The idea of being alone in a foreign place can be scary. However, with a little preparation and safety awareness, you’ll find that travelling alone is a truly rewarding and empowering experience. So grab your camera and pack your bags. Here are 10 ways to stay safe on your solo travels.
1. Learn the local language
If you’re heading to a place where the local language isn’t your own, make sure that you know some words and phrases beyond “hello” and “one beer, please”. Strangers will appreciate the effort and they’ll be more likely to help you if you’re looking for recommendations or directions. It can also help if you run into any kind of emergency.
2. Trust your gut
If a situation doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You may draw attention as a solo traveller so learn to say “no” with confidence. Stick to open and public places at night and walk with purpose to your destination.
3. Blend in
Don’t draw attention to yourself by wearing high fashion and jewellery and keep your backpack small and nondescript. If you look like a tourist, you’ll be an easy target for pickpockets and scams. Study your map and transportation route before leaving your room so you’re not seen poring over it on the subway.
4. Store emergency numbers on your phone
You probably won’t need them but it will comfort you to know that you have them with you, especially in awkward situations.
5. Be street smart
Always keep an eye on your valuables and watch your drinks in bars or restaurants. Don’t tell strangers that you’re alone when asking for directions. Simply pretend that you are meeting a friend at your next point of interest.
6. Let others know where you are
Give a friend or family member a copy of your itinerary so they always know more-or-less where you are during your travels. Leave them a copy of your passport and ID as well as any contact numbers for the places you’re visiting. Remember to stay in touch regularly via phone, text, or email.
7. Carry a first aid kit
Invest in a travel-size first aid kit and keep it with you at all times. Whether it’s filled with immune boosters, anti-septic cream or more serious prescription medicine; you never know when you may need it.
8. Travel in daylight
Try and keep all major transfers for during the day so you have plenty of time to find your next hotel before it gets dark. You don’t want to be exploring a new place at night and run the risk of getting lost.
9. Plan your evening
If you leave your hotel for the evening, make sure you know how to get back to your hotel quickly and safely if you need to.
10. Don’t over pack
Do you really need three cameras? Try and keep the number of gadgets you’re taking to a minimum. It will not only keep your bags light but you won’t have to worry about keeping everything safe wherever you go. Invest in a decent backpack or suitcase that can lock and put the rest of your valuables in the hotel safe.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of travelling alone. It can be scary at first but with some planning and common sense, you’ll save yourself money and ensure that you have a safe and memorable experience.
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