Solo travel is an adventure you should experience at least once in your life. The freedom, the knowledge and the confidence you can get from solo travel is an eye-opener. Thing is, that many are afraid of traveling solo mainly due to the dangers of being alone in a foreign place. Of course, your safety is essential. You should know that traveling alone CAN be safe, if you make it safe.
So in order to help you, I have written 23 tips for safety while traveling (solo or not!):
1.Do your research
Every country has a different structure. It is very important to know the overall feel of the country so that you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation during your stay.
You should research:
- Bad neighborhoods
- Offensive/ inappropriate behavior
- Uncommon laws
Even though it pains me to say this, you should look for safer countries, especially if this is your first time solo traveling, Every country is beautiful and you should not miss out on that beauty because of fear. But it might be best to go to some places in groups, unless you are an experienced traveler. If you are a female, you should definitely read the 10 safest destinations for female travelers.
3. Travel Insurance
Accidents can happen anywhere and to anyone, so it is essential to insure yourself in order to have access to medical care and assistance wherever you are. World Nomads travel insurance is a trusted insurance agency used by many professional travelers (like nomadic Matt). They offer 24/7 emergency assistance and cover more than 150 activities including bungee jumping and skydiving!
4. Private transfer from airport
If you are arriving late at night, it might be a good idea to get private transfer from the airport to your hotel. It helps you avoid having to wait alone and avoids dodgy areas/people.
5. Stay connected
In this digital age, staying connected between different continents is not difficult at all. WiFi is available almost everywhere. So make an effort to stay connect with people you know. This way if something where to happen they would know and act accordingly.
6. Share your itinerary
Have scheduled check-ins with family/friends at home and share your itinerary. If you miss a check-in, they’ll know where to look for you.
7. Know the emergency numbers
Carry with you your insurance’s assistance number, local authority numbers and your hotel’s number.
8. Make copies of your documents
Carry hard copies of important travel documents (passport, visas, etc.). It is also a good idea to keep soft copies of the documents on free online storage platforms such as Outbox.
9. Learn a few basic phrases
Being courteous is appreciated everywhere. Learn a few basic phrases in the language of the country and you won’t get on the bad side of the locals.
10. Listen to the locals
They know the area, they know the people, they know everything there is to know. Ask about anything you are uncertain of. Make sure you ask multiple, separate people, including hotel personnel, so you make sure it is good information.
11. Act like a local
You can visit tourist attractions, just don’t take pictures of every plant you see in a corner. Research locations and routes before heading out. Act like a local and you will avoid unwanted attention, overcharging and scams.
12. Dress code
Wear what they wear. Stay clear of the Hawaiian shirt and cargo pants combo (unless you’re in Hawaii). Be wary of clothes the culture might consider as ‘indecent’.
It is never a bad idea to learn some self-defense skills. Even though getting in a fight is never an ideal, having the reassurance of knowing how to defend yourself can put your mind at ease. There are several self-defense techniques. Once you learn one you will definitely feel safer.
14. Don’t carry around valuables
Well this goes without saying. Don’t show off any flashy jewelry, watches or Prada bags while you’re walking around.
An essential thing to keep with you at all times is a whistle. It is in itself harmless, it will not attract unwanted attention, but when you need it, it can pull you out of a dangerous situation. Blow a whistle and everyone’s attention is on you. This wards off any attackers and gets you the help you need. Pepper spray, if you find it, is also helpful. ( Oh, and SCREAM).
16. Carry with you a dummy wallet
Get a wallet, put a few bucks and a few old cards in it and carry it around with you. If you ever get robbed, give them the fake wallet.
17. Put on a fake ring
Ladies, ever get tires of the unwanted advances? Well, putting a ring on gives the idea that you’re unavailable so you’ ll get bothered less. A cheap ring will do. Actually it shouldn’t be too fancy as you don’t want to get robbed for it. Something like a budget ring from Etsy is ideal.
18. Store extra cash in hidden places
In your shoe, bra, inner pockets. There are plenty of good places to hide money on your person. This way if you lose your wallet, you’ll have a back up plan.
19. Watch your bag
Get a cross body bag. Very hard to get that snatched away. No fanny packs – dead giveaway that you’re a tourist. Websites like Newlook have a variety of cross body bags, perfect for your next trip.
20. Don’t walk alone at night
Everything seems scarier at night, everything is scarier at night. Try to stay with people or hang out in your hotel when night approaches.
21. Stay close to people
Although unfrequented places tend to be hidden gems, public places are much safer. So stick close to people. This way you’ll also get to meet more people.
22. Say you’re with someone else
If you are in an uncomfortable situation because you’re alone, you can always pretend that your family/partner/friend is somewhere near.
23. Say ‘No’ and leave
Sometimes a hard, direct approach is the best way to go.
If you follow these guidelines you will certainly feel safer and you’ll know how to handle situations better. Think before you act and you’ll manage to have a wonderful experience with solo travel.
Do you have your own tips for safe travel? Share with us in the comments section!