Solo travel is on the rise, more and more people are choosing to travel alone, no matter their relationship status (Solotravelerworld, 2019). There is certainly something alluring about travelling by oneself - the excitement and the freedom to make your own travel decisions without having to consider someone else. It’s an empowering and liberating feeling setting off to your next adventure like that. However, travelling alone does come with some risks and safety issues when you don’t have a travel partner who got your back if something goes wrong. In this blog, we will take you through our five travel tips to stay safe on your solo trip whether you’re relatively new to solo travel or are considering one in 2019.
One of the quickest ways your solo holiday can go from a dream-trip to a horror story is by theft, especially at the beginning of your solo trip. Let’s look at one scenario: Imagine yourself arriving at your first destination, you’re filled with excitement and joy. You’re waiting for the cab to bring you to the hostel. You glance over your shoulder and the next second - your bag is gone, with all your money, passport and belongings - every traveller's nightmare. However, there are numerous ways theft can be prevented, or at least ways to minimize the loss:
Luckily, there are technologies that help prevent theft and track your belongings.BagID or instance, let you track your bag from your very own smartphone so you know where it is at all times, just at your fingertips. The Bluetooth technology has a limited range, so once your smartphone loses contact with your bag, an alarm will go off and locate your missing bag - and hopefully, scare off the thief.
Additionally, you should always have two credit cards with you but separated, and some cash in the local currency in a hidden place, like your socks or bra, for instance. Worst case scenario, at least you have enough money for a cab to bring you somewhere safe.
This brings us to our next tip, a dummy wallet. A dummy wallet is a fake wallet you carry with you, maybe with a little cash, an old ID, and some cancelled credit cards. The purpose of this is to fool pocket thieves and muggers, so you have something to give away while keeping your real wallet and your well being intact. It will fool the mugger, and by the time he realises there is nothing worthwhile in there, you will be long gone. Then keep your real credit cards and valuables in a safe place, like in a pocket belt, or under the insole of your shoe.
Whether you have your travel route all planned out, always notify your family, friends or fellow travellers where you are and where you are going in case something happens. If you do have a detailed plan of your itinerary, give it to someone you trust so they can keep track. There are also apps that allow you to share your location with people of your choice, such as Find My Friends, and it’s possible to disable location sharing at any time. However, if you don’t want your privacy validated, it’s also a good idea to let your accommodation provider know where you are going and when you’re supposed to return and to keep their number and address with you.
Before you set off, look up the local emergency number online, or once you arrive, ask the staff at your hotel or guesthouse to write it down for you. Then keep it with you at all times. Alternatively, there are also Apps like TripWhistle, that provided emergency numbers of countries all around the world.
The first thing you should do once you arrive at a new place is to ask the staff at the hostel you are staying which scams to look out for and which areas to avoid. No one knows better which areas to visit and which ones to stay away from than the local people who live there year-around. As a solo traveller, it’s a good idea to join a walking tour at the beginning of your trip to familiarise yourself with city or area you are staying. It’s a great way to get a proper introduction to the place and to ask questions about the local norms and get tips on how to dress and behave from your local guide. And finally, it’s a great way to meet some fellow travellers to explore the area with.
In closing, travelling solo is a fantastic experience. It gives you the freedom to make your own travel decisions, promotes personal growth and independence. You also learn how to trust your intuition and use some good common sense. Travelling solo is not rocket science, it’s simple. As long as you are being smart about it, do some preparations, and follow these simple tips, you are in for a great solo adventure.