Solo travel is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. If you’re not careful and prepared, it can also be much more dangerous than traveling with a trusted travel buddy. But you can definitely stay safe when traveling on your own - you just have to take a little extra care to look after yourself.
Nobody will be there to watch your back, so to remain safe and sound on your solo travels, you have to take matters into your own hands. Keep reading to find out what 10 safety tips you should always be aware of when traveling alone.
10 Book Your Accommodation In Advance
Spontaneity can keep travel exciting. When you don’t plan out everything in advance, you have much more freedom to go with the flow and see what works. But there are some things that should be planned in advance and accommodation, in our opinion, is one of them.
If you don’t know where you’re staying, you don’t have a guaranteed safe place to stay. You open yourself up to having to say somewhere that’s not that safe because it’s all that’s available. Although those kinds of last-minute adventures can be fun, ultimately the less risky thing to do when you’re on your own is having a guaranteed safe place to stay.
9 Know The Etiquette Of Your Destination
Always do your research on your particular destination when traveling somewhere new so you know exactly what to expect. By knowing the etiquette expectations of this new culture, you’ll be less likely to make embarrassing blunders that mark you as a clueless tourist.
If you do make a faux pas, the likely consequence will be embarrassment rather than a threat to your safety. However, when you’re traveling alone, it’s just not wise to do anything that makes you seem as if you’re unprepared and uncomfortable. That will likely make you a target for people who want to take advantage of tourists.
8 Let Loved Ones Know Where You Are
Solo travel will help you to grow and become surer of yourself. You’ll be less dependent on others because you’ll have to do things on your own. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate with your family and friends and let them know where you are. In fact, that’s something you should always remember to do.
The chances are nothing is going to happen while you’re traveling. But if something does happen, there’s a better chance of you getting to safety if people know where you are and what you’re doing.
7 Don’t Draw Attention To Yourself
The main reason that you should learn the etiquette of the destination you’re traveling to is that you don’t want to draw attention to yourself and make yourself a target of those who prey on tourists. Obviously, it’s a good idea to avoid doing all the typically “touristy” things: walking around with your face in a map, carrying a camera around your neck and wearing a very obvious money belt.
It’s also not a good idea to draw attention to the fact that you’re alone. When you do get to speak to strangers, let them know that you have friends or family in the destination you’re in, even if you don’t.
6 Don’t Party Too Hard
No matter who you are, you should be able to party and have a good time while you’re traveling. You should be able to drink as much as you want. But should and reality are different. And the reality is partying too hard and drinking too much lowers your awareness, which hugely compromises your safety.
Nobody has a right to target you just because you’re drinking, but criminals are unlikely to be too concerned about someone's rights. The safe option is to always stay in control of yourself and your awareness so you can get yourself out of an unsafe situation. Fair? No. Necessary? Absolutely.
5 Learn Some Of The Language
Whenever traveling to a foreign country, it’s always helpful to learn some of the local language. This is especially true when traveling by yourself. Anything you can do as a solo traveler to give yourself more power and less vulnerable, you should do. Language learning will do just that.
In some countries, you won’t have to speak the national language because everybody speaks English anyway. That said, it’s still helpful to know some local words. Again, this will make you look prepared and anything but a clueless tourist.
4 Make Sure You’re Wearing Any Medical I.D. Bracelets
When traveling by yourself, you have to be responsible for taking care of yourself because nobody is there to do it for you. That means taking control of your mental and emotional health during the trip and also looking after yourself physically.
If you have any medical conditions, always be sure to wear a medical bracelet so this can be identified. If something does happen to you, you have a better chance of survival if the people who are helping you know exactly what the situation is. Also, be sure to bring and manage any medication you may need.
3 Don’t Wander Into Unsafe Areas
One of the main reasons why you should research your destination before solo travel is to avoid accidentally stumbling into areas that are unsafe. Although on the whole, some countries are more unsafe than others, basically every city has its neighborhoods and suburbs that you should stay out of it.
Try to always be aware of your surroundings and avoid entering areas that are known to be unsafe for whatever reason. If you have to walk through a particular area that’s known to be dangerous, make sure you’re with a tour group and that it’s during daylight hours.
2 Limit Travel Late At Night
Speaking of daylight hours, as a solo traveler you should always endeavor to travel during the day rather than at night. We know that this isn’t always possible. When traveling alone at night, try to have a safe mode of transport organized and also ensure that your accommodation is already planned. Being organized in these areas will reduce your chances of running into trouble.
Where you can, try to travel during the day rather than at night. When you’re going out and about at night, try to stay in well-lit and populated areas instead of exploring secluded places.
1 Listen To Your Gut When Meeting Strangers
One of the best parts of travel is meeting strangers. As a solo traveler, you’ll probably meet many more people than you would if you were traveling with a group because you’ll push yourself to socialize. Meeting new friends while traveling is wonderful, but as always, remember to listen to your gut.
If you get a bad feeling about someone, move away from them. Don’t stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable because you think you’re obliged to. Remain aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts - get out of any situation that your body is warning you about.