For many solo travelers, safety is the number one concern. You’re in unfamiliar territory with no-one around for company. While it’s often preferable for many to travel solo as there are many benefits of solo travel, it may be a necessity for others, such as those traveling for business. No matter what the reason is that you’re traveling solo, here are a few tips to staying safe.
SHARE YOUR TRAVEL PLANS
As you plan your itinerary, there are a few things you should do, especially before traveling internationally, such as letting your family and close friends know your travel plans. Consider enrolling your trip in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.), a free service offered to U.S. Nationals. This allows you to receive critical information about safety conditions based on your destination country, enabling you to make informed decisions about your travel plans. In the event of an emergency, the U.S. Embassy will contact you, whether it’s a natural disaster, civil unrest, or even a family emergency.
KNOW YOUR DESTINATION
Research your destination and their level of safety. Check for travel advisories from your countries website, read reviews, etc. Many sites, such as Trip Advisor, share reviews on locations, and you can also ask questions about the safety of your traveling area.
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH EMERGENCY CONTACTS
Having your embassy information on hand makes it easy in the event of an emergency. Also, knowing the local emergency number is a plus. Not every country uses 911, as in Australia it’s 000, and the United Kingdom 999.
RESIST SHARING YOUR LOCATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
You’re in the location of your dream, and you can’t resist sharing all your fun. While it’s not a bad thing sharing your location, resist from geotagging your photos. If you do insist on sharing your location, do it after you’ve left, especially hotels. That will ensure that no-one can locate you at that moment. I never share my hotel location when I travel, and never my exact location until I’ve long gone.
CONSIDER RIDESHARES INSTEAD OF CABS
You may be tempted to take a cab to your hotel, especially from the airport; however, rideshares are generally safer. Uber can be found in many countries, and you’re able to share your location with others via the app when getting into the car. Your location is tracked, the price of your ride is usually set, so no need to pull out your wallet – all factors in helping to mitigate theft. However, be sure to check the license plate of your pickup car before entering.
PAY EXTRA FOR YOUR SAFETY
Even if you’re on a budget, your safety should be your number one priority, and you can still travel big while spending small. While public transportation is generally safe, I recommend choosing rideshare over a cab, especially when traveling at night. Consider a hotel that may be a bit more costly, but in a centrally located area over a budget hotel or hostel, that is off the beaten path. Your safety is worth the price and there are ways that you can get a good deal on a hotel room.
REQUEST A SECOND FLOOR OR ABOVE ROOM
You may prefer having a room closer to the ground floor so that you don’t need to lug your luggage, but the further away you are from the ground floor, the better. There’s less chance of someone making their way into your room. However, be sure to deadbolt your room’s door when heading to bed.
SPLIT UP YOUR MONEY
Never keep all your cash on you at once. With that being said, never carry all your credit/debits cards in your wallet, either. While having local currency on hand can make purchases or even tipping easier, it’s always a good idea to keep some of it in your hotel safe. In the event of being pickpocketed, you’ll feel better knowing that you still have access to funds.
DRESS ACCORDING TO THE CUSTOMS
It’s easy to stand out when you’re not a local. That’s why researching your destination will come in handy. Dressing according to the customs, especially when you’re a woman, will likely draw less attention when traveling alone. On our recent trip to Dubai, we made sure that we followed the customs, especially as we were visiting during their most holy time – Ramadam. Read why I’d only travel to Dubai during Ramadan.
BOOK WALKING TOURS
Walking tours are a great way to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. Many of them are free, but you get to orient yourself with the surroundings when you decide to venture out on your own. Hopefully, you’ll also have Google Maps on hand to guide you on your way.
There are many tips and tricks to making traveling easier, and we hope that these safety tips will help you consider traveling solo as it’s a great way to travel. You’ll have the freedom to explore, meet the locals, and even appreciate your own company. So take the plunge and become a solo adventurer.
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