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Travelling as a solo female in South America

Travelling as a solo femaleAlison Payne travelled in South America for three months. Half the time she was on her own. She shares her solo travel tips with us.

I was actually surprised by how easy it was to travel by myself in South America. In fact, I never felt unsafe. I wasn`t really lonely for I followed suggested itineraries and ran into other travellers. I also took local tours and would meet other travellers then. You tend to meet so many more people when you are by yourself. Actually, I would talk to anyone! I kept a blog and that became my companion, it`s how I spent my evenings.

I had enough money to afford a room of my own. I would book my hotel room usually two days in advance and that was a comfort because I always knew I had a place to sleep. Sometimes I stayed in hostels. There`s a hostel in Quito called the Secret Garden and I think everyone would try to stay there for it is lots of fun. So I would stay in places like that if they were available.
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I could afford to take taxis. And I speak Spanish so that helped. Perhaps most importantly, I didn’t have risky behaviour. I was very conscious about not getting into a bad situation. In fact, I brought a door alarm that I would use occasionally if I felt uneasy about a place. It would go off if someone tried to break into my room but it was a little sensitive so I didn`t use it all the time. I even brought a carbon monoxide detector from home after I heard about the girls from Quebec who died because of a gas leak in Bolivia.

I was not afraid of falling asleep on buses and someone taking my stuff because the music was always so loud on buses that I could never sleep. I was also confident the music would keep the driver awake so he wouldn`t drive us off a cliff.

I brought very little `stuff`. In the past when I felt uncomfortable, I was carrying too much and it weighed me down and I felt off kilter; like I had to look after too many pieces. You need to feel you can control all of your things all of the time.

© Riding the buses 2011

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