Every so often, an unfortunate incident affecting a female tourist in some part of the world grabs international headlines. Such news makes the world seem like a dangerous place for the female traveler. While it is true that women may be more vulnerable than men in certain parts of the world, this shouldn’t translate to a complete avoidance of solo travel.
If you are keen on traveling to New York solo, you won’t have to worry about the risks and dangers that bedevil women in less tolerant societies. That being said, there are a couple of things you’d want to pay attention to if you’d like to make your experience memorable.
This is a universal rule wherever in the world you travel to and the Big Apple is not an exception. Blending in means dining where locals go, catching the subway and avoiding anything that would make you stand out in a crowd. Blending in is about having a confident attitude. Act like you belong and know where you are going.
Prior research especially around the places you intend to visit can make a world of difference. Thanks to Google Street View, you can become familiar with different locations months before you arrive.
Leverage Crowds to Your Advantage
It doesn’t take long after you arrive to realize that NYC is one of the largest and busiest cities on the planet. Unless you remain locked up in your hotel room, opportunities to be alone are few and far between. Some may find this suffocating but it can actually work to your advantage.
Crowds make blending in much easier and are an opportunity to relax as you soak in the sights and sounds. Another defining characteristic of New York crowds is the unique buzz and energy. It’s invigorating and there’s never a dull moment.
Be Open to Random Conversation
One of the main reasons people don’t like traveling alone is the fear of being lonely. Of course, there are individuals who don’t mind solitude and actually enjoy it. If being alone could be a problem for you, seek out opportunities to talk to locals and fellow travelers. Engage in random conversation with people at bars, restaurants, cinema lines or a New York City tour bus.Trust your instincts and don’t just talk to anyone you come across.
Choose Your Accommodation Thoughtfully
New York hotel rooms are pretty expensive. Staying in an average quality room for a couple of days can be a significant financial hit. Yet, there are lower cost options. Hostels are one though you have to be prepared to share a bathroom.
Alternatively, you can go for hotels with tiny rooms. After all, you will spend much of your day out there and probably only be in your room when sleeping or picking up something. That being said, accommodation is one thing you do not want to save too much on. Cost must be balanced with convenience and safety considerations. This brings us to the next point.
It’s great to stay in a hotel with top notch facilities. Such amenities can however be substantially diluted if the location is not right. There’s no benefit in paying for a luxurious room if you are likely to be mugged as you walk there in the evening.
New York is quite safe but always err on the side of caution by staying in a nice neighborhood. Transportation options should also determine where you sleep. Identify accommodation that’s a short distance from a subway station.
Use Common Sense
Some fundamental principles of travel apply from New Delhi to New York, from Beijing to Buenos Aires. Don’t get staggering drunk when you are alone or with a newly-made acquaintance. Don’t walk on dark deserted or unfamiliar streets especially at night. Take a cab whenever you are in doubt.
Trust Your Instinct
One of the good things about traveling solo is that you are under no obligation to do anything you are uncomfortable with. If you feel a person or situation is suspicious, trust your gut and get out of there.
It’s amazing how many people will walk into trouble simply because they are afraid of changing their minds or offending someone. Your safety comes first and some mistakes or bad decisions can scar you for life. The last thing you’d want is for your New York City visit to become one you want to quickly forget.
As you read this, numerous solo female travelers are in New York and elsewhere in the world having the time of their lives. Be bold, be sensible and the Big Apple will be yours to conquer.