Have you booked your flight to North America for the solo backpacking trip of your dreams? Are you getting your car checked for a solo road trip in the GCC? Whether it will be your first time embarking on a journey to discover yourself alongside the world or you are a seasoned traveler, it is always a good idea to browse the internet for general and location-specific traveling advice.

Here are some essential solo traveling tips for women in this guest post by ServiceMarket, the UAE’s leading marketplace for home services, to help you make your trip safe and stress-free:

Research, research, research

The most important tip we can give you is to do your homework on your destination country (or countries). You need to read up on the cultural dos and don’ts, learn about common tourist scams for all your destinations, see what other travelers have said about the neighborhoods you will be visiting or staying in and even find out if your bank does business in the country. You don’t want to be caught off guard or find yourself with a useless bank card. So use the information that is at your fingertips and look up every place you are planning to go to.

Here are some bonus tips on the Do’s and Don’ts of using your credit card abroad.

Pack smart

Now is the time to train yourself to leave all non-essentials at home and pack light. No one likes to be lugging luggage around on a solo trip. Pack clothes that can be layered and pick neutral shades that can be dressed up or down. It takes some practice to pack smart, but you won’t get the hang of it unless you try. And don’t compromise comfort for fashion. Women’s shoes are notoriously uncomfortable generally. Invest in a good pair of comfortable walking shoes. Here is some advice on how to pack your car for a road trip.

Blend in

Solo travelers that stick out like a sore thumb are at higher risk of falling prey to scams and mugging. So once you know a bit about the local customs and culture from your research, try to apply your knowledge and blend in. Locals will also treat you with more respect if you respect their culture. Avoid standing in the middle of the street with a guide book and/or a map in any country. If you think you are lost, it’s best to duck into a cafe or a restroom to have a look at the map. People will always try to help you if you have made a sincere effort to learn their language so consider learning the basics of the local language before you embark on your trip.

Here’s a round-up of some of the most common travel scams you need to watch out for.

Be cautious

Travel during the day, don’t hesitate to spend extra money to feel safe and if you like to carry purses, get one that goes across the shoulder. Don’t be the person who picks a budget hostel over one that has a higher safety score or is in a better neighborhood. It is also a good idea to arrive at your destination city during the day so that you have ample time to find your hotel or hostel and change your accommodation if you need to. It might seem like a silly idea to carry a traveler’s whistle, but consider getting one.

Be kind to yourself

If you haven’t mastered your confident walk yet or are feeling the nerves, it’s okay. Give yourself time to get over solo traveling jitters. It is a great idea to fake it till you make it. Remind yourself gently to keep your shoulders back, your neck straight and have a purposeful walk. It is alright to slip up sometimes. You will get comfortable with solo traveling the more you do it. And if you have kept your safety first in your mind when planning your travels, you shouldn’t be that worried.

Have a financial cushion

Always have some money stashed for emergencies and never touch it unless there is an emergency. This stash should come in handy when you need to grab a taxi if you find yourself lost, or if you need to change your accommodation to a hostel with lockers and locks on doors, or if you lose your passport. Travel insurance is also something that you should get for all your travels. It can be a part of your financial cushion. You can compare travel insurance rates at Souqalmal.com. Remember to go through the fine print, limitations and exclusions in your policy before you travel. If you are going on a road trip, check your car insurance policy to make sure you are covered in the region you are traveling to.

Check in

Keep someone back home informed of your whereabouts as much as you can. You will be surprised by how much peace of mind you get knowing someone knows where you are. And it works both ways! Your loved ones will thank you for keeping them informed. All it takes is a text, a quick email, or even an occasional video call. Remember to tell them if you are going to be unreachable for a few days if you are traveling to a place without internet.

We hope that you have a wonderful journey. Happy travels!