Traveling alone can be challenging whether you are an adventurous person or not, and no timing or circumstance can make the journey ideal. As with all travel, the key to traveling is preparation. When traveling solo, you should give thought to some safety precautions. These five tips are not all-inclusive but are meant to help those planning to travel alone.
1.Share your information with someone, whether it is a family member or a friend. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. If you’ve planned an itinerary, share it with someone and in the age of social media, stay as connected as you can.
2.Upon arrival, take note of your surroundings and the people around you. Do they look like tourists, or do they look local? Is there anyone you notice who is paying particular attention to you? There will always be locals trying to provide transportation upon arrival, but pre-planned transportation or recognized taxi service is always a better option.
3.Get an idea of the travel time to your destination. When making reservations, take note of the driving time and/or distance to know if your ride is taking longer than usual. Often, taxis will take the scenic route to increase the fare, but knowing timing lets the driver know you have an idea of your destination and that you are an aware passenger.
4.When checking into your room, ask at the check-in desk for a floor plan. Some people prefer to be close to the stairs, while others prefer to be near an elevator. Seeing a floor plan lets you know the general area of the floor you will be staying on, and you can request a change before you leave the check-in desk.
5.Check the room as soon as you get in. Hotels are not perfect, and you might be checking into an occupied room. Check closets and bathrooms before closing your room door completely. Use all deadbolts and locks when in the room and always check before opening your door, even if you expect service from the hotel.
I could add so many other tips, but these are some of the most common guidelines that come to mind. Traveling solo can be wonderful, but it’s best to do it safely. What are some of the tips you would give if you’ve traveled solo before? If you haven’t, were these safety tips helpful? I’d like to know.
There are many things that flight attendants find annoying. Some are more annoying than others, and some may not be an annoyance based on the individual flight attendant. The following are some that I still remember as being annoying to me. For disclosure, these are from my lived experience as a flight attendant.
1.Coffee: Having been raised and based in New York as a flight attendant, if a passenger said, “regular coffee,” I understood it to mean coffee with milk and sugar. If they said, “light and sweet,” I like most flight attendants had no idea how light to make the coffee or how many sugar packets the passenger needed. Some passengers meant just a drop of milk, and others wanted half milk, half coffee. Deciding how many packs of sugar meant sweet to a person you’d never met was a pointless guess at best. Like passengers, flight attendants are people from all over the country and the world; knowing each passenger’s specific coffee requirements was most times an exercise in futility.
2.Aisle Passengers. Most passengers prefer aisle seats because of the ability to have a little extra room. This preference was often a perception that overlooked the fact that the aisle they assumed to be extra space was the flight attendant’s working space. Airline service carts could be a hundred pounds or more and somewhat challenging to maneuver. Weighted down with beverages or food to serve the number of people on board, often proved a challenge for a flight attendant to operate. Aisle passengers often extended their body parts into the aisle, and it was not uncommon for the cart to inadvertently hit a passenger. In many cases, the passenger got angry at the flight attendant without considering that the service cart was at least 3 feet long and even higher. Hence, the flight attendant seeing over the cart, and the extended body part was unreasonable at best.
3.Touching. Passengers often think it is ok to touch or poke a flight attendant to get their attention, which is often very annoying to flight attendants. A flight attendant call light is within every passenger’s reaching distance, and using this is much preferable than to be poked. Moreover, a hand wave or similar gesture is universal regardless of language. Having your body nudged several times a flight could be rather annoying.
4.Lavatory doors. They are not automatic, and standing in front of them will not make them open. Often passengers would stand in the lavatory area waiting for flight attendant instructions on how to open the door or be told whether it was vacant or not. Bathroom doors, like every other bathroom door elsewhere, has a lock. Unlike most bathrooms, airplane bathrooms have instructions, and most often, if not in the native language, there is visual signage. Along with signage, airline lavatories also have an occupied/unoccupied sign, which in most cases are red and green and are universally understood to mean the same everywhere. To be seen as a bathroom attendant is very frustrating to flight attendants.
5.Asking “where are we?” Flight attendants walk up and down the aisle, usually positioned several feet above the window level. Furthermore, like most passengers, they cannot pinpoint locations 30,000 feet above the ground. Yes, several landmarks are apparent to some, but flight attendants do not have the luxury of sitting and looking out the window on flights, nor do they have an inner GPS. Your guess is as good as theirs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse behind the scenes. These are perceptions of my lived and actual experience as a flight attendant. I hope they’ve been eye-opening and will make for more happy travels.
Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.
1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.
2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.
3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.
4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.
5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.
I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.
For years I have had to battle the question of my travel experiences. When it was professional, it was “how can you leave your kids?” When it was personal it was again about the kids and whether I should put their needs first. Recently the question was “what about Covid?”
There will always be questions no matter your choice. The only right choice is the inner choice you make and life is too short not to put yourself first.
I always choose me! This might seem selfish, but I cannot be a good mother, wife, or friend if I am stressed out and unhappy. I have learned that more now since becoming an empty nester than ever before. My kids are grown, and I honestly believe that they would not have me make any different choices than the ones I made. Of course, they have not always been happy with my choices, but at the end of the day, I have.
You can be replaced easily at work, marriages fail, children grow up, and tomorrow is never promised. Life is too short not to travel, not to take a vacation, not to get a massage, not to put yourself first. Choosing to travel is a gift to yourself that you can open as many times as you desire. My choice is to travel, it’s the gift I give to myself.
Have you ever been judged for your choice to travel? Let me know in the comments. I bet I’m not alone.