Solo woman traveller
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 23, 2012 5:36 PM Last Post By: denver_mugwamp
Nov 22, 2012 6:07 AM
Solo woman travellerHello,
I am off to America for two months. Basically, I am looking to travel from NY to LA and I am really just wondering what is the safest, most efficient way of doing so.
I am 19 years old and would be travelling on a budget.
What are people's experiences with services like Amtrak and Greyhound? Are they safe? Time is really not an issue, I would rather like to meander my way across.
Any advice or tips in general about travelling solo as a woman across the USA would be much appreciated.
Thank you :)
Nov 22, 2012 6:58 AM
1Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses are both safe. Geyhound stations can be in somewhat dodgy areas; in many cases I wouldn't recommend that a 19-year-old woman walk to or from them after dark. The clientele on Greyhound can be a bit off-putting too; if possible sitting up near the driver is probably a good idea. Greyhound is much much cheaper than Amtrak.
My recommendation would be to do a lot of research and lay out an itinerary carefully. You may well decide to fly from somewhere in the neighborhood of the Mississippi (Chicago or New Orleans, say) to the West Coast. You can always deviate from the itinerary as things come up. But meandering without a plan is a bad idea.
Nov 22, 2012 6:59 AM
2Meandering or not I'd fly. Southwest and Jet Blue are good options. Book tickets 3 weeks in advance for best prices. Sadly at age 19 you won't be able to rent a car so best to visit cities that have good public transport, NYC., D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Portland. LA public transport exists but is nearly worthless unless you have patience. Bus from Hollywood to the beach and mere 15 miles away can take an hour or longer. Whatever you do DO NOT hitch hike. NOT safe anymore.
Nov 22, 2012 7:37 AM
3Two months by yourself is a pretty long time, especially in a country that doesn't always have great public transportation or a large number of hostels. Another problem you're going to have is that quite a few of the attractions you want to see (such as National Parks) are located in areas that are difficult to get to without a car. My advice: Learn to use services such as Couchsurfing.org and Meetup.com to meet locals and go to various events. Make a list of your interests and then research groups that you can contact in different cities. Wandering around by yourself can be fun for a while but it gets lonely real quick.
Nov 22, 2012 12:43 PM
4Greyhound and Amtrak are both fine, you can also use other bus companies like megabus, bolt bus to get from and to Boston - New York - Washington DC. Not sure if they also operate in other parts of the country.
All these can easily be booked online which makes it easy to pick the best times for you. You just print out your ticket. I never had any problems in the bus/train or at the stations.
But do realize that spending days on a bus can be very tiring and could take away from the fun of traveling. For longer stretches I'd look at flights. Personally I decided to not take a bus or train when it would take over 5 hours.
Cities like Boston, NYC, LA, San Francisco, Seattle all have youth hostels where it's easy to meet others if you want to. These cities also all have public transport. LA is spread out but the subway and buses are very cheap and their website is great for planning how to get somewhere in the city.
Without a car I think it would be difficult to see the National Parks, although it is possible. I met a girl who did everything by greyhound and she visited Grand Canyon, Yosemite and some others I think. I decided to join a Trek America tour to see the National Parks and it was a great experience.
Nov 22, 2012 1:11 PM
Nov 22, 2012 1:13 PM
Nov 22, 2012 1:14 PM
Nov 23, 2012 2:31 PM
8If your question is whether you'll get unwanted attention on public transit, the answer is yes, it can happen time to time like any country. But in terms of safety, there are no major risks for traveling by public transit. The one thing I'd watch out for is Greyhound terminals can be in unsafe areas of the city. Be cautious when you arrive at a station.
Also, exercise common-sense caution on subways in big cities, especially at night.
Nov 23, 2012 5:36 PM
9Couchsurfing is extremely safe since there's reviews of the various hosts and lots of chances to contact them before you arrive. To me, that seems a lot better than sleeping in a hostel dormitory with a bunch of complete strangers. For people in their twenties, there seems to be about 50% women both as hosts and travelers which says a lot to me about safety. I'm an older guy, but I never have had any problems and I've met some truly amazing people that way. If you're thinking about Couchsurfing, I would suggest that you visit the website, register, and do some searches to get a feel for what to expect.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$94.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$95.00 per night