After months of saving and planning, at last it’s time to book your vacation for some much-needed alone time. Before you finalize your travel plans, it’s important to consider precautions for a safe trip.
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Traveling alone comes with several advantages. You get to know yourself better, you control all the costs, and you can make your own schedule. Traveling alone can be empowering, but it can also be nerve-racking, especially for first-time solo travelers.
Stress and nerves shouldn’t hold you back from taking that solo trip you’ve been waiting for. However, when you travel alone, you should pay extra attention to your safety. With these seven safety tips, you can have a memorable excursion all by yourself.
1. Research Your Travel Destination
You do your research before making a big purchase, so you should do the same when you’re planning a getaway.
Before you book your trip, study up on the destination you’re interested in. While you’re researching, look out for specific safety concerns in that area. Investigate whether your destination is a hub for crime or tourist scams.
Knowing what the potential threats are can help you better prepare for your journey. There are numerous articles and travel guides from travel bloggers that offer safety tips for solo travelers.
2. Keep Your Money Protected
Your research may have revealed that pickpockets are not uncommon at your destination. People will steal anything that looks valuable, including your jewelry, cameras, and money.
Having your valuables snatched by a pickpocket can halt your trip, but there are ways to stay protected against them. When you’re traveling alone, keep your cash or your debit card on your person rather than in a purse. There are accessories, such as money belts, you can wear to store your cash and cards while you’re out and about.
Pickpockets often sneak up from behind to steal your valuables, so it’s likely you won’t even know they’re there. Stay alert to your surroundings and keep your money close to the front of your body.
3. Share Your Itinerary With Someone
Traveling can be unpredictable. Maybe your flight gets delayed, or your hotel looks nothing like the photos online. Regardless of how big or small these surprises are, someone you trust should know where you are and any difficulties you encounter.
Before you leave, share your itinerary and transportation information with a family member or friend. While you’re exploring your destination, keep them updated about how your trip is going. Even if it’s just a text message, an update can help set your loved one’s mind at ease.
Keep in mind that, while it may be tempting, you shouldn’t share your plans or updates on social media. You may want to take the perfect Eiffel Tower selfie and immediately post it to Instagram, but resist the urge. Not only will advertising your whereabouts leave your home vulnerable, but as you’re posting, you’ll take your eyes off your surroundings.
It’s best to wait to share about your trip when you get home safely. Plus, then you get to relive the memories you made!
4. Give Yourself Cover
Despite what we’ve been taught since we learned to speak, when traveling, it’s OK to tell a lie. In fact, telling a little white lie could keep you safe.
There are many reasons you may want to prevaricate. There could be a persistent vendor trying to make a sale. You could have an unwanted admirer. You might simply need an excuse to get out of an activity with some new friends you made. Regardless of the reason, telling a fib to keep yourself safe and comfortable is the right thing to do.
When you’re traveling somewhere new by yourself, never make it obvious that you’re alone. If you need to ask for directions, tell your informant you’re meeting someone there. If someone asks you whether you’re traveling alone, tell them your friend or partner is resting. These inquiries may seem genuine, but it’s better to be safe and tell a little lie.
5. Trust Your Gut
We all have an inner tingle when something doesn’t feel right. Sometimes you push it off to the side, but when traveling, it’s best to trust your gut. If something or somewhere doesn’t feel right — whether it’s a hotel, bar, or park — listen to your instincts and leave. Your intuition can save you from sticky situations, big and small.
Your gut can tell you when you should trust someone for help. If you are in an uncertain situation, trust what your instincts tell you about a person. Do they make you feel safe, or is your gut telling you to be careful? Listen to what signals your body is picking up on, even if you aren’t fully able to process the information.
When traveling, your instincts will become more active. If you think your driver is taking you to the wrong place, get out immediately. If you missed your bus stop, get off as quickly as possible (as with any public transportation). If you think you are on the wrong street to your lodgings, backtrack to more familiar surroundings.
6. Act Like a Local
While you’re out exploring new sites, try to avoid looking like a tourist. Blending in with locals can help keep you from becoming a target. This is easier than you might think.
There’s no need to research the area’s latest fashion trends to act like a local. Keep your souvenir t-shirts back at the hotel. Instead, don something casual that you would wear back at home.
While you’re strolling in your non-conspicuous attire, project confidence. Walk down that unfamiliar street like you’ve been down it every day for the past year. If you look lost and in distress, you could attract unwanted attention. Instead of asking strangers on the street for directions, go to the closest store and ask an employee instead.
7. Avoid Nighttime Dangers
As beautiful as the night can be, it can also be dangerous. When you’re traveling alone, it’s best to do all of your sightseeing before sunset. But if you do wish to explore your destination at night, you can still do so safely.
Before you leave, grab a card or brochure from your hotel. This way, if you don’t speak the language, you can show the name and address to your driver to get back. While you’re out, keep tabs on your drink. If someone tries to get your attention, cover your drink with your hand.
During your nighttime outings, aim to stay in well-lit and populated areas. And if something doesn’t feel right, go back to your hotel promptly.
Solo travel can be a liberating experience, but it can also cause feelings of uneasiness. If you’re planning on traveling alone, follow these tips to keep yourself safe. With a little research and caution, you can open up to new experiences and cultures. You may even learn a thing or two about yourself.