Is it possible for a solo traveler to travel the world and stay safe? Absolutely. Even if you steer clear of resorts. Even if you go to developing countries. Even if you don’t speak the local language. Even if you’re traveling alone. It’s absolutely safe so read this list of travel safety tips for solo travelers to give you an idea of how to stay safe.
Here are my top 6 travel safety tips for solo travelers:
1. Research Your Destination Thoroughly Before Your Trip
For many travelers, planning and researching is almost as fun as actually traveling! In between scoping out the most beautiful beaches and coolest cities, take some time to look up safety information for where you are headed.
What are the best neighborhoods and the ones you should avoid? Are there only certain kinds of taxis you should take? Is there a medical center in the city, just in case?
When it comes to your lodging, how are its ratings for safety?
How are you going to get around? What is public transportation like in your destination?
When it comes to activities, especially adventure sports, what are the risks? If you injure yourself, will you be covered by your travel insurance?
This is the stuff to find out in advance, well before your trip begins.
2. Keep Your Valuables On You While in Transit
Well you shouldn’t bring valuables in the first place! You shouldn’t bring anything you would be despondent to lose: expensive jewelry, your birth certificate, and the like.
Today most travelers bring a smartphone at the very least; many bring laptops, tablets, DSLR cameras with pricey lenses, and more. When you consider the costs to replace any one of those items, they definitely count as valuables.
You should have a day bag into which you can fit all of your important items: your passport, your camera,your credit cards, your smartphone, and any other technology, valuable equipment. Never put these items into your general backpack or into the luggage hold on a bus or plane because if you let them out of your sight, there’s a fair chance that they could be taken away from you forever.
3. Don’t Trust People Too Quickly
When you’re traveling in a new destination, and especially when you’re traveling on your own, it can be tempting to join up and find a tribe. Sometimes these tribes turn into lifelong friendships.
But they don’t always. Some con artists have mastered the art of befriending travelers, getting them to leave their valuables unattended, and robbing them before taking off.
When it comes to romance, you might want to crank up the speed when you meet someone outrageously sexy, but that’s not always the best idea. Sex is prevalent on the road, but be sure to protect yourself as much as possible.
If you’re just getting to know someone, don’t trust him or her to guard your expensive electronics while you’re in the bathroom. It’s not rude to be cautious. Take things slowly, and if someone earns your trust, that’s when you depend on them.
4. Watch Your Drinking
This is a tip that doesn’t get said often enough. It’s applicable whether you’re at home or on the road. When you drink alcohol, you dull your senses and slow your reaction time, which in turn makes you vulnerable to others.
That doesn’t mean that you should avoid drinking altogether. Instead, drink slowly. Pace yourself. Eat beforehand or during. Have a glass of water in between each drink (your body will thank you in the morning). Be cognizant of what you are actually drinking, and always take drinks directly from the bartender. Constantly ask yourself, “Do I want to be less in control than I am right now?” and stop if the answer is no.
5. Prepare for the Worst with Documents and Secret Cash
In the event that the worst happens – your purse is stolen, your credit cards are suddenly maxed out, you get sick and need to go to the hospital – it’s good to have a backup plan. For documents, keep front-and-back copies of your credit cards and passport saved to cloud storage like Google Docs or Dropbox.
In addition to the documents, keep a backup cash stash hidden in a secret spot deep inside your luggage, like hidden inside in your socks. In a separate spot, keep a backup credit card. If your purse or day bag is stolen off your body and literally everything is taken away from you, this will provide you with a temporary financial cushion.
6.Keep your phones away from sight
Please keep your smartphones tucked away when you’re walking in low traffic areas where an opportunist could rob them easily. Same for listening to music while you walk – it makes you an easy target.