I love traveling solo… most of the time. To be honest, I feel safer in most places while traveling than I do back in the states. However, I have four cardinal rules that I follow while waiting for the buses here in Costa Rica. Why? Because the stations in San Jose are in the worst neighborhoods. Additionally, bus stations in other places also seem to attract characters of all sorts. These rules can be applied almost everywhere and won’t lead you astray.
Rule #1: Never Leave the Hostel without Coffee
Those of you who know me know that I am not myself without a strong cup of Joe in the morning. I need coffee. Whether it is 530 am or 230 pm, before I leave the hostel, I need this magical substance to make my brain work.
Rule #2: Don’t Use Your Cell Phone in Public
When I’m in Boston, waiting for a bus in Dorchester, I don’t use my cell phone. Why? Because I don’t want to attract attention to the fact that I have a high-quality device at my fingertips. It is the same when I travel in San Jose, or anywhere, for that matter. I don’t want to advertise the amount of money I have, that I’m a tourist, or that I am simply yo basic betch distracted online, looking for my perfect insta-post.
Rule #3: Bring Someone Whenever Possible, and When Impossible Befriend Another Solo Traveler
I like going to bus stations with friends. Why? Because if something happens, you can always just make eye contact with your buddy, and figure out what to do together. The whole process is just less scary with someone else. Additionally, you may have cultural biases and your friend will call you out. Not every person who speaks another language, or acts strange is out to harm you! In fact, most are not.
Rule #4: Pay Attention
This is my final Cardinal Rule of Bus Stations. Pay Attention. It sounds easy. But, it’s not. This rule is good in any situation. Especially in new places. You can save yourself a lot of grief and misery, simply by being aware of what is going on around you. I remember I went out with my Uncle to a pub in Brooklyn and a fight broke out. Were we ok? Yea. We were. Because we were paying attention. This is important everywhere.