Solo travel is one of the most liberating experiences in the world. One is completely free to do what he or she wants. One feels that sense of independence and freedom. One learns to be okay with being alone and enjoy one’s own company.
I recommend that everyone should at least take one solo-trip in their life. They would learn a great deal about themselves and about the world.
Here are a few tips to keep yourself safe during solo-trips.
- Phone – Always have a functional phone or a sim during your travels. If your carrier will not allow you to operate outside your country, then buy a local sim. It may slightly hurt your budget but you are better safe than sorry. Phone can be used to press the emergency call button or call the police for help.
- Local Police & Helpline Numbers – Always know the numbers for the local police and emergency (ambulance) in case you need any help. If you don’t know the numbers, then you will waste time in searching for those numbers over the internet. Internet doesn’t work fast everywhere and you will waste precious time if you don’t have those numbers saved in your phone.
- Friends & Family – It is a good idea to keep your friends and family informed about your whereabouts and your plans for the day. You can text them and let them know your itinerary for the day or the places that you will be visiting. Doing this will help them to locate you in case anything untoward happens.
- Hotel Reception – Always ask the help desk at the hotels about the safety standards in the city that you are visiting. Are there any areas you should avoid? Are there any precautions you should take? For example – in conservative countries, it is ideal if the women cover themselves up even if they don’t want to, in order to avoid any extra attention. How safe are the cabs in the city? Is uber a safe alternative in the city? How safe is it to explore the city after dark? These are some of the questions you should ask the hotel staff and research on the internet.
- Research – Find out what the city is infamous for. For example – Delhi is infamous for violence against women and Barcelona is infamous for pickpocketing. This will help you to be on your guard. Also find out the best way to travel across the city. Is it best to explore the city on foot or by cab? Is the public transport safe or not? This will prevent you from landing in an unwanted situation. Always know the best way to get from the airport to the city in order to avoid being conned at the airport or risking your life by getting into the wrong kind of cab.
- Strangers – Don’t be too friendly with strangers. Never share the location of your hotel/hostel. Avoid sharing any personal details or background. Avoid telling strangers that you are travelling alone. Avoid taking up the stranger’s offer to escort you back to your hotel. Trust your instinct. Have google maps ready.
- Cash – Never be out of cash. While you don’t want to keep excess cash in your pockets while travelling, you want to have enough to be able to catch the bus, train or cab back to your hotel. Always keep some cash handy.
- Main Routes – Always stick to the main and crowded tourist routes in a city. There is no need to play explorer and land yourself in deep trouble. Some streets are isolated and such streets must be avoided at all costs unless you are accompanied by some friends from the hostel. Research the main routes before your travels and stick to them.
- Alert – Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings and yourself safe. Keep a lookout for anything or anyone suspicious. Avoid anything or anyone that looks suspicious. Don’t look like a lost tourist or a helpless damsel in distress. Dress appropriately (depending on the city you are visiting). Trust your gut feeling. Always look like you know exactly what you are doing.
- Maps – Both Google and paper maps. Keep them handy. Always know exactly where you are going and how much time will it take for you to get back to your hotel. In case google maps doesn’t work, you can resort to the paper maps to get you to your destination.
Plan ahead and be safe! 🙂