Traveling alone is one of the best ways to explore the world. It gives you the unique opportunity to live at your own pace and plan your schedule around your wants and needs solely. That being said, solo travel can also thrust you into a number of stressful situations, which can negatively impact your time away. Many people, especially women, avoid heading off on their own assuming that it will be more dangerous and risky than being in a group. While this can true, it is definitely possible to travel the world alone and stay safe. Here are ten safety tips to help you out.
Research The Destination Thoroughly
The very first thing that you need to do is research your vacation destination thoroughly. Learn everything that you can about the country you’re visiting by reading blogs, buying travel guides, asking questions on forums, and more. You may also want to ask other solo travelers about their experiences in the area. Getting sick on vacation is never fun, but getting sick alone is so much worse. To avoid this, you should pop to a travel clinic and get any vaccinations you may need.
Choose Your Accommodation Carefully
Ideally, you should feel safe wherever you go while traveling, but, at the very least, you should be able to relax in the place you sleep and unwind. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you choose your accommodation carefully and opt for a place with a good safety record. Larger, national hotel chains are likely your best bet, especially those with women-only floors, but a small bed and breakfast can work too. Just make sure that you make a reservation before you head off.
For extra security while in your hotel room, consider attaching a door alarm to the door of your hotel room. A loud alarm will be triggered if the sensor detects movement. Keep in mind it does not prevent intruders from barging in — it merely frightens them away (at least we can hope so).
Lock Your Valuables Away
While you’re on the road, it’s best that you keep any valuables you bring on your person at all times. This way, there’s a much lower chance that anything expensive or important is going to be lost or stolen on the journey. That being said, when you arrive at your accommodation, you should lock most of these things away. Most reputable hotels and hostels have safes or lockers for this purpose. Only carry around the things that you need for the day to keep yourself safe. A retractable cable lock, which is both compact and light, can be really useful too.
Put Extra Cash Aside
Running out of cash on vacation is never an ideal situation, but when you have friends or family with you, there’s always the option to ask them for financial help. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible when traveling alone. Because of this, it’s vital that you always have access to some extra cash. Applying for no credit check loans is a quick and simple option when you’re in a particularly sticky situation. You should also hide some extra money and credit cards in your clothes and bag. I particularly like this travel security money belt with a hidden safety pocket for extra cash.
Check out this SHOLDIT scarf with a hidden pocket! It’s a perfect travel scarf that can hold a passport, smartphone, money and keys. Just slip them into the secret pocket, zip it up and off you go. Your valuables will be kept secure right under your nose. Brilliant, right?
Look Like You Belong
Walking down the street with your head in a map will make you a target for thieves, con artists, and predators. This shows that you’re a tourist, which suggests that you might have valuables with you. If you really need to glance at your map, then step inside a store for a moment instead. You should also avoid wearing clothes that make you stand out in a crowd. The more you can blend in, the less chance you have of being confronted by a less than friendly local.
Watch What You Drink
You travel to have fun, which means that you might want a drink or two when you’re out exploring for the night. Just make sure that those couple of drinks don’t turn into you crawling back to the hotel at 6 am. When you drink alcohol, your reaction time is slow, leaving you vulnerable to those around you. You’re also much more likely to lose money or your hotel key. Make sure that you always eat before drinking, drink plenty of water, and only take drinks directly from the bartender.
Don’t Trust Too Easily
Traveling alone doesn’t mean that you should be on your own the entire trip. In fact, it can be incredibly helpful and fun to make some friends along the way. Just make sure that these friends are actually what they seem. Con artists are known to befriend solo travelers and then rob them when they’re alone. You might want to be a part of a group, but you should make sure that you really know a person before you start to trust them completely.
Invest In Your Safety
It doesn’t matter where you’re heading to; travel will always be an expensive pursuit. For this reason, many avid travelers do everything that they can to cut costs and save money here and there. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice your safety to do so. In fact, it’s more than worth it to pay a little extra now and then for a cab ride home or a popular hotel chain room. Anything that makes you feel that little bit safer will make your trip more enjoyable and avoid scary situations.
Update Your Loved Ones
You may have headed off on your own, but that doesn’t mean that you can completely isolate yourself from the friends and family you’ve left back home. At least one person there should have a copy of your itinerary, as well as information on your credit cards, bank account, and travel insurance. You should also check in with this person regularly throughout your trip. This way, if anything were to happen, and you didn’t get in contact, they’d know that something was wrong.
Always Buy Travel Insurance
Many people view travel insurance as an unnecessary expense, but this is far from the truth. If you had to go to the hospital, were robbed on the road, or had to cut your trip short for whatever reason, your insurance would reimburse you any expenses and provide security and peace of mind. This is such a small cost to pay for the cover that it brings. Just make sure that you read through policies carefully, as different companies offer different types of protection.
Traveling alone doesn’t have to be dangerous or scary. In fact, with these tips, you should be able to avoid sticky situations and have the time of your life.
Did I miss out on something? Is there something you specifically do to make sure you’re safe while traveling solo? Let me know in the comments below.
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