5 things to do when traveling alone

I'll admit one thing: while I love traveling and spending money, I really shouldn't venture abroad, but I almost never go alone. As a young woman, I often had conflicts with strangers who insisted on talking to me, dancing with me, or getting my attention in some way. But there are plenty of women who don’t feel the same fear, and if you, my friend, fall into this category, then read on. A Broad Abroad 's Paula Froelich is sharing her top safety tips for traveling alone.

Fröhlich traveled the world alone, and she wrote extensively about her experiences. Some of her travel credits include skiing in Afghanistan, shoe theft in India, and reporting in Casablanca, to name a few, so you can rest assured she knows what she's talking about.

Recently, she put together a list of top tips for women traveling solo – and I love it. Even if you're not hopping on a plane alone to another continent anytime soon, there will almost always be a time when you're separated from friends or family during a group trip. Here are some of my favorite tips for smart, safe travelers.

1. "Always carry door frames in exchange for cheaper hotel room doors."

I bet when you were trying to cram everything into your suitcase, you didn't say to yourself, "Door frame! Don't forget my trusty door frame!" I really didn't before, but now I keep it in mind. As an American, I'm used to hotels with fairly good gates. Even motels have multiple locks. But this isn't always the case if you're traveling abroad, and if you're staying in a cheaper hotel with less secure rooms, you can make the most of door frames. If you want something a little more high-tech, you can purchase a portable alarm that's guaranteed to scare away any intruders.

2. “It’s okay to be aloof.”

First impressions can be difficult when you're traveling somewhere unfamiliar. For example, when I was studying abroad in Spain, I kept forgetting the habit of kissing both cheeks when greeting new people, and was labeled aloof because of it. But elsewhere, your interactions may come across as too friendly. Be careful who you shake, hug, touch the arm, or even smile with. In some countries, this can be interpreted as teasing. "I once sat next to a guy in Karbala, which obviously meant that I wanted to be his supporting act (in fact, I didn't)," Frölich writes.

3. “Try not to walk alone at night.”

I know, this seems obvious. But maybe it's 10pm and you've just finished dinner, and you're thinking, "It would be much cheaper to walk back to the hotel from here."

Please, please think again. Just spend your money on taxis. Or at least the bus. Loiters on the sidewalks at night are the worst, so make sure you have some budget set aside for emergency Uber rides. If you're forced to walk alone after dark and don't feel comfortable, walk on the street, Frohlich said. Oddly enough, this is probably safer than dealing with anyone on foot.

4. “Take other people’s religions as seriously as you take them.”

Many places of worship (not to mention entire countries) have strict dress codes. For example, most Catholic churches in Italy will require you to cover your shoulders and wear knee-length skirts or shorts. You can try to protest the rules in the name of your beliefs, but the best outcome is getting a bunch of sideways glances for disrespecting someone's religion. Worst case scenario, you might be banned. Frohlich advises dressing accordingly, even if it's not your usual style.

5. “Crazy people are afraid of crazier people.”

So you somehow got into a conversation with someone who made you feel uncomfortable while traveling. It happens. But how to get out of trouble with minimal trouble? If the person is having normal anger or creepiness, Frohlich recommends staying calm, staring at the person, and preferably saying nothing. Who knew what worked for lions, bears and tigers would also work for dishonest taxi drivers or creepy publicans?

If the person is more than average weird, use Mother Frohlich's rule: "Crazy people are afraid of crazier people." I recommend making Jenna's marble face bigger while screaming and waving her arms , like you were a creature from Welcome to Night Vale .

But Frohlich has a lot more secrets. Check out her articles for the full set. Smart travels, my fellow female adventurers!

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