One of the most rewarding ways to see this world is as a solo traveler. Though being an adventurous, mindful, and ethical traveler means looking out for and protecting yourself in the process. It’s unlikely that something terrible would happen, but there’s always a possibility and preventative measures can help us prepare for the worst. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These important tips will help keep you safe on your next adventure abroad.
1). Don’t overshare
It’s inevitable to encounter people on your flight, in restaurants, or in the street who will ask about your travel plans. While these people might have good intentions, it’s best to lie and share as little information as possible. These lies should include that you’re meeting friends, you used to live in the area, and the location of your accommodation.
Never let strangers know that you’re traveling alone or are unfamiliar with your destination, not even your taxi driver or rideshare.
2). Limit your alcohol
It’s okay to have one drink if you’re out having a meal or want to visit a brewery but limit your consumption. If you’re a lightweight, consider avoiding alcohol altogether. Being intoxicated when you’re alone in a foreign city can lead to potentially dangerous social situations.
Always use common sense and never leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers.
3). Blend in
Don’t draw attention to yourself for the wrong reasons. Never make it obvious you’re lost or pull out a map in the middle of a street, this automatically lets others know you’re a tourist. Walk with confidence where ever you are, and if you do find yourself lost, stop in a café or shop to look for directions on your phone or ask an employee.
4). Choose your accommodation wisely
Before booking a hotel or hostel, research the safest areas in the city. Make sure the accommodation is central and on a busy street. Places with dimly lit entryways in alleys or side streets are a big no-no. Checking online reviews is a useful way to ensure your lodging has adequate security. If staying in a hostel and sharing a room with others, only book ones that have personal lockers for your important belongings.
5). Hold on tightly to your belongings
Keep purses, backpacks, and wallets to the front of you with a firm grasp at all times, especially when on the metro or bus. Avoid taking cash or wallets out in busy areas, this opens you up to pickpockets, just wait until you’re somewhere safe. It’s also a good idea to avoid carrying a large amount of money and carry what cash you do have in an inconspicuous place like your bra or a hidden pocket.
When someone approaches you about events, donations, or even to offer assistance or simple conversation, walk away. Scammers are very creative and good at what they do, they know how to create situations where you might need help and come off as friendly. They can fool even the best of us, so it’s important to be vigilant and always question other’s intentions.
6). Don’t stay out after dark
If it can be helped, arrive at your destination early to avoid finding your accommodation at night. For the rest of your trip, continue to avoid walking around alone at night and never partake in a city’s nightlife by yourself. It helps to meet other travelers at your hostel or on tours to go out with you, meeting others (SAFELY) is part of the beauty of being a solo traveler.
7). Make copies of your passport
If your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy to give to the embassy will ensure the replacement process goes smoothly. While it’s important to avoid losing your passport altogether by leaving it locked up at your hotel and in a safe place when in transit, you’ll need to have a backup. Make multiple copies and keep one on your body and the others with your luggage in case of an emergency.
8). Call your loved ones
Our friends and family often worry when we’re away, don’t make them fret more than they have to. A simple text every morning and night will let your parents know that you’re okay. Sharing your itinerary, real time location, and accommodation info with them is also an extra security measure. In the unfortunate event that anything should happen to you or your family members can’t get in touch, they will have the right information to give to authorities.