Safety Tips for Solo Travelers3 min read
There’s nothing quite like that liberating feeling when you’ve embarked on a trip on your own. Nothing but you and your camera and, of course, a map. And although every traveler should take safety precautions when visiting a new country, those going stag should add a few more things to their list.
So if you’re planning on finally making that solo backpacking trip across Europe or going on a hiking expedition in Africa, here are some tips to guarantee a healthy, safe, and fun excursion.
Before Your Trip
- Research the cultural norms in your destination so you know what’s acceptable (both legally and socially) among the locals. This will not only help you blend in more, but also prevent you from getting into sticky situations.
- Tell others you’re traveling and share your itinerary with them, if you have one pre-planned.
- Buy pickpocket-proof pants and jackets from clothing lines such as Magellan’s or Clever Travel Companion.
- Take a self-defense class. You never know when trouble might find you, and it’s better to be prepared—especially when traveling alone.
- If you’re traveling to a non-English speaking country, learn some phrases in the local language, such as how to ask for help.
- Make two copies of important travel and identification documents (i.e. passport, credit card, driver’s license). One copy will be for you and the other will be for a friend or family member back home.
- Purchase travel health insurance so you’re not forced to navigate another country’s healthcare maze.
- Check to see if there are any travel advisories posted by your governments’ travel website.
During Your Trip
- Don’t tell people you’re traveling alone. It may seem like an obvious rule of thumb, but certain situations might unexpectedly reveal that information. For example, tell someone that’s making you uncomfortable that your travel companion is in the bathroom in order to make it seem as though you’re not alone.
- Research and ask a hotel staff member which local areas are not safe so you know to avoid those places.
- Always stay in well-populated areas.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much can make you vulnerable, and when you’re not among friends, you can end up in a dangerous situation.
- Stay alert and keep your belongings hidden, such as your camera and cell phone.
- Trust your gut. If you meet someone or are in an area that makes you uncomfortable, get away or hop in a cab.
If you have any additional tips that will help keep your fellow readers safe while traveling solo, please share them with us.
Photo by Bjørn Heidenstrøm.