The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Your guide to Australia for solo female travellers April 25 2018, 0 Comments



Life "down under" has proven exceptionally popular with single female travellers, due largely to Australia's travelling culture. Backpacking across Australia is guaranteed to offer memories that will last a lifetime, with a party-like atmosphere along the Gold Coast and friendly locals all around the country. If you’re a first-time solo traveller, it’s a great place to start given that everyone speaks English and the supply of hotels and hostels is unsurpassed by so many other travelling destinations around the world. So, whether you’re thinking of taking a gap year after university or a much needed sabbatical from work, here are some top tips for ladies upping sticks and backpacking solo to Australia.

Safe places to visit in Australia

The best place for female solo travellers to start in Australia is the Gold Coast. It’s full of like-minded solo travellers and surfer dudes and there’s a friendly, party atmosphere day in, day out. The Great Barrier Reef is situated close to Queensland’s Gold Coast too, and it is the largest living thing on Earth. Head further south to the state of Victoria and you’ll discover the city of Melbourne, with its fabulous fashion boutiques, sporting events and laid-back café culture ideal for dipping your toes into life in Australia. New South Wales has a great mix of culture and entertainment, with vibrant Sydney and the country’s understated capital, Canberra both located here. The state’s beaches are particularly popular too, with Bondi enjoying a great reputation among solo travellers and the surfing fraternity.

Transport around Australia



Ultimately, how you move from place to place in Australia depends on how long you’re planning on staying for. If you’re spending several months down under, the Greyhound bus network offers cost-effective connections by road. A great way to experience the variety of Australia’s landscape is to travel by train, with everything from contemporary tilt trains to The legendary Ghan covering much of the country by rail. There are sleeper trains you can take to move between cities overnight and enjoy your own privacy with a one-person cabin. Of course, there are plenty of internal flights between cities if your time here is rather more limited.

Cheap eats on the move

There is no longer any stigma attached to solo dining. Dining options for one are extremely commonplace now throughout the country. From Tasmania to Adelaide, there are plenty of restaurants that offer single-seat dining and concepts such as half serves, allowing you to enjoy more than one plate of food on your own. Of course, whether you want delicious fresh seafood, barbecued Aussie favourites, a wholesome plate of paella or a spicy offering of Mexican cuisine that’s currently growing in popularity throughout Australia, it’s possible to get orders delivered from restaurants to your accommodation, without having to leave the confines of your bedroom, by placing orders on your smartphone or tablet with specialised apps like Deliveroo.

Unique and reviewed accommodation

Speaking of accommodation, Australia boasts an unrivalled choice of places for solo female travellers to stay. Booking.com is a good starting point for bog-standard hotels and bed-and-breakfasts that are importantly safe and reputable. However, Airbnb and Homestay gives solo travellers a unique opportunity to sample family life with reviewed and rated hosts in places such as beautiful beachfront townhouses to revamped tour buses in Byron Bay that you simply can’t put a price on.

On the whole, Australia is a fun, vibrant, safe and multi-faceted place to explore. Its comparatively low crime rate means it is no less safe than many other popular traveller pit-stops. With a little common sense and a bucketload of get-up-and-go, you’ll enjoy everything Australia has to throw at you.


How safe are hostels? April 15 2018, 0 Comments



How safe are hostels really? I'm sure you'll have that one friend who travelled to every country you've ever heard of and more who will swear by the safety and comfort of hostels, but really, how safe are they? 

This is a pretty popular question even among the most seasoned of travelers and the truth is, hostel safety and comfort can differ quite dramatically from place to place or hostel to hostel. For example, some of the Clever Travel Companion team members offered up their experiences and found that whilst in the deepest rural Thailand they found a hostel on beach with a jacuzzi, rooftop bar and bedside lockers for the grand price of $14 per night, in the centre of Sydney they found themselves in a $500 per week, 18 bed dorm with a single power outlet. 

That said, safety and comfort tips will often run more or less the same. Here's some golden rules you should definitely live by if you're staying in Hostels.

1. Research a good one

Naturally the first thing you should do when considering a hostel is check out the place itself, select a good hostel with a reputation for safety and not the opposite. A really great resource for investigating whether a hostel is right for you is Hostelling International. Take a look on their site and you'll certainly rest easier. 

2. Use the lockers

Don't feel like a geek or a loser by using the provided lockers. They're there for a reason and if you lose your passport or cash by not using them, you'll feel like even more of a chump. Contact a hostel beforehand and ask about the lockers, do they provide them? Do they cost extra? How safe are they? Where are they located in relation to your bed? 

3. Use the lockers, but don't put all your trust in them 

Ever heard the saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket"? It applies here. If people are up to no good, if the lockers aren't as secure as you'd hoped and just because its safer, keep your most valuable items on you at all times, even when sleeping. Clever Travel Companion clothing is designed precisely for this purpose, you can use the secret pockets to keep your cell phone, passport and cash on your person at all times and when showering or washing, a potential thief would never think to look in your t-shirt. The clothes are made from a soft yet durable cotton so sleeping in them is very comfortable and they'll last a long time. Think about it, sleeping with your passport in a secret pocket in a tank top under your pyjamas? I'd rather it be there than in a locker. 

4. Ask the staff for security advice

In most hostels the staff are also travelers but even if they're not, they're the guys who know what goes on in their place of work, they'll be the guys to speak to if you have any concerns or need advice on staying secure. 



5. Copy your passport and email it to you

Really you should do this before you leave the house on any trip, the second you leave your country it is vital that you have your passport at all times. If you lose it, the next best thing is a digital copy. In hostels however its probably a little more important you make sure you have a copy, with so many people coming and going through a single place, things are bound to go missing. With a digital copy you can show the staff and confirm with certainty its yours if they've found it. 

6. Drink responsibly

You probably don't need telling with regards to drinking, you know your limits. That said, it's easy to forget when traveling that the same rules do apply. You probably will not have been in a situation like a hostel before; drinking with new people in a new place where you'll all be spending the night. Some people in the hostel may not even be guests, they could be strangers so watch where your alcohol is coming from, if possible only ever get your drinks yourself and keep your limits at the forefront of your mind.  

7. If in doubt, travel in a group

You're certain to make friends whilst traveling or staying in a hostel, if any of your new found friends are heading in the same direction, don't be afraid to change your plans slightly so you can stick together. A solo traveler can make an easy target but a group is likely to be avoided by any potential criminals. 



10 Surprising Risky Destinations - According to the State Department January 16 2018, 0 Comments

The U.S. Department of State recently assigned every country in the world a "travel safety rating". The safest places are ranked Level 1, while the places that Americans are advised to avoid are considered Level 4:

travel safety department of state ratings

Many tourist-frequented countries were highlighted for travel safety concerns as Level 2, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” and “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” Many of the advisories stem from threats of terrorism, while others are due to crime or weather.

Surprising Countries with Level 2 Travel Safety Ratings

Here are some countries you might be surprised the State Department gave a lower travel safety rating to, and why the agency says you should exercise caution when visiting them.

Denmark

“Exercise increased caution in Denmark due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Denmark. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

Belize

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“Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and murder, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

France

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“Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

Antarctica

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“Exercise increased caution in Antarctica due to environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather,” the travel advisory states. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Antarctica.”

Italy

Italy warnings and dangers

“Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Bahamas

“Exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime,” the travel advisory states. “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.”

The United Kingdom

“Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.”

Germany

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“Exercise increased caution in Germany due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Germany. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”

The Maldives

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“Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning … Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.” For a more comprehensive guide on traveling to the Maldives, check out the 100 Best Things To Do in The Maldives

Spain

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“Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism,” the travel advisory states. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Spain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning.”