. I get a lot of questions about feeling safe, getting lonely, what if there is an emergency… Well, what if there isn’t? Papa Bear and I both have a bubble. We both recognize that it is better for all of us, if each of us has a bit of space once in a while. We generally travel with the family if we are on vacation, but work trips are alone time. Sometimes, with a three year old in the house, all I need is a little time to remember what it is like to be an adult (one who selfishly sleeps squarely down the middle of the bed while snuggling up in piles and piles of comforters that she isn’t having to battle anyone for) and read a book, have a cup of tea that I finish before it cools completely, or wipe something (counters, floors, tiny humans – anything really).
So, here we go, I wanted to share a few things I do to make sure that any travel opportunity I take is safe, fun and productive.
There are some countries where I feel completely at home, and others that I don’t know well. Obviously, for the ones I have frequented, I don’t plan as heavily as I do when I am traveling to a new destination – domestically or internationally. Planning can’t be underestimated. I am traveling to Philadelphia soon, alone, and have never been there. Catch that post here. Most people think I over plan, but going into any situation with a plan is going to make you feel more secure. Wait to get to the city to find a hotel? Absolutely not! Google what to see on the plane? Are you nuts? Half the fun of any trip is planning what you want to see, do and where you want to eat. I love to eat where the locals eat, see what the locals see, and balance it with any particularly interesting activities located in the city that may be more touristy. When in Philly, I can’t not go see the Liberty Bell. I also want to have breakfast at a local coffee shop, see bistros that locals frequent, and spend my lunch breaks (it is work after all) eating lunch in a park and people watching. Knowing where take out, sit down or ice cream shops are that you want to swing by on the way to another location will help you maximize your time.
Here comes the Mom in me. Invest in travel insurance if you are going to be traveling frequently, or if you are traveling international at all. I have a policy that allows for lost baggage, trip delay, trip cancellation, evacuation, repatriation, and many other things. I have had to use mine on more than one occasion for trip delays and delayed baggage and boy was I glad to have it! Thankfully I have not had to use it for medical reasons yet, but will be very glad to have it if I do. I like the policies that are willing to negotiate payment guarantee with the provider so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed. I don’t happen to have an extra $10,000 laying around to front and wait on an insurance company to reimburse me. Be sure to know the provisions of any policy you purchase, what is covered and what is not, and how to use your policy abroad.
Always have a way to be in contact with someone so that they know where you are! Safety is critical – especially when traveling alone as a female. I feel like I am a seasoned traveler, and pretty able to take care of myself. That being said, I want to check in with my family at least once a day – mainly so that I know the house is still standing and Papa Bear hasn’t been tied to a chair and left in the basement while the tinies go out of ice cream – but also so that they know I am ok. Domestically it isn’t an issue, but abroad it can be. Check out your carrier’s plans, and if nothing else, connect to wifi long enough to send a text, make a facebook post, or place a call and check in. You want to be missed in a timely manner if your mountain biking expedition goes awry.
I can’t stress this enough. Know where you are, who you are with, and what the plan is before you go anywhere with anyone. Even in all of my wisdom, I have found myself out with colleagues who were a little more free spirited than I am – which is saying a LOT! When I travel alone, I make sure to be aware of my surroundings. I research the destination ahead of time to know what areas tourists are safe in and where they are not after dark. I also make sure to limit my consumption of anything that may make me less likely to pay attention to those things and keep myself safe. I want memories, not nightmares.
Luggage Locks/Travel Necessities
There are a few items I can’t travel without. See my favorite travel accessories here. I love to have my audible subscription (I’m currently listening to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and it is amazing!), ear buds, and crochet in my purse (my travel bag is so big I could put my toddler in it!) so that I have something to keep me occupied in the airport. I’m an extrovert, but if you creep me out in the first five minutes, expect a very quiet flight. Check out what is in my carry-on bag for short flights here.
Many of the items on the list in my previous post can be purchased for a penance at Amazon. My favorite are my packing cubes. It helps me stay organized, wrinkle free (important for work) and keep my shoes, clothes, and other items easy to find and access. Don’t spend tons of money on travel accessories, save those dollars to fund experiences on your trip.
I may make a small commission for any items purchased through Amazon via links in this or any other post on my site. There will be NO addition charge to you.