Tips For Traveling Alone

8 Tips For The Solo Female Traveler

Yes, it is safe! You just have to be smart.

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If you asked me a year ago if I would travel solo, I would say that's crazy. Now, I have traveled solo on two separate trips. I went to Tempe, Arizona last spring, and earlier this summer I went to New York City. People always ask me if I'm scared to travel alone, and the truth is I am. I am also scared of heights, but I still go hiking and stand at the edge of cliffs for the best view. It's normal to be scared, but I won't let being scared stop me from living my life. There are many ways to stay safe when traveling alone, don't let being scared stop you from going to new places!

1. ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings.

One of the perks of being a girl is that you always need to be on guard when you're alone. When walking around, check behind you after each block to make sure that no one is following you. Most of the time they will be farther back, not closely behind you. Trust your gut instincts. If you do notice someone following you, do not go back to your hotel, and make sure you are around other people. If you feel threatened, stop inside a busy place, like a Starbucks. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

2. Try to book a hotel that has an airport shuttle.

A female in a new city in an Uber or taxi alone is not a good combination. Take a shared shuttle to your hotel, or UBER Pool so that there are other people with you. Share the driver's name, license plate, and description with someone back home who can keep track of you. You can also use your maps app to make sure you are on the correct route. Better safe than sorry.

3. Stay close to your hotel at night.

When the sun goes down, it's best to hang out close to your hotel or in your hotel. There are less people out at night, and it's more difficult to be aware of your surroundings when it's dark out. Most hotels have a variety of things to do inside. You can work out, eat at the hotel's restaurant, swim in the pool, or hang out in the courtyard area. I always bring my computer so that I can watch Netflix and look up things to do the next day, and a book to relax before going to bed.

4. Be careful about which strangers you talk to.

It's not that you shouldn't talk to strangers at all — although it is best to try not to — it's that you should carefully pick which strangers you do talk to. Whenever I want a picture of myself taken or directions, I look for a middle-aged, middle-class couple or a group of early-20s girls. Yes, there will be cute guys, but chances are it's not safe to talk to or meet up with a guy that you do not know, in a city that you are not comfortable in.

5. Look up directions to where you are going before you leave.

Whenever I go to get food, coffee, or to a specific location, I figure out the directions on maps and write them down in my phone. A person walking alone while using their map app on their phone is a target because a) they don't know where they are going and b) since they are needing directions, they most likely are not from the area. I have an Apple Watch, so if the directions are too complicated to write down, I use my watch for directions and it's less obvious than having my phone out. Knowing exactly how to get where you're going also helps you avoid needing to ask for directions and looking lost.

6. Let someone back home know where you are going throughout the day.

Whether it's your mom, dad, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparent, etc., have someone who can keep track of your whereabouts. I have my location on with my mom and dad through iMessage so that they can see where I am, and I update them on what I am doing each day. Worst case scenario, if anything bad happens to me, them knowing my activities that day can really help to find me or know what happened.

7. Do not post your location while you are at that place.

With social media, we always want to post what we're up to. If you're at a coffee shop or restaurant, either don't use a location filter, or wait to post it until after you leave. This way, no one online can see where you are and track you down. I do recommend putting your Instagram on private while you are on your trip. This way random people can't see what you look like and where you are.

8. Have fun!

Traveling is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Don't let being scared or having no one to go with stop you from going where you want to go! See new things, explore new places and enjoy time with yourself. There's so much out there in the world, go to it!

By traveling alone a couple times this past year, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned how to be comfortable with my own company, but I have also learned that sometimes life is more about who you spend it with, rather than what you do in it. If you are thinking about traveling alone, go for it. There are so many ways to stay safe and have the time of your life!

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.

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Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th

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I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore

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I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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