Travelling solo can be one of the most liberating experiences there are; you are independent, in charge of all the decisions and basically free to do whatever you please. It does sound great, but discovering a new destination as a single traveler – or without at least one travel partner – is very often perceived as being dangerous and in some rare cases, it actually is. Whether you are a man or a woman, staying safe when travelling alone is a priority. Remember, it’s not the destination that makes your journey unsafe, it’s the people! In this article, I will share with you useful tips that will help you stay safe when travelling solo.
Avoid Getting Lost
As logical yet silly as this sounds, you should try to avoid getting lost as much as possible, which means that you should:
- Have your address in both English and the native language at all times on you.
- Only trust city cabs and never, ever, get in a car with someone you don’t know who isn’t a registered taxi driver.
- Always have a paper map on you! Smartphones and GPSs are lovely, but they will run out of battery and you won’t always have a café nearby to charge them. A paper map is your best friend!
- Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said: Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason. He’s right! Unless you are with a group of people going on dangerous adventures on the less beaten path, stick to what you know, if you want to be safe.
A Few Rules of Thumb about Alcohol
- If you are not travelling or hanging out with people you know, limit your consumption of alcohol. Others may want to take advantage of you if you are intoxicated. Sure, alcohol is a great social lubricant, but it will also impair your judgment and make you vulnerable.
- Never leave your drink unattended, you never know who puts what in your drink.
- Always check the content of alcohol in the drink you are having. Some beers have 8% alcohol, and if you’re not used to that kind of stuff, it will knock you off your feet!
- If you are in a place where people do not consume alcohol, try refrain from drinking. Being the odd one out can unfortunately make you an easy target.
- If you are in a situation where you see someone intoxicated being taken advantage of, do something. You can either intervene yourself, if you think you can handle the situation or better yet, call the police!
Watch Your Valuables
- Do not keep all your valuables in one place! This is one rule that you must follow, no matter what. Theft can happen anywhere in the world, so better be safe than sorry!
- Don’t advertise your belongings, it can attract thieves. Let’s say you want to take out your iPad and check something out. We suggest you find a café to do it in, or a less public space. You wouldn’t want it snatched out of your hands on the side of the road.
Educate Yourself about the Country Beforehand
- It is very important to learn about the country you’re planning to visit and its culture beforehand. This way you will know how to avoid getting into sticky situations.
- The standards of modesty are different for every country/culture, so it is imperative that you know how to dress when visiting certain places.
- When it comes to places of worship, almost all require people to be fully clothed, with little skin showing. It’s a sign of respect to follow dress codes, so do try to be as diligent as possible.
- Trust your senses! This may sound like a no-brainer, but trusting your senses is very important. Don’t worry about offending anyone, if your gut is telling you that something or someone is fishy, then proceed accordingly.
- Always let someone close know where you are or where you are going. Make a habit of checking in with someone back home or at the hotel.
- Be respectful and always demand respect!
- Do not consider the country you are travelling to, your home. You are a guest in it, a visitor and you should behave accordingly. Respect the customs and traditions, even if they do not align with your beliefs. Never forget that you are guest, so behave like one!
- Talk to the natives and ask for their opinion. If someone is telling you that you shouldn’t go to a place after night falls, then hear them out. They know better!
- Always be aware of your environment! Keep your eyes open to your surroundings and the people around you.
- Have an unlocked phone with you, so that you can buy a local SIM card and use the phone in that country.
- Don’t let time take you by surprise! It’s so easy to forget the time when you’re having fun, and this can lead to some unfavorable situations. Also, know when the sun sets and rises in the region you are at, so that night doesn’t sneak up on you.
- Have on your phone the number for the local police, in case of an emergency.
- Ask for pointers from your hotel or hostel management. They will be happy to help and they are usually the ones who know best!
Lastly, we’ve got one more tip and that is to relax! It’s good to take precautions, but don’t let a possible mishap ruin your whole vacation. Living in fear is no way of living! Focus on the great things you are planning to do on your holiday, focus on the lovely places you want to visit and on the amazing people you will most likely meet on your journey. Give solo travel a try, this is your time to shine!
About the author:
Cristina is the Community Manager of BookSinglesHolidays.com, a themed travel website offering a vast collection of singles vacations & solo holidays. She is also a passionate traveler, cat aficionado and novice writer.