From New York City to Paris, it’s hard to avoid the allure of big city travel.
However, it’s equally difficult to ignore the often-unspoken headaches related to traveling to a big city where we don’t have friends or family. Likewise, awareness of tourist crime combined with the sheer cost of a downtown vacation can be rather daunting, especially when traveling alone.
Savvy travelers can enjoy downtown areas while flying solo, granted they know what to look out for. Whether you’re considering a trip to a big city or simply want to understand how to make the most of your next solo excursion, keep the following five tips in mind.
Avoid Parking Fees
Downtown areas are often home to hidden fees, although parking is perhaps the worst offender. From mandatory valet parking at restaurants to costly “all day” downtown parking fees, perhaps the best way to enjoy the big city is on-foot and via personal taxi services. Rather than stress out over parking, find coupons on Uber rides to get around the city safely and on the cheap.
Do Your Homework
Although you can often trust your gut when it comes to steering clear of crime-ridden spots, looks can sometimes be deceiving in downtown areas. Therefore, read up on wherever you’re going on sites such as Tripadvisor or community forums as Reddit, offering unbiased, local opinions on areas to avoid. Likewise, it may be beneficial to stick with a taxi service to go from Point A to Point B if you find yourself in an area where walking doesn’t feel safe.
Look the Part
It’s absolutely crucial to remain aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone during nighttime in the city. The advice of “don’t look like a tourist” may seem vague and rather obvious, but keep in mind that many criminals prey on those who seem like they’re out of place. How can you avoid from looking like a potential target?
- Walk confidently: don’t constantly turn your head as if you’re lost or looking around
- Don’t stare down at your phone as you walk and pay attention to what’s in front of you
- Keep a low profile: don’t speak or dress loudly in an attempt to stand out
Chances are, you don’t have too much to worry about if you’re in a highly populated area, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have Cash on Hand
It never hurts to have cash on hand when you’re traveling, especially to avoid potential credit card skimmers and scammers. In addition, many areas downtown may solely accept cash. While you shouldn’t flaunt what’s in your wallet, consider taking out some bills out of the bank before you book your trip.
Stick with Crowds
To ensure your safety, it’s best to stick with crowds whenever possible. The more people that are around at any given time gives you peace of mind that you’re probably somewhere safe: likewise, sticking with crowds as you walk allows you to blend in and avoid any potential feelings of isolation. In short, you’re probably in good company if there’s a crowd.
Downtown travel should be about enjoying the sights of an exciting destination, not stressing out. Stay vigilant when it comes to security, but don’t forget to enjoy your adventures along the way.