Traveling alone can be an extremely rewarding experience. Solo travel allows a freedom that you can’t get in a group, meaning you can go where you want, when you want, without having to worry about other people’s plans or desires. It can also give you a more reflective experience, and a deeper appreciation for the places you are visiting.
People travel solo for all sorts of reasons, as business travelers, freelancers or just for the pleasure of it. But whether you are just hitting town for a few days on business, exploring a remote location as a backpacker or planning a cruise in 2021 on your own, safety should always be at the forefront of your mind. Solo travel does involve some risks, and there are a number of things you should always do to stay safe when traveling alone.
Research your destination
The most important thing when you are traveling alone is to know exactly what you are getting into. It is always worth looking into the safety and travel advice for the destination you are going to – for example, the US State Department has a list of every country in the world, ranked by safety level, with specific advice for each destination.
Good research can give you invaluable insight into where to stay, neighborhoods to avoid, which modes of transport are the best to use, what health risks there might be, and even how safe and reliable your accommodation is going to be. Good planning in advance can help avoid problems before they happen.
Keep your valuables on you
The best advice when it comes to valuables and travel is don’t take any with you! Being without a laptop or your best jewelry for a few weeks is not going to kill you. However, most people travel with at least a few precious items, and things like passports, cameras, and smartphones are pretty much unavoidable.
If you do have valuables with you when traveling alone, be sure to keep them on your person at all times. Don’t put them into your main luggage, and definitely don’t put them into checked baggage on a plane or bus. A day bag for essentials is a great idea and means you can keep an eye on the things you just couldn’t face losing.
Be cautious with strangers
One of the joys of traveling alone is meeting people and making new friends. However, it is really important to maintain a level of caution when you meet people for the first time, however friendly they might seem. While the majority of people will be completely trustworthy, there are always scammers looking to prey on people’s good will, so don’t be too quick to trust people completely.
Drink in moderation
There’s nothing wrong with having a few drinks, but just remember that you are in an unfamiliar, foreign place. Too many beers will dull the senses and slow your reactions, and it is always a good idea to stay in control. Resist peer pressure, be aware of how much you’ve had to drink, and don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Always have a backup plan
At the end of the day, if you prepare for the worst you’ll never get caught out. This doesn’t mean avoiding exciting or potentially risky experiences, but rather making sure that you are prepared for something to go wrong. Keep copies of bank cards and important documents in a secure place, as well as online.
Stash money in hidden places (your shoes are a great hiding place). Make sure you have important phone numbers saved somewhere you can access even if you lose your phone. If disaster strikes, these measures will mean that you should be able to sort everything out with a minimum of fuss.
Being safe while traveling alone is mostly about common sense, and with these tips, you’ll be able to have a secure and exciting adventure. Happy travels!