I recently went on a 5 month trip to the United States of America. I came to the states for a great job opportunity at Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. After my work placement I decided to take this opportunity to travel the east coast solo. I was at first hesitant against travelling solo as I am still a young women (19 years of age to be exact). However, I was so overwhelmed with excitement I just took the leap and booked my return flight for a month after I was scheduled to finish work.
The aim of this blog post is to share my honest opinions about travelling solo, where my travels took me and to share what I have learnt during this experience. If you are tossing up whether or not solo travelling is safe for you, all I would have to say is the more mature and independent you are, the easier travelling solo will be. For me personally, I am quiet independent as is, and I believe I adapted into working and living abroad very quickly, which helped me feel more comfortable travelling the United States solo. I also feel very mature for my age, and people would always mistaken me for a 21 or even a 22 year old.
My month long travel period saw me travel to New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Nashville, New Orleans and Dallas. I travelled during the month of January, which was a great time to travel – if you can suck it up and deal with the cold temperatures – as this is most states low period due to the freezing temperatures. This means that prices for accomodation is generally cheaper and there are also fewer lines and crowds at large attractions and eateries.
What surprised me most was how dirty the Big Apple really is – especially with all the snow pilled up on the side of the road which was filled with dirty and trash. The subway was also disgusting, don’t get me wrong it was a great and convenient way to travel, but lets just say its not the cleanest nor safest form of transportation there is. I felt comfortable travelling and walking around the city, however, once the sun went down I did feel slightly less comfortable around as I found it harder to navigate my way around.
Top Tip – When booking accommodation at a hostel, I would recommend booking a female only dorm as I guarantee you that you will have a more comfortable stay. I met a few females who had to move rooms cause of the poor behaviours of some males in their rooms. The co-ed dorms and female only dorms are normally the same price if not a few dollars more.
Out of all the cities I visited I felt strangely very safe and comfortable in Washington, D.C. and Chicago – which came as quiet of a surprise to me. I felt very at ease walking around the city and seeing all the sites. There were not a lot of homeless people heckling you for money and their streets were nice and clean and not crowded with people, which was nice to see as you could then take in the real beauty of the city.
Now we are moving onto Nashville – the home of Country Music. The city itself was one of a kind and completely different to anything I have ever seen in my life. The streets are singing with country music and the drinks were flowing amongst everyone (not with me of course). However, putting this to the side, out of all the cities I visited during the month, this was by far the most unsafest place for a female to travel solo. At times I did feel quiet unsafe as strange men on the street were always trying to talk to, yelling out compliments to you trying to get your attention. Nevertheless, I made smarter decisions whilst I was there, for example, getting Uber’s around to areas that I could have walked to but I thought it may have been to far for comfort and so on.
Top Tip – I loved Uber when travelling, it was always easily accessible in all the cities I visited, and I found some drivers made the overall destination experience more authentic. Some drivers gave me tips on where to visit and what I was closest to. Also I would recommend buying Uber gift cards to use instead of using a credit card. The sis because I found it a lot easier to track how much I was spending on Uber and how much I had left etc. and they are found in most 7-Elevens or large grocery food chains.
New Orleans surprised me the most, if you aren’t out drinking and having a good time, there really isn’t much else to do in and around the city centre – tourist wise. So I spent more down time at my hostel, which surprisingly became the most interesting part of my visit to New Orleans. This is because of the broad array of people I met and the stories they shared with me – this accounted for all the hostels I stayed at during the month. We would discuss what we were doing in town, where we all come from and also gave each other tips on where was worth visiting. I found this also made me feel more comfortable and relaxed within the city.
Dallas for me was just a two day relaxer before I headed back home after my 5 month long journey. So I mainly stayed at my AirBnB and prepared myself for the 21 hour trip back down under.
Overall, this was definitely the most exciting adventure I have ever been on in my life. I can definitely say that I have grown and become even more independent than to when I first travelled to the US. I would highly recommend that you female travellers out their to book a trip by yourself. It may be hard at first but you easily adjust to the solo life – and trust me you will fall in love with it.