Here at Expeditions, we’re all about team and group travel but we also know there are plenty of people who have gotten the travel bug from Expeditions. We get it! We do too! We thought it might be helpful to offer a few Cultural Intelligence and Safety travel tips. We’ve reframed these tips from our team training for women who might find themselves traveling solo and not serving on an Expedition.
Here are some tips for all you single ladies that will help you be a street smart traveler!
- Let your family or friends know your travel itinerary and ways to contact you – call, text, email.
- International Cell Phone
- Get a sim card when you arrive or contact your cell phone carrier before you leave to set up a temporary international plan
- Be sure to have phone numbers of emergency contacts
- Do your research
- Spotting tourists a mile away – I used to live in San Francisco, and you could always spot the tourists in the summer by their clothes – shorts, tshirts, sandals. They looked ridiculous because it was usually 50 degrees and foggy in the city.
- Educate yourself on the local dress, customs, food, transportation, etc – talk to friends who have visited the place you’re going, look up travel blogs, buy a book or download an app!
- Have local contacts
- Arrange airport pick-up – don’t accept ride offers
- Translator or guide – you’ll want this person(s) not only for great local suggestions but also for translation help at markets, where they usually give you the “foreigner price” aka about 10 times the local price. They can help you translate the culture (example in India – tell you when to bow or not to shake someone’s hand with your left hand)
- Have a plan
- Spontaneity can be fun but it can also be stressful if you aren’t familiar with the area where you’re traveling. Be sure to research attractions, activities, and restaurants beforehand so you get the most out of your trip!
- Google Maps and other travel apps will help you figure out the best routes.
- This ain’t the South (of the United States)
- Eye contact and smiling, especially directed at men, isn’t always the best decision
- A nonchalant acknowledging smile in the South can be translated in some countries as “I want to be your friend (or more!), please talk to me.” Simply being “nice” could put you in a situation you’ll regret. Don’t risk it.
- You’re not in Kansas anymore – don’t go wandering at night
- Yes, this might be common sense, but many women wrongly assume they can do the same thing as they can in their town or city at home.
- If you do choose to go out at night, be sure to go with someone, preferably a male.
Written by: Megan Stephens