Travel Tips

Balancing Adventure and Safety When Traveling Solo

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At least half the time I travel alone which means I usually get to do everything I want without compromise, but sometimes it means I have to curtail my plans when being alone might make me more of a target.

I was reminded of this early yesterday morning when I wanted to try out a breakfast place in Vegas. The Ellis Island Cafe was reported to be a great place to grab an inexpensive meal and tired of mediocre pricey food, I decided I’d go for an early bite.
Ellis Island Cafe

It was a 20 minute walk off the Strip attached to the Motel 8 which some Yelp reviews mentioned as being “scary” but I wasn’t worried. It’s daylight, I’m sober and I used to train in mixed martial arts, I’d be fine.

But the walk was mostly by service entrances of large buildings and empty lots. There weren’t a whole lot of people out yet, just a few homeless men and drunk guys.

It’s not often that my “spidey sense” tingles and I was no longer feeling completely comfortable making the trek alone. Feeling foolish, but somewhat relieved, I turned around halfway and headed back to my hotel.

solo travel in Las Vegas breakfast

I wound up grabbing a McGriddle at McDonald’s and a free coffee (a poor substitute for the Loaded Breakfast Sandwich I’d been imagining) and made the best of it munching by the Bellagio entrance and enjoying the weird little cadre of ducklings so industriously paddling around the perimeter. Kind of wondering if I had made to big a deal and should have continued on.

Bellagio Fountains duckling

I probably would have been completely fine, but I so rarely feel uneasy that I pay attention when I do, regardless of my location. Sometimes going off the beaten path just isn’t quite worth it.

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  1. Drew

    September 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Were you walking down Flamingo?Tons of drunk ignorant tourists walk that road every single say and you rarely here about anyone getting robbed, beaten, or stabbed. You missed out on the best root beer in Vegas.

  2. Ric Garrido

    September 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I’ve been to Ellis Island many times. Never for breakfast. The $1 pints of beer were a selling feature to me. I think they cost more these days.

    Dinner is a great deal for chicken and ribs cooked on the open flame grills on the patio. The restaurant is also popular, but it is the chicken and ribs and cheap microbrew beer that attracted me over the years.

    Being an early morning walker myself, the hours before 8am are often the scariest times to walk around in many foreign cities or a place like Las Vegas which is about as foreign as the USA gets for an American.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      September 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      I tend to keep east coast hours, so when I’m working in Vegas, the morning is when I feel the least safe for a walk. No one’s up! At least in NYC, you also have people on their way to work, and it literally is the city that never sleeps. Vegas is the city that suffers massive hangovers once they DO go to sleep 😉

  3. Kathy (Will Run For Miles)

    September 23, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Keri – If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to trust your gut feeling. I’ve had the same thing happen a few times – In Charlotte, I thought I was following a Jogging Map and found myself in a bad neighborhood when the homeless were all waking up. I went for a run Friday in Vegas around the area you’re talking about (I was purposely avoiding the strip). It wasn’t bad when I was there later in the day, but that area does have a bad reputation so I’m sure you did the right thing.

    I plan to write a blog post about how I put a chair against hotel doors when I’m traveling solo….


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