For those of us who love traveling, but cannot always find someone willing to go to the same places or do the same things as us, traveling alone seems like the perfect idea. However, when going anywhere unfamiliar, safety must be considered. Here are seven tips and tricks for staying safe.
- If you are planning on staying in local hostels, make sure you check the reviews beforehand and only go places with largely high ratings (and actually read any negative reviews). You don’t want to end up feeling trapped somewhere you don’t feel comfortable.
- Make sure someone always knows exactly where you are staying and where you should be at any given time. Dissapearing off the map is never a good idea so you should also make time to regularly check in with someone back home.
- Take photographs of travel documents that you cannot afford to lose. Anything from passports to reservations should be saved somewhere other than on your person to make sure you can always get to where you’re trying to go. Make sure you have a hard copy of important phone numbers and the written address of where you are staying as well.
- If at all possible, don’t look like a tourist. Pack light, don’t leave your wallet or phone exposed and don’t wander around holding a map. The more unfamiliar you look in an environment, the most vulnerable you are to pickpockets and thieves. Dressing like the locals also makes you less of a target.
- Consider bringing some form of self-defense if you’re heading to a more uncertain location. Mace cannot be carried onto planes, but it can go in checked luggage, along with whistles or a self-defense keychain such as the Brutus the Bulldog one found here: http://thewellarmedwoman.com/brutus-keychain
- When traveling in a cab or Uber, open Google Maps to ensure you are actually enroute and are not being taken a roundabout way or to somewhere different entirely. You can also stage a phone call to someone (real or imagined) at your destination, so your driver knows someone is waiting on you.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Meeting new people is one of the best parts of travelling alone, but never feel obligated to accept someone’s offer to go out, help you with your bags or buy you food or beverages. You might feel rude, but your safety is more important than appearing polite.
Traveling alone allows you see the places you want to see, meet new people and gain a sense of independence. Following some simple safety protocols can ensure you have a fun trip, rather than a scary one.