Travel can be one of the most enriching and transformative experiences of anyone’s life, and it can be especially enjoyable alone. Even though many people’s minds instantly turn to road trips with friends and family vacations when they think about travel, solo adventures can be surprisingly rewarding, and a lot of people opt to head off on trips all by their lonesome every single year.
Indeed, statistics show that the number of solo travelers is on the rise worldwide, and many people who have tried traveling alone say that it can be a particularly exciting experience, as it allows them to feel totally free and truly independent, reliant on nobody but themselves and fully able to forge their own path and make their own choices, each and every day.
When you’re traveling alone, you’re the one who gets to decide absolutely everything. You can pick the destination, decide on the means of transport, choose whatever you want to eat and drink each day, pick the attractions and activities you want to try, and more. If you wake up one day and feel like staying at the hotel or chilling by the beach, it’s totally up to you.
However, while the freedom and personal enrichment of solo travel can be wonderful advantages, it’s important to note that there are some risks to take into account when you’re voyaging alone. This is especially true for women, but it can apply to people of all genders and ages, as solo travelers don’t have anyone to turn to if a dangerous situation arises. Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
Research Your Destination Thoroughly
A safe trip begins in the planning stage. Before you even step foot on a plane or reserve your room at a hotel, you need to take some time to prepare the trip properly, doing all of the necessary research, and getting all the information you need to make a smart decision about your destination.
The internet is a perfect tool for this, filled with useful sites that can help you learn about every country and city across the world. You can look up everything, from crime rates to public transport maps to local activities and attractions, and more.
Keep Valuables Close
When planning a safe and sensible trip, you also need to take a lot of care regarding the items you bring along with you. In an ideal situation, you should be able to leave a lot of your most valuable and precious items at home, but you may need to bring some along with you, like a smartphone or a DSLR camera.
These items need to be kept on your person at all times. Don’t put them in your checked luggage or place them in a bag on the luggage hold of a bus or train. Keep them with you and check on them regularly, as pickpockets and thieves will often target solo travelers.
Don’t Trust Everyone You Meet
One of the big factors of solo travel – which can be seen as both a pro and a con – is the social side. On the one hand, since you’re alone, you may feel a little lonely and more eager to talk to other people, which can help you make a lot of new friends. On the other hand, talking to random strangers can lead to problems.
You shouldn’t feel frightened to talk to other people, especially other travelers who might also be on their own and looking for friends, just like you. However, you need to be careful who you engage with and how you engage with them. Just because someone seems friendly, you shouldn’t be handing them the keys to your hotel room or leaving them alone in a bar with your bags while you visit the bathroom.
Holiday Romances Can Be Risky
Following on from the previous point, solo travelers can sometimes make friends very quickly on the road, and you might let yourself get carried away in the excitement of the moment. Meeting someone fun and interesting on your travels can be exciting, but you have to be very careful when it comes to any kind of vacation romance.
Sometimes, solo travelers can let themselves get swept up in the adventure, doing things they might not normally do and rushing through a whirlwind romance in some exotic destination. But be sure to think carefully and ask yourself if you’d be making those same choices at home. There are lots of risks associated with these unexpected flings, and you might even need priority STD testing if you go too far.
There are many risks associated with travel. You could find yourself in a dangerous destination, for example, where the likelihood of civil unrest is high, or you could have your passport stolen or lose your documents. You could get ill on the road too, or even have a flight delay or cancellation that interferes with your entire schedule.
This is where travel insurance can prove to be so valuable. It helps to protect you against all kinds of unexpected emergencies and undesirable situations, from baggage losses to delayed flights and more. So if you’re wondering whether you really need insurance, the right answer is “Yes!”
Blend in with the Locals
Pickpockets and other criminals aren’t stupid. They have clever, well-developed strategies that help them identify the best possible targets and give them the strongest chance of getting away with their crimes, and one of the easiest ways for them to steal valuables from travelers is by picking them out of a crowd.
If you turn up in Paris wearing a college hoodie from Wisconsin, it’s going to be pretty simple for pickpockets to spot you. Or if you wander along with a fancy camera hanging around your neck, thieves will quickly see you as a prime target. To avoid this, try to blend in with the locals as much as you can, wearing simple clothes and trying to match the style of the native population.
Traveling alone can be a wonderful experience, but there are plenty of dangers to take into account on every trip. Follow these tips to have the best experience, with minimal risks.