At TravSolo, we’re on a mission to spread the word about the joys and excitement of traveling alone. Whether you’re hoping to shop, museum hop, or day drink with locals, we want you to go for it. And while traveling solo offers the benefits of freedom and self-discovery, the unfortunate reality is that being alone in a new place requires you to take extra precaution. Being alone and foreign are enough to make you seem like a target to the wrong person. Additionally, taking all of the necessary precautions doesn’t mean you won’t end up in a bad situation.
With that said, we put together a quick list of safety tips to make sure you don’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Learn as much as you can about your destination before you go. Read travel forums, ask friends and family who have already been, and use social media to find out more. Learn the neighborhoods, city layout, and public transportation options so that you know where you’ll feel comfortable going and how you’ll get there.
You can expect most metropolitan areas to have adequate access to WiFi, however, rural areas likely do not. Reach out to your carrier to find out about the coverage at your desired destination. If you’re traveling out of the country, consider purchasing an international SIM card or phone plan to ensure you can reach someone in case of an emergency.
Packing less is a game changer. The less you take with you, the less you have to worry about being taken from you. Once you get to your destination, only carry what you need for the day, including cash and credit cards (pro-tip for those on a budget!).
Be a Chameleon
Find out how locals speak and what they wear so you can try your best to blend in. Take time to understand their mannerisms, daily activities, and local customs so that you can be respectful.
Stick with the Crowd
Try your best to blend within your surroundings. For starters, it is safer and you’re more likely to meet other travelers and make friends. After you’ve gotten a feel for the touristy parts of town, decide if you’d be more comfortable traveling to a more localized area.
Follow the light
Even if it means taking a longer route back, stay in well-lit areas at night. It’s okay to take alternative routes to avoid areas where you may be harassed.
Secure your belongings
Look for rooms with safes, especially if you’re sharing a hostel room, to ensure that strangers don’t have access to your valuables.
Set a drink limit
Even though alcohol is enjoyable, it inhibits your ability to make rational decisions. Enjoy yourself while avoiding to overdo it! You don’t want to be the drunk tourist who looks like a target.
Some last notes
The reality is that bad things can still happen when you’re prepared and when you least expect it. Some things really are out of your control. Trust your gut! If something feels wrong, then don’t do it. It’s good practice to keep a friend or family member in the loop of your location and itinerary.
All of this said, you still have to live your life. Don’t let fear be the reason you don’t travel — there’s danger everywhere (including your hometown). Let the fear of danger be what motivates you to prepare and take precaution. Safe travels!
Editors: Chizoba Anyaoha, Rachael D’Addezio & Audrey White
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By Chizoba Anyaoha
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