Solo travel has become something of a trend in recent years, as people head out around the globe to enjoy the sights and sounds of international destinations, on their own terms, or even embark on work-related travel. However, along with the sense of freedom and liberation this can bring as a traveller, it’s also important to be smart and stay safe. These are a few key tips for the adventurous individual traveller.
Prior Preparation Prevents…
All kinds of potential problems. Do your homework before you travel by researching the destinations you’re going to visit at sites such as Tripadvisor, not only because is this a fun way to get ready for your adventure, but because it will provide you with important knowledge about local customs and etiquette in the countries you’re visiting. Find out about dressing appropriately to blend in, get to know the safest public transport options, learn about places to avoid, and much more.
Likewise, don’t forget to check Department of State Travel Advisories if you’re a US citizen, UK Government Foreign Travel Advice if you’re British, or Travel Advice and Advisories for Canadians, because they can provide important and valuable information about your destination. This is particularly useful when departing for locations where civil unrest or other potential dangers are a factor you need to consider, so they can be avoided whenever possible.
Keep Your Phone Charged and Stay Connected
Travelling without our smartphone or tablet seems impossible to imagine these days. Our mobile devices aren’t just handy for playing online games to pass the time during long journeys, or for storing the many photos of our adventures. They’re also a vital tool for solo travellers overseas to keep in touch with friends and family back home – not to mention being a handy way to access online maps and news about our destinations when we arrive.
Make sure to check roaming costs and capabilities in advance, buy or rent a second phone as a backup, or get an international SIM card if your device will take it. Always keep your device fully charged before heading out on trips and have a USB charger handy. You may also want to invest in a battery bank, too.
Let People Know Where You’re Going
This is of particular importance for the solo traveller. Let friends and family know your travel plans and daily schedule if possible, then arrange to check in regularly with them. This doesn’t just mean posting photos on Facebook or Instagram, because sending an email, text message, or making a quick call can be more effective and personal.
Get to know the hotel or hostel proprietor and staff if you’re heading out on any lengthy trips alone, especially to remote or wilderness destinations, along with information about the travel route and when you’re expected to return. Consider making sure people you know – or get to know and can trust – are fully aware of your travel itinerary before you depart.
Make Sure Valuables Stay Safe
There’s no need to take everything with you when heading out into the big wide world. Always make sure your passport is in a safe location, especially when heading out and about. Leave the passport itself in your hotel or hostel safe, if available, or with the concierge in safe storage. Carry a photocopy of the passport data page instead. Leaving a copy at home with someone is also a good idea.
Only take essentials with you when travelling anywhere and keep them safe about your person. Split things up a little by keeping a little cash in your wallet or purse, with extra money and cards in a money pouch or inside pocket, somewhere they can’t easily be grabbed. Make sure to keep identification and travel documents separately from your cash and cards.
We hope you find the above tips useful. Although nobody wants to find themselves in an unsafe situation when traveling, it always helps to be prepared, and it means that should something unpleasant happen, you can deal with it.