People who travel alone describe the experience as liberating and free. You get to do whatever you want to do, go wherever you want to go, eat whatever and whenever you want to eat and answer to no one. As great as all of that sounds, traveling alone does have a couple cons, one big one being safety. Read on for some ways to practice safety while you are traveling solo.
Some people decide to totally disconnect when they take a vacation. A solo vacation might not be the best time to do that. Make sure you have your phone and internet access available in case of emergency. The little extra cost is definitely worth it.
Use social media but use it sparingly
Using social media to document big events on your trip is a great way to keep friends and family back home updated on your whereabouts (and brag a little about all of the fun you are having!). But ‘checking in’ at each and every place you go can give someone all of the information they need to follow you. Don’t be afraid to use social media, just use it sparingly.
Keep identification and money in multiple places
Whenever you leave your hotel or hostel, ensure you have some cash and your identification. But, also keep money and a form of ID back at the hotel (locked up) and maybe in a hidden money belt as well. Ensuring you never have too much cash on you at once and making sure you have multiple forms of ID will help to minimize the blow if anything getting stolen.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with friends or family
Make a couple copies of your itinerary, your contact information and information about hotels or hostels you are staying at. Leave it with friends and family so they know your whereabouts and how to contact you in case of an emergency.
Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
Before you leave, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service available to all U.S. citizens. Enrolling in the program allows you to register your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy and receive details from them regarding safety conditions at your destination. It also helps you get in touch with the Embassy in case of an emergency and allows friends and family to quickly get in touch with you if needed.
Make sure you research ahead of time to see if the water is safe to drink, if there are any immunizations that are helpful to have, if any bugs are poisonous in the area, etc. Also, although it may be tempting, don’t use this time to try out new foods that you could be allergic to. A hospital trip is a little bit trickier and much scarier when you are traveling alone.
Trust your instincts
If you don’t feel safe, don’t do it. Trust your instincts and follow the same protocol you would at home.
Try to fit in
Research the types of clothing the locals wear and try to mimic it. Try to avoid walking around with your head in a map or a tourist guide. Hang out at local coffee shops or restaurants. The more you can do to fit in with the locals, the better.
Skip the alcohol
Stay away from large amounts of alcohol, especially mixed drinks which can be easily tampered with. If you are going to have a couple drinks, stick to beer and wine and have the bartender open the bottle in front of you.
How do you stay safe when traveling alone?
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