While traveling the world on your own is a great adventure nobody should have to miss out on, the risk factor tends to put a lot of people off. When you’re traveling alone, you’re also a bit more vulnerable in terms of both being mugged and targeted by unpleasant people – and who do you turn to when you decide to set off all by yourself?
There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of fear but, as long as you follow your common sense and a few extra safety tips, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy yourself on a solo trip. A lot of people have done it before you, after all, and they have shared their expert tips on how to stay a bit safer while traveling.
Nothing is a guarantee against uncomfortable situations, of course, but it may make it a bit easier to find the confidence you need to enjoy your adventure. Here is a handful of great tips to keep in mind when you load your backpack onto your back so that you can set off without feeling unsafe.
#1 – Always let your friends and family know
Traveling alone means that you have a lot of friends and family back home who would love an update once in a while. Try not to just send them a message once a week, though, and promise yourself as well as them that you will let them know whenever you travel to a new backpacker’s hostel or to another city.
It’s a good idea to mention this to them before leaving as well, by the way, so that they can remind you in case you get a bit lazy and start to feel like home is so very far away when you’re having a good time.
You never know if something should happen at the next place you travel to and, if you only gave them an update once a week, they will only have the hostel you stayed at a week ago to go by. Tell yourself to be a good son or daughter instead and keep your parents, above all, updated or another family member.
They will be quite grateful for this as well, though, and it will make it a bit easier for them to relax while you’re off enjoying your solo adventure.
It’s a good idea to go over your accommodations together with your family, by the way, and a lot of applications require that you provide them with this as well as a flight reservation for a visa, in general. That way, both the visa center and your family will know exactly where you’re landing and where you’re staying so try to stick to your plan.
#2 – Always let the staff know if you’re uncomfortable
The people working at the restaurants, bars, and hostels you’re going to visit are there to help you – and they probably have experience in dealing with unpleasant people as well. While we tend to hear about uncomfortable or downright unpleasant situations, it’s difficult to speak up when we find ourselves in one – and, sometimes, it’s easier to just tell ourselves we’re overreacting.
Letting the people around you know about this is alpha omega to staying safe while traveling. Turn to the staff right away and make arrangements for changing the room you’re staying in, for example, if you find yourself sharing a dorm at a hostel with someone who seems kind of dodgy. They will be able to take care of this without making any fuss and you can sleep a bit easier at night.
Try to keep the same mentality if you’re out on the town with a bunch of new people and find that someone is bothering you. While you will meet both nice and unpleasant people wherever you go, the majority will be happy to help you out if you need to get away from someone so don’t try to handle the situation on your own.
You can have a look at this article if you need some more tips on the topic before you head off, by the way.
#3 – Be aware when you’re out and about
If you have never been on a solo adventure before, you will probably stay naturally alert when you’re out and about on your own. When nobody is there to pay attention for you, it’s particularly important to keep an extra hand on your bags and notice it if somebody should happen to stick their hand into your purse – but there are other ways to stay alert as well.
Not looking confused and out of place is also going to help you a lot when you have to navigate the streets on your own. Criminals tend to target those who seem a bit lost and, particularly by the ATM, it is important that you try to seem confident even if you’re not.
It is normal to get a bit lost sometimes, though, and not always feel as confident when you’re in a new place but you can always get help from somebody else who is not a random stranger in the streets. Head into the bank, for example, if you’re struggling with that ATM instead of accepting the help of a stranger – or pop into a shop quickly if you’re lost.
Asking for help, on the other hand, is a bit different from being approached as criminals are known for being on the lookout for confused tourists, trying to withdraw their money and fumbling around with their wallet and everything else. Look smart and confident, know who to ask for help, and you’re making your chances of being robbed a bit smaller.
#4 – Use the safe at the hotel
Wherever you are staying, there will be someplace to keep your most valuable things a bit safer. This is important to keep in mind before you head out to explore the town on your own as you can feel slightly more confident when you’re not carrying your passport and your expensive laptop at the same time. Just ask one of the people working there if they have access to a safe and they should be happy to help you.
It just makes it a lot easier to stay safe and comfortable while enjoying your time off – and you can return to your friends and family when you’re done, still having all of your belongings with you.