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Advice Insider Tips Solo Travel

How To Stay Informed On Popular Traveler Scams

There’s nothing worse than being duped or feeling misled, is there? It certainly shakes your confidence and makes you question your ignorance. As visitors to a foreign place, no matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you may be, the act of preparation is a must. The notion of dashing all responsibilities to the wind and hopping on a plane is romantic, sure! But the reality is that it is more important than ever that women take the initiative to gather information about their dream destination before landing. 

Before we get into it, a forewarning… yes, traveler scams are real and they do happen, but by no means should you feel scared or hesitant to travel because of them. We believe that women, just like men, should feel informed and empowered for their adventures. It’s important to note that the likelihood of being scammed is small, but taking the time and effort to avoid them is the smartest thing any traveler can do.

If you’re looking for safety tips to keep in mind, be sure to check out our biggest savvy security tricks here and here.

Here’s how to stay informed on popular traveler scams – so you can avoid the headache!

Register Your Trip on STEP

Have you heard of STEP? It’s a free service that U.S. citizens traveling abroad can enroll in with the local embassy/consulate they’re traveling to. It’s a safe step so that your itinerary and visit is on record! 

Research Common Scams 

Do your due diligence and heavily research common travelers scams, especially ones specific to your destination. You’ll be amazed at what you find! That being said, don’t let these scams scare you from visiting your destination! 

Know The Details

Being cognisant of the details of your trip will make you feel informed and in power. That means, knowing the specific routes you will take, tickets you’ll need, directions from public transportation, the name of the host you’ll be meeting with – all of it! The more you know, the more confident and empowered you’ll be. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Ask trusted locals you have interactions with for their experiences traveling around and throughout your destination. Many times, we take our curiosities to the internet to find answers. But, we miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with locals and hear their first hand experiences and tips/tricks. Ask the concierge at your hotel for recommendations and do’s/don’ts, ask a host or a tour guide their tricks… they’ll point you in the right direction and you have the unique chance to get to know someone new. 

Being Informed = Being Empowered

At the end of the day, remember that being informed is the biggest step towards empowering yourself as a traveling woman. Being aware of potential risks is an unfortunate step of the process, but one that is critical both practically and emotionally.

Advice Solo Travel

How to Make Friends while traveling Solo (in a Safe Way)

I get it. It’s scary. Maybe you’re traveling alone, you’re lost, you’re lonely, or just plain bored. What to do? Well unless you’re hiking alone in the wilderness, chances are there are friendly, welcoming locals or tourists around you who are also wondering how they can make some “mini friendships” while away from home. It is important to make friends while traveling solo.

I will say this. I don’t think I’ve ever been shut down when striking a friendly conversation with a stranger or looking to reach out and make an acquaintance when traveling — or even when home!  It takes practice. Nothing comes perfectly easily at first, especially when traveling solo, but when you learn your trips and travels can be that much more fulfilling and meaningful when you connect with others, that’s when the serendipity and the magic happens. 

Here are some strategies of how to make friends while traveling solo (in a safe way):

How to Make Friends while Traveling Solo

  1. Compliment: Ever notice someone with nice sunglasses, a cool luggage bag, or even just a pretty shirt or dress on? We have these thoughts about people all the time, but we keep the compliments to ourselves. And so, we’re missing out on a lot of connections, and even brownie points with strangers, by not speaking up! I make it a habit now when I think a nice thought about someone, I’ll say it. As long as you’re well-intention ed and respectful, a compliment can really change someone’s day, and it’s a great way to start conversation and friendship.
  2. Offer to help: Someone’s carrying their luggage and looks like they’re struggling up stairs or through doors? Help them! See someone trying to take a selfie, ask to take the photo for them! The kindness of strangers is a powerful force. We’ve all been there, where we wished someone would offer to help us. And while we may be bashful to receive help, don’t forget most people feel good when they’re able to help someone! So don’t be afraid to ask if someone needs your help, even if it’s as small as watching their things at a cafe while they make a quick sprint to the bathroom. And in that vein, don’t be afraid to ask for help either! You never know when someone could be a new travel buddy.
  3. Look for a recommendation — ask questions: Some people aren’t as open to putting themselves out there, so if you ask a question, they’ll be invited to share. My favorite thing to do no matter where I go is to ask people for recommendations! It’s an easy question to begin a conversation, and everyone has opinions on places they’ve liked.. and really didn’t like! I’ve stumbled upon amazing restaurants, hikes, farmers’ markets, street art and so much more because I asked a stranger to point me to some suggestions! Just approach it with curiosity and respect, and everyone will have a recommendation to share with this easy conversation starter.
  4. Remark on an observation: Sometimes if I’m sitting on a beach and there’s someone near me who seems friendly enough, I’ll remark on how calm or choppy the water is, how beautiful the view. It’s a great way to share a moment with someone new, but also point something out in the present that maybe the other person didn’t get a chance to admire. 
  5. Smile: I really dislike the stereotype of women always being told to smile. But instead of isolating it to women, I think we can all flash a friendly smile and adjust our resting face to be more open to a conversation to learn about the people and world around us.  Respect is a universal language. But a friendly smile is also one of the easiest ways to invite a connection! No need to be creepy, but if you smile, someone may be more comfortable to smile back, or even take the lead in making conversation with you.  

The confidence you gain when being able to share a part of yourself and put yourself out there is transferrable to most situations when you’re home! A networking event, a new party, mingling with new co-workers. Learning how to “talk with strangers” is a skill that will keep bringing you meaningful connection, and maybe friendships you didn’t even expect. 

Do you have more tips on how to make friends while traveling solo (in a safe way)? Let us know!

You may also be interested in:

7 Tips For Making Your First Solo Trip An Adventure Of A Lifetime

3 Signs That You’re Ready To Go On Your First Solo Trip Abroad

Advice Journal Solo Travel

Little Victories: How Solo Travel Gave Me Self Confidence

Little Victories: How Solo Travel Gave Me Self Confidence

In 2018, my overarching resolution was to be more brave. Rather than write out a list of often unyielding resolutions year after year, I instead choose an intention that’s malleable enough to account for life’s ever-changing nature. In my mind, being more brave could manifest in a variety of ways: speaking up at work, setting boundaries within my relationships with family members, and simply being more comfortable with the idea of taking up space in the world. Professionally, I consciously strive to present myself as a confident leader, but at my most natural core, I am slightly fearful of the unknown, and prefer the comfort of routine and my partner by my side.

However, I’ve been through it enough times to know that true growth is really ignited when we step outside our comfort zones, and so, I made one of my more concrete goals on my list of bravery to travel alone for my first time.

I had started seeing a lot online about female solo travel and felt inspired by these incredible images I’d see and stories I’d read from strangers on social media.

Thus, I dreamt big. I proposed to my husband that maybe we take a trip to Japan, and he could do this workshop he was interested in while I traveled around by myself. I’d take pictures, meet strangers, meditate, drink juice, exercise, journal, and fully embrace the solo travel lifestyle. And while my husband found it a little humorous that I’d never even eaten dinner at a restaurant by myself let alone venture into a foreign country on my own, I had his full support.

The year went on and life filled up as it often does, leaving very little room for my very big dreams. As Fall turned to Winter, I surprised even myself by making the bravest choice I could by quitting my job of 5 years, with loose plans to freelance as a social media strategist while simultaneously pursuing photography more seriously. It was a huge leap of faith that occupied most of my time and energy, and so, needless to say, solo travel was pushed further and further to the bottom of my to-do’s and I didn’t quite make it to Japan.

As this year started, I still couldn’t shake the urge to see what all the solo travel hype was about. With much more time, though much less income, I planned a trip to visit a friend in Santa Cruz, regularly only a half day’s drive from where I live in Los Angeles. I decided against the boring straight shot drive and chose instead to take the long way; I arranged to stop one night on the coast in Cambria, and then take the iconic Highway 1 winding up the coast through Big Sur and Monterey the next day. Two days spent driving alone with spotty cell service in unfamiliar terrain, just me and my podcasts. Yikes.

Admittedly, I knew it was a vastly far cry from the wild, weeks-long Bali adventures I had seen many women take online. But still, the night before I was meant to leave, suddenly my mini road trip felt mega daunting. Why take the long way? Why go alone? Why not just cancel altogether? It felt absurd to get in my car all by myself for absolutely no reason and just start driving. The more thought I gave it, I realized a lot of my concerns were fear-based, and most of my fear came from an expectation I put on myself based on the overwhelming message about female solo travel I was absorbing on the internet.

The message was clear: independent, audacious, successful women enjoy solo travel. Not only do they enjoy it, they seek it out because it fuels their creative fire. I wanted to be all of those things too – independent, audacious, and successful – but what if I don’t like it? What does that say about me?

I came up with a little mantra to relieve some of the pressure. “You don’t have to like it for it to be important.” Grammatically, I’m not sure it’s a slam dunk, but to me it meant that regardless of whether or not I enjoy it, it can still hold significance, and it’s important that I at least try. I would try it with an open mind, but I could forgive myself if I didn’t like it. In fact, I told myself that I didn’t even have to feel happy while doing it. I could simultaneously hate solo travel and be independent, audacious, and successful. My identity is not defined by comparing myself to what other women do, don’t do, like, or dislike. And so, I got in my car, and I drove. Two days spent driving alone with spotty cell service in unfamiliar terrain, just me and my mantra.

Spoiler alert: I ended up loving it.

A mentor once taught me to see the significance in small battles. Each little victory would build upon the last, softening the steep path on the mountain to success. Isolated, little victories can feel inconsequential, but compounded consistently over time, they can be highly impactful. So while I didn’t go to Bali, and I didn’t meditate, journal, exercise or drink juice, I did get a little more comfortable being alone. I asked locals for tips on photography, chatted with the front desk at my motel for dinner recs, and even ate at a restaurant alone.

My newfound confidence has started rolling over into other areas of life as well – such as writing and sharing this story publicly. And so even though “BRAVE” may have been my word of 2018, I’m proud to say it’s here to stay.

Advice Solo Travel Stories

Overcoming Getting Robbed in Paris

On December 1st, 2018, I woke up to a robbed hotel room. My camera, lenses, laptop… everything I require for my livelihood.. gone.

A normal seeming day turned into a whirlwind disaster that felt like the ultimate cherry on top of a very challenging year for me. After dinner I came back to my hotel room, I awoke, glanced around and noticed something I had overlooked before resting. Over $8,000 worth of my gear was missing. As the blood rushed to my head, my blood turned cold. How had this happened? My heart shattered as tears began to fall.

Today, I wanted to share my experience of getting robbed abroad with the hopes to share the lessons I’ve learned from this horrific event.

Needless to say, I’m still so thankful that I was not hurt or violated physically. So many things could have gone even worse than losing material objects… but, it goes without saying that this type of incident was an ultimate violation of security and safety. The courage I once felt from being able to explore Paris on my own was replaced by anxiety and fear. I found myself feeling so afraid walking the streets of Paris when I once was empowered by living in Paris alone. I began to question everything. As an advocate for solo female traveler’s safety, I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I was devastated. The overwhelming sense of sadness and loss was so hard to deal with.

Even worse, I received absolutely zero help from the hotel (La Pigalle Paris) or the French police. No cameras in the hallway to view, no remorse or apologies. Nothing. I felt completely isolated, violated and betrayed. How could any place not show any concern for their patrons? “Here’s your police report, there’s nothing else we can do at this point, it’s just for insurance purposes”.

The one take away from this lesson that I want to really push for is this – never skimp on travel insurance. It may seem like a frivolous expense to add when planning your adventures… but it can be a literal life-saver when you’re traveling in a foreign country.

A $50 policy can include $500,000 of Medical Evacuation coverage! But it’s important to read the fine print (or talk to someone in the industry) to really understand what you’re purchasing. For example, most comprehensive policies include thousands of dollars for Baggage Loss coverage but it’s important to note there’s almost always a special limitation on cameras and electronics (usually around $500). Do your research. Trust me when I say, it’s worth it.

The wonderful folks at Yonder Insurance were a guiding light throughout this whole horror. And I’m so thankful for the time and effort they put into assisting me through this. Their kindness and attention they gave to my case restored so much of my hope. I couldn’t love or recommend a travel insurance company more! Do yourself a favor and book a plan with them next time you’re traveling.

The businesses I respect the most are the ones with heart and soul and Yonder is defintely one of those businesses. Founders Terry and Ryan returned from a trip to Myanmar where they witnessed the struggle of the refugees, with a commitment to provide a week’s worth of food to a child refugee for every policy sold. So you can travel well, and do well when you go Yonder.

In addition to giving Yonder a HUGE thank you, I’d also like to give a big shoutout to Adorama, who kindly helped me with replacing some of my equipment. It’s the companies like this that helped me change my perspective and feel more grateful than ever for the good people in this world.

I hope if you’re reading this that you can see just how important your safety is while traveling. There certainly are beautiful moments and life changing experiences to be had while abroad, but its so, so crucial to be prepared and informed on safety and never overlook your well being when exploring. Now that some time has passed, I can look back at this experience and acknowledge how much personal growth has occurred for me. I’m still so empowered by traveling solo around the globe, and I have a keener sense of personal and material security. My anxiety and fear has slowly adapted into deeper awareness and less nervousness. As days and months pass, I’m reminded what joy and beauty comes from travel… and that although this experience was painful and sad, I am capable of moving past it with grace and courageousness to learn more from this world.

Thank you so much for reading my story. I hope from the bottom of my heart that none of you ever have to experience getting robbed while abroad (or any other type of safety issue).

Have you ever had to overcome getting robbed while abroad? How did you deal with the repercussions?

P.S. more safety tips for female travelers can be found right here!

Solo Travel

These “Honeymoon Destinations” Are Actually Perfect For Solo Travelers

Newlyweds have their go-to romantic destinations they dream of exploring together… but who said those places are reserved for couples only? Today, we’re spotlighting some famous “honeymoon destinations” that are actually perfect for solo travelers!

Greek Islands

Embrace those sunset dreams of Mykonos and Santorini! Sure the Greek Islands are a romantic destination most newlyweds dream of visiting… but it’s actually perfect for a solo traveler too! Imagine it. Days spent exploring the coasts, dipping into cold, refreshing, blue waters of the Adriatic, eating local cuisine, sipping wine. Don’t forget to explore the smaller, underrated islands! You’ll be able to get an authentic look at Greece’s island culture while avoiding the hustle of tourist packed downtowns!

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is just one of those classic honeymoon destinations that are well loved for good reason. The town is laid back, the resorts are incredible, the downtown area is bustling with adorable shops and enough delicious eateries to keep even the biggest foodies feeling overwhelmed. It’s also an incredible spot for solo travelers to kick back, relax and enjoy. It’s well connected to many other famous beaches, Mayan ruins and well, it’s just plain beautiful! Whether you’re exploring Tulum alone or accompanied, you’ll need to get your cameras ready and be sure to explore some of its most picturesque spots. Tulum is seriously a charmer!

Kauai, Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands are just classic when it comes to classic dream vacations. But why argue against that?! Kauai, sort of the wildest island of Hawaii, is a perfect mix of tropical island, wildlife, incredible laid back beach culture and beautiful swaying palms. It’s an incredibly safe place for a solo traveler too! Most locals embrace hitchhiking culture and are incredibly friendly. Kauai just might be paradise on earth!


Many newlywed like to think outside the box when it comes to planning their honeymoon destination. Instead of opting for the classic resort vacation, lots of couples are leaning into the more adventurous side of life. Iceland is a treat for the outdoor enthusiast. And it’s an incredible spot for the solo traveler to get in touch with wild nature, the elements and Scandinavian history and culture. Rent a van, tent in the wild, wake up to plunging waterfalls, brisk mornings, midnight suns and friendly next door puffins. Iceland’s natural beauty will have you awestruck.

Patagonia, Argentina

Another adventurous honeymoon destination that’s literally perfect for the solo traveler – Patagonia! The mountainous region that splits Argentina and Chile will challenge you with its awesome hikes to its pinnacles and leave you breathless with its arid steppes, grasslands, deserts, glacial fjords and rainforests. It’s the trip lifetime to see this place in person! Solo travelers will love the group tours that often explore this region. It’s a great way to meet others while on the road while also experiencing one of the world’s most astounding natural sights.

Dublin, Ireland

Ireland is a charming choice for honeymooners! But it’s also a fantastic destination for solo travelers too. Find yourself tucked into a bustling little pub to enjoy a pint of Guinness, get to know the locals, enjoy live music on every street corner, delight in Irish stews and classic dishes. Dublin is a whirlwind of pure joy! It’s also a great starting point for other adventures on the isle, so look into day trips or multi-day explorations of other parts of beautiful Ireland!

Amalfi Coast, Italy

We have a love affair with the Amalfi Coast here at Dame Traveler. It’s an incredibly romantic destination… that’s for sure. With its lush greenery, the hill topped villas covered in ivy, epic sunsets and delicious food and wine – why wouldn’t someone in love choose to explore Amalfi? But! We also happen to think that Amalfi is perfect for solo travelers too. Why? Well, it’s small enough to really get to know the local towns in and out, but it’s also incredibly well connected to other coastal towns via train and boat. Enjoy the most delicious meals of your life after spending long days exploring the quaint, pastel hued alleys of every little town along the coast.

Koh Samui, Thailand

The swaying palms, the clearest waters, the quiet, laid back coast of Thailand. Yeah, doesn’t that sound like paradise? That’s because Koh Samui basically is. As opposed to the party-central Ko Pha-ngan or Phuket, Koh Samui is a little more friendly, chilled and just… beautiful. Solo travelers will learn why it’s the perfect location after they spend one day exploring the island. Koh SamuiKoh Samui.

New Zealand

Another adventurous choice newlyweds select as their honeymoon destination (for good reason!) is New Zealand. Pack up your car, hit the road, spend hours hiking the peaks of the northern and southern islands, sip some of the best wine from local wineries, disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature for a bit. New Zealand is incredible. Solo travelers will love to pack their itineraries with everything this country has to offer.

Kyoto, Japan

The quiet, zen districts of Kyoto are unlike any place in the world. Which is why solo travelers and honeymooners alike will adore exploring this city. Spend your days learning the ancient history of the Gion district, hike through the epic bamboo forests and Shinto shrines, walk the Philosopher’s Path after stopping for a tea ceremony. Kyoto is a feast for the senses.

Whether you’re exploring this world with a partner by your side, or bravely exploring it alone… we hope you embrace the possibilities of all destinations out there in the world. There’s no restrictions when it comes to planning your travels!