Traveling alone is the best thing you’d ever do for yourself. There is no better way to pamper your body, mind and soul than exploring a place solo. It also calls for a few safety measures because, let’s face it, as a female solo traveler you more often than not find unwanted hurdles on your way. Here are a few things you could do to have an enjoyable experience nevertheless.
1. Do Your Research – Knowing where you want to go and why is key when you’re headed anywhere alone. Goa is an ocean of fun things to do but also a sea of tourists. Wandering and planning when you’re already in a tizzy about making the most of your stay there is a waste of time. Find out the best places to eat at, find out where it’s located and how you’d get there. Read enough reviews on Trip advisor and the likes to understand the locals and even the types of tourists better. Make a list of the best sights to see and you can get there and back in a reliable mode of transport. Know the approximate costs of everything and plan your budget accordingly. It would help greatly if you got in touch with a local friend before the trip.
2. Start with the South! – The known fact about Goa – North for parties and South for peace. Traveling alone would mean safety first. The risk of being surrounded by loud, intrusive party animals is higher in North Goa. The South is relatively calmer and friendlier to the solo traveler. Palolem, Patnem, Polem, Agonda and Butterfly beaches are perfect for the solo female traveller to chill and soak in the beauty without a care in the world. Classy parties, great food, heritage sights to see and, most importantly, a chill time with yourself.
3. Find decent accommodation – Find a place that’s highly recommended on travel sites and apps and make an advance booking. Staying in the shacks by the beach is a great idea if you would like to wake up to a pretty sight in the morning but also be wary of the weak construction of these shacks and the risk of having your belongings stolen. The best and safest places to stay would be Seagull Inn, Sameer’s, and other hostels around Palolem Beach.
Sameer Cottages, Palolem
4. Study your surroundings – Observe people, names of shops, take note of different vendors and what’s available where. Know where your nearest hospital, police station and medical store is in case of an emergency. Be mindful and alert when you’re out walking and exploring on your own. In case you find a place or person that makes you uncomfortable, you’ll know how to avoid the situation with ease. Being mindful of your surroundings also helps to figure early on if you’re being “watched” or followed.
Lifeguard vehicle on the beach
5. Stay Connected – Share your coordinates or accommodation deets with your close friends or folks. Let them know your plans, keep your phone charged and stay on the grid whenever you can. You can stay off social media if you want to but do talk to your close ones as often as you can. In the event of finding yourself in an unfriendly situation, you’d know whom to alert first.
Keep a power bank handy
6. Travel light – When in Goa, you know less is more! Flaunt your favourite swimwear and sarong. Carry a pair of comfortable flip flops or sandals. When you pack, ask yourself if you really, really need it. Be honest with yourself and you’d remember all those times you’ve packed stuff that never really made it out of the bag during your last trips. So carry what’s absolutely necessary and you’ll also thank yourself when you have extra room in your bag for the things you’ve shopped for in Goa.
Experience Goa with a lighter bag and a fuller heart!
7. Party closer to your stay – So you have an invitation or more to some happening parties around and may have your new friends coming with you or just plan to check out the place on your own. While this is cool, you’d still need to be aware that coming back from there is gonna be a problem when you’re drunk and with strangers. Find a place not very far from your stay if you’re headed there alone. Use your judgement and understand who you’d want to hang out with. Keep your phone and your spirits fully charged and have a grand time!
Find your chill at a rocking beach party!
8. Trust people – talk to them – Trust your instincts and trust people. They are always willing to help you and teach you a thing or two about the place. Talk to vendors, shopkeepers, lifeguards, tourists, kids, local folk you meet in buses, restaurants and fishermen. Learn about their culture, their life, their struggles and wins. This would give you a view of Goa through their eyes, giving you a fuller experience. The simplicity of the locals living in areas away from the tourist-packed ones is heart-warming.
Meet the lovely locals of Goa
9. Look unafraid (Even if you are!) – Walk like you know where you’re going – even if you don’t! Act like you know the place – even when you have no idea where to find what. This helps maintain that invisible, protective bubble around you that keeps the creeps at bay. Don’t hesitate to ask around if you’re lost. Do not wander into deserted areas at night. Get clear directions and head to places that are easy to find. If you’ve made friends take them with you or tag along with them. Tourists are generally friendly and ready to help. Be wary of strangers who are “extra” polite and too eager to help.
Be cool. Look bold. Stay Confident.
10. Don’t drunk-swim – So you love swimming, you’re at the beach and you’ve had one too many beers or cocktails – don’t even think about it! Drunk-swimming is a major cause of drowning deaths around the world. It’s just as risky when you can’t swim and still want to have a nice dip in the sea- alcohol gives you your new-found courage to wade into the deeper waters. You can drink like a fish but remember you’re not one when you get into those waters. Instead, get your boozy fix after a good swim!
Say no to drunk-sea-dipping!