For many, enjoying a drink (or five) is part of going on holiday. Going to wineries, breweries, and distilleries are great tours for enthusiasts of wine, beer, and spirits.
I enjoy sipping a rum drink from a coconut on the beach and having a fine Merlot with dinner as well as getting turnt on hurricanes during Mardi Gras and trying a dozen beers on an Irish pub crawl. Since I travel alone fairly often, I’ve honed some tips and tricks for staying safe while thoroughly enjoying a night out.
Know Where You Are
It’s is easy to get turned around in a new city, especially once alcohol floods your system. Make sure you have the address of your accommodations (in both English and the local language) handy:
- Set a pin to mark the location if you have GPS
- Write the address down on something that doesn’t require internet
- Remember/write down the closest major intersection or milestone
- Plan and review the path to and from wherever you are going
Starting with customs, you will need to know where you staying throughout your trip. Memorizing the address is not only practical but it also makes you seem less touristy when grabbing taxis and asking for directions.
Keep Everything on You
During my first Mardi Gras trip, I took off my ivory leather jacket to dance with my friends. My thought at the time was, “I can see it; it will be fine.”
Someone grabbed the jacket in a flash and with it my credit cards, cash, and room key. They then used my card for $300+ of merchandise from McDonald’s, Godiva, a gas station, and a liquor store.
Shoulder bags are a nice way to keep your essentials close and in view. Keep in mind that thin straps can break if snatched hard enough and you can watch see someone unzip your backpack.
However, the only items you should have on you when drinking are the basics; funds for the evening, identification, and your phone perhaps. Leave your passport and bulk valuables locked-up in your accommodations.
I keep cash and credit cards in separate locations. If I’m robbed, then I can hand them cash. Robbers want the transaction to happen quickly and the sooner they are gone, the better. Trust me, it’s not worth fighting over.
Everything also includes your drink. Do not leave your beverage unattended.
Know Your Limit
Do not drink so much that you are a danger to yourself. You could be in the safest city in the world but if you drink too much, then you could be at risk of getting hurt, alcohol poisoning, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
When I was much younger and in Germany, some girlfriends and I drank so much that it was divine intervention that we made it back to the hostel. One girl ended up vomiting passed out in the taxi while I walked into a wall and ripped out my eyebrow ring.
Whether you are traveling solo or with other friends who will look after one another, consider the following tips for moderate drinking:
- Eat beforehand
- Pace yourself
- Drink water between alcoholic beverages
- Be aware of the alcohol content
“The only thing that is going to make you drunker is time.” Some people tend to forget that their body is still processing a shot they had an hour prior. Keep track of your drinks. You may not feel intoxicated after four drinks in two hours because they are still moving through your digestive system.
Getting Home at the End of the Night
The safest way to get back home at the end of the night is usually taking a taxi or ride-share. This is where having your address ready comes in!
Public transportation can be tricky if you are not familiar with the area. Ending up on the wrong side of town after a drunken night can be risky and frustrating. It also often takes the most time, which can be a race against the clock if you’re falling asleep.
If you are a walkable distance away, then keep to high pedestrian areas. Stay on the sidewalk and check both ways before crossing the street. This may sound juvenile until you nearly get hit by a car because you forgot you were in London where they drive on the other side of the street.
If you are a solo woman, then walk behind a couple or group of women. And be aware of your surroundings. I once had a man follow me halfway to my hotel before I noticed him. If you think you are being followed, then duck into a restaurant for a while.