Sometimes, plans don’t come together as we’d like and we have to carpe diem and travel alone. Or, maybe you just prefer to travel alone. It can be a more enjoyable experience, after all. You can abide by your own schedule, do the things you want to do, and visit the sights you want to see without having anyone to butt heads with over the finer details.
Traveling alone can also mean meeting fellow travelers and joining together for adventures you may not have had otherwise. You can join tour groups and choose to continue your expedition long after the actual tour has ended. You can make friends at your hostel and trade exploration stories and even hear about all new places to explore that you hadn’t considered before. Options abound when traveling solo!
If this is an appealing option that you may want to try sometime (it is of my opinion that everyone should), be sure to study up on some safety tips to make sure you’re well-prepared for the ride. Here are a few to consider.
Research Your Destination
This is by far the most important step before traveling, no matter where you’re going or who with. Especially if you are headed out on a solo venture. Look up safety information, crime rates, etc. around the most exciting areas to which you’ll adventure. Which are the best neighborhoods, and how close/far are they from the neighborhoods best avoided? How reliable is the public transportation? Is it safe to use?
When doing this research, don’t forget to also study the hotel or hostel at which you’ll be staying. You may find that you’re in a very safe city, but that the hostel you’ve chosen isn’t quite up to your expectations with its safety history. Don’t choose a cheaper accommodation just because of price, either. It’s not worth saving a penny to go for the place in the not-so-ideal part of town.
Make the Appropriate Healthcare Preparations
Visit a travel clinic or your physician to find out what kinds of vaccinations may be important for your trip. While you’re at it, check and make sure you have travel insurance for your health in case of sickness or injury, and finally, ensure that you are near enough to medical facilities just in case. No one ever expects to have a medical emergency, so don’t let this part slip by because you don’t think it would happen to you.
Don’t Even Bother Bringing Valuables
Just don’t do it. Then, you don’t have to worry about losing those items, one way or the other. If you aren’t sure whether the items you’re choosing to bring along would count as valuables, consider how much it would cost to replace them. If it would cost more than you’re willing to shell out in a scenario in which you have not prior notice, the item is too valuable.
If you have to lug something valuable around, and it’s unavoidable, at least be sure not to let it out of your site. Perhaps you have to bring along your laptop so that you can work remotely while traveling. If that is the case, bring a day bag to carry with you, a laptop bag over your shoulder or something similar. Just don’t mix it in with the rest of your luggage and don’t let it go into checked baggage.
Keep Your Things Locked Up
While you are out and about, exploring your way along exotic cities, leave your items locked up back at the hotel. You don’t need to take every credit card or your passport with you. You don’t need jewelry and a laptop or tablet (unless you are working remotely) or hundreds of dollars in cash on your person. Just take the bare minimum of what you’ll need and leave the rest safe and secure back in your room.
Don’t Trust Anyone Right Away
Making friends while traveling alone is part of what makes it so fun and exciting. That doesn’t mean to trust the first friendly face that comes along. Remember that if you are an obvious tourist wandering around alone, you can also be an obvious target for robbery. Be careful to keep track of your drinks because of this as well. Be cautious and stay on your guard until you feel sure you can trust that person. Once, I stayed alone in a hostel in Spain and the roommate I’d had nearly the entire two weeks tried to rob me two nights before I left. I wouldn’t have expected it, but I also didn’t let my guard down around her at any point. Sometimes, all it takes is time to realize something isn’t quite right.