Sunday, February 15, 2009

ProTravel Tip: 10 Tips for Traveling Alone

I’ve had a number of questions asking me to share tips for people who travel alone. Here are a few of our ProTravel Tips:

1. When possible, arrive at your destination during the day. Even familiar destinations look different at night. Cities that are perfectly safe, can make you feel unnerved at night. By arriving during the day, you can get your bearings by the time night falls.

2. Get directions for driving your rental car from the airport to your destination. Ask the rental agent for a map and explicit directions of how to get to your location. Ask for the rental company’s phone number so you can call back for directions if you get lost or turned around.

3. At the hotel: Ask the front desk clerk to write down your room number and not to say it aloud. Always ask for two keys so it’s not apparent you’re alone. Ask the bellman to accompany you to your room if you feel uncomfortable.

4. After you arrive: Ask the concierge or front desk staff to point out any areas of the city or region they recommend you avoid.

5. Don’t leave your breakfast card hanging from the door. One card usually means one occupant. Instead, call your order in the night before.

6. When you go out, be sure you have written down name of the hotel, its address and phone number, and that you have the phone number of a reliable cab service the hotel recommends.

7. Be conservative in your dress, so you don’t attract unwanted attention. Going to a special event? Try to meet friends or colleagues with whom you can travel there. Ladies, if you’re wearing evening attire, consider sporting a shawl or cover up over formal attire until you arrive. Hide flashy jewelry – even fake – in your purse to put on once you get there.

8. Safeguard your documents and extra money – If there is a safe at the hotel, this is the best place for passports and extra cash. If you must keep these items on you, hide them somewhere other than your purse or wallet. For more on this topic, read: “Traveling with Cash.”

9. Walk confidently. Study your route in advance and if you do get lost, don’t act as if you are. Calmly and confidently ask at a restaurant, hotel or other business establishment for directions.

10. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, there may be a reason for it. A friend once felt as if she was being followed in NYC, so she ducked into an apartment building with a doorman and told him of her concerns. It turns out she wasn’t being paranoid. Her pursuer actually followed her into the apartment building. The doorman chased him off by threatening to call the police.

Safe and happy travels!

The Travel Guru

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