Traveling the world is something a lot of us would like to do, but when it comes to traveling solo, a lot of people let fear hold them back. The truth is that most of the time you won’t actually be by yourself, it’s incredibly easy to meet people especially when staying in hostels. However there will be times when you are alone and it’s very easy to stay safe when traveling solo – just as safe as you would be if traveling with others. Here’s how to minimise the danger when you make those solo trips. These travel safety tips are just as useful when travelling in small groups as well.
1. Tell people where you are
Just because you’re traveling alone, doesn’t mean you have to go off the grid. Let people know where you are at all times. Update family members, your partner, or your best friend with a daily itinerary in the morning so they know where you will be. When heading out of a hotel or hostel to go on a hike or something similar, you can let an employee or fellow traveller know where you are going and when you expect to be back. The important thing is that there is always a trail to your whereabouts. This way, if something were to happen to you, the alarm would be raised immediately.
2. Don’t get too drunk (or high)
If you want to let your hair down a bit while you travel, that’s understandable. But remember, you are the only person who has your own back right now, so there’s no one else to watch out for you if you are incapacitated. Don’t get so drunk you won’t be able to get back to your accommodation, won’t know what’s happening to you, or won’t remember it in the morning. One or two drinks is okay, but don’t overdo it. For the same reason, drug use is a really bad idea – especially if you might have an abnormal reaction to whatever you are taking.
3. Always have enough cash
Running out of money at home is bad enough, but while in a different country, it could have serious consequences. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you can’t afford to get back to your accommodation, can’t buy food, or need to find work in order to survive. A great option is to get a bank card you can use to withdraw money while you travel. You could also take out a daily allowance with you so that you always have enough for the day, whilst leaving the rest of your travel money in a safe place at your accommodation.
4. Take copies of documents
Passport, hostel confirmation, flight booking details, and so on – these are all important documents you may need while traveling. There is a danger that if some of these items are stolen, you will be stuck on completing your trip or even getting back home. Make copies of them while you are exploring so that the originals stay safe. This also gives you a safety net if the originals are taken from your room, as you may be able to use the copies instead in some situations while you wait for help from your embassy.
5. Listen to your gut
There are some situations in which our instincts know something is wrong before we can actually put a name to it. If you get a bad feeling in your gut, follow it. Don’t walk down that dark alleyway that makes you feel nervous. Don’t eat or drink in a place that makes you feel that you can’t trust their kitchen. When you think something is off, walk away. It’s the best way to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
Being safe while traveling alone is very similar to when traveling with others, but you just need to be more aware of it. No one else can help you, so take responsibility and you are likely to be fine.
Author: Lily Kaligian is an editor at Businesscheck.co.nz. She creates a variety of articles about careers, entrepreneurship, technology, business, education, as well as travel and personal development.