12 Tips for Women Travelling Alone in London
Visiting London Alone
More and more women are travelling alone to major cities of the world like London, New York as travelling solo brings a unique sense of freedom and independence. The excitement, the sense of joy which solo travel brings is totally unparalleled. However, accompanying these goodies are challenges and obstacles which you might have to face while you are travelling in and around a mega city like London.
Even though London is one of the best cities to explore as a solo women traveller, yet there are certain precautions which you should exercise before and during your travel in the city.
1. Be Prudent before Booking the Hotel
While you are going through the hotel websites for booking an accommodation, make sure the websites have a good range of hotels in Central London, as it is the busiest section of the city. In addition to this, most of the tourist attractions are in close proximity to it. Therefore, you will not have to travel much to reach your favourite tourist destination. One of my friends recently visited London alone and booked a hotel in Central London through a website called londonhotels4u.com. She was quite happy with the services of the hotel booked. You can also look for such websites and book the best room in Central London so that you face minimum discomfort.
2. Do your Homework
You have the potent means of internet with you. Use it to your fullest advantage. It is better that you join internet groups and chat with Londoners before planning your trip. Acquainting yourself with their way of living will help you a long way. In addition to this, have a thorough knowledge of all the famous London landmarks which you want to map down in your trip.
For more information on this, visit The Thorn Tree, an online bulleting board of lonelyplanet.
Asking questions about London at various forums will help you in securing vital knowledge if you do not have any. In addition to this, check the weather of the city as it is extremely unpredictable. Keep an ample stock of woollens even if you are visiting London in summers or autumn. The weather can take ugly turn any time!
Packing Tips for Women Travellers
3. Pack Wisely
The worst thing while you are on a solo travel is a huge travel bag constantly bothering you and breaking your back. Just think, if you cannot manage your travel bag, how would you be able to take care of yourself? Packing light makes you more mobile and quick. Choose the perfect mix of base and contrasting colours for your clothes as it gives more variety in lesser options.
Along with this, stuffing your travel bag with unnecessary gadgets is another blunder. Keep laptop, mobile, camera, I-phone and accompanying plug-ins. There is no need to pack in your Macbook as these gadgets will serve you well.
City of London
4. Reaching the Hotel
If possible, arrive at your hotel in daytime, as even Central London sometimes may look deserted during night. If your hotel room is not close to elevators then ask for the availability of rooms near them, as it will save you the trouble of venturing through staircases.
While you are at the hotel, do not offer even the slightest hint to other guests that you are a solo traveller. Remain confident and do not talk with strangers. Secure the door chain as soon as you reach your room and open only when there is an order.
Guide for Solo Women Travellers
If you are on a walking tour of the city, resist the temptation of taking in shorter shady routes. The historic neighbourhoods of London are in close proximity to each other. It is better, therefore, to map them down through major routes.
5. Travelling in and Around the City
While you are on London streets, never ever board an unlicensed black cab no matter how lucrative prices they are offering to you. Most of the mishaps recently took place in such unlicensed cabs. Therefore, choose the other options instead.
Along with this, do not hail a mini cab if the driver is insisting. Only black cabs are authorised to pick commuters off street and not mini cabs. Call down a mini cab and even better would be if you ask cab operators to arrange for a female driver. Many mini cabs in the city are now operated by female drivers. Therefore, if there is a female driver available, ask for that.
6. Keep a Tube Map with you
Travelling through London tubes can be extremely confusing for non-locals as the network is so intricate and diversified. Grab a tube map before you plan to board one and acquaint yourself with the prominent tube stations and lines.
You can also have a London A-Z map. This map gives you a fair idea of London streets sprawling from Central London to 7 miles radius in each direction.
London A-Z Map
7. Keep your Documents Safe
Either secure all of your necessary documents in the hotel safe or bolt them in the trunk of your hotel room. Even if you are using a money belt, do not keep your passport, visa and other such important items in it.
However, if you need them while you are travelling, then it is better to keep duplicate copies.
8. Keep a Confident Disposition
It works wonder no matter which country you are visiting. Do not look lost and maintain a positive vibe around you. I know travelling solo has its own challenges, as loneliness sometimes can be extremely overwhelming. However, no matter how lonely you are feeling, do not let this desperation glare brightly on your face.
Maintain a confident disposition and let your personality radiate that confidence. Remember, solo travel is one of the most exciting adventures. Enjoy it to the fullest and remain in a positive zone all through your travel. The best way to keep loneliness and boredom at bay is to remain purposeful and engage yourself in a conversation with locals instead of remaining in your zone.
9. Do not Afraid to Ask
Travelling solo does not mean that you have to snap all the connections with the locals so that they do not get to know about your ‘solo traveller’ status. Even though Londoners are extremely reserved people, yet they do not hesitate in helping others out. If you think you have lost track of the journey, do not take it upon yourself to mend it. Ask for help. Remember, not every person is out there to grab you and not every conversation you strike with a stranger will lead to undesirable consequences. But, do make sure you are asking the right person and at the right place!
10. Have your Wits with you
Flea markets in London are sometimes extremely crowded. Therefore, if you are visiting them, have a money belt with you and keep your wallet and other valuables in that. Snuggling your wallet and other valuables in your backpack will make the work of pick-picketers relatively easy, as they will take no time in sweeping away your items.
11. Talk with Fellow Travellers/Backpackers
If you are on a walking tour of London, then you will definitely meet other travellers. Do not remain in a silent mode; strike up a conversation with them. Talk about your experiences and encourage them to share their stories. This way you will send out a positive vibe about your personality and others would be interested in talking with you. In addition to this, you might get to know more about secret locations of the city from fellow travellers which you had not heard of before.
In addition to this, you will feel more comfortable and who knows you might stumble upon someone from your own country!
12. Finally, Enjoy the Moment
It goes without saying. Embrace the riches of this historic city and relish every moment of your trip. Remember, not everyone gets this excellent opportunity of travelling alone and being his/her own anchor. Shed all the negativities and be prepared to embrace the challenges. And, the final thing, learn to relish the luxury and the beauty of your own company and savour the undiluted taste of it.
Travelling solo is one thing which we all want to do at one point or another. If you have the opportunity to do so, grab it with both hands. And, I do hope that these tips will help you in planning your solo sojourn to London more effectively. If you have any suggestion or more tips, you can share them through your comments.