When you think of setting off on an adventure in a new place, do you think about exploring with your best pals or with your family? While it’s typical to travel with at least one other person, traveling alone isn’t a bad idea, as long as you’re smart about it. In case this is your first time heading out alone, here are some tips for staying safe while traveling solo.
Don’t Be a Walking American Billboard
Pixabay / Unsplash
Nothing screams “Rob me!” like a confused tourist standing in the middle of a crowded street with a map clutched tightly in his hands. Don’t be that guy. Make an effort to plan your route ahead of time. If you get turned around somehow, go into a coffee shop or café to look at your map or ask an employee in one of the local businesses for directions.
Do Play Tricks With Your Money
Pixabay / Alexis
There’s no reason to carry all of your cash and credit cards on you each time you leave your room. Lock them in a safe in your hotel or hostel where you know they’re secure. You should also keep your money separate. Put some cash in your wallet, a credit card in a money clip under your shirt, and leave some in your room. If you lose one, you’ll have the others as backup.
Get Crazy, But Not Drunk-Dial-That-Guy-You-Just-Met-in-a-Bar Crazy
Pixapay / Holdosi
It’s important to keep your wits about you when traveling, especially on your own. That means no getting sloppy drunk and waking up next to a garbage can in random cities. You definitely don’t want to get so inebriated you’re going home with a guy or girl who doesn’t speak the same language. That could either turn into an extremely awkward night of pillow talk or be a horrible setup ending with you broke and deserted.
Always Assume You’re Forgetting Something
Pixabay / Jarmoluk
Whether you’re eating in a restaurant or getting off a train, always check your surroundings for your valuables. Losing your phone or wallet in your own country is bad enough, but just try and see how easy it is to replace them in a place where you can only speak a handful of words. Trust us, you don’t want to have to do that.
Don’t Aim for a Miss (or Mr.) Congeniality Award
Pixabay / skeeze
Meeting new people and making friends is one of the best parts of traveling. It’s also a good way to get your stuff stolen if you’re a horrible judge of character. People won’t come with nametags announcing their positions as professional thieves, as awesome as that would be, so you’re going to have to be wary of whom you hang with. If they approach you in the street at random, be cautious of their intentions.
Do Turn Your Room Into an Impenetrable Fortress
Pixabay / Davidawsp
Okay, you don’t need to load a cannon into your hotel room and build a buttress against your door, but you should take precautions to keep your room safe. Simple tricks like leaving the TV and lights on can give the illusion you’re there when you’re not. Secure the windows and consider using a rubber doorstop while you sleep at night. There’s little chance someone is going to come in and take you, but simple safety measures will save more time than having to call in Liam Neeson to rescue you. The guy’s pretty busy, as is.
The best advice you can follow when it comes to staying safe while traveling alone is to trust your instincts. If something feels off, whether it be a sketchy local or a scary alley you don’t want to walk down, it’s okay to turn around and go the other way. You’ll find many countries are not much different in terms of safety, and if you use the same judgment you follow at home, you’ll be just fine during your solo travels.
Sarah Pike is a freelancer, college writing instructor, and wanderlust sufferer. When she's not writing, teaching, or traveling, she's probably binge-watching RomComs and dreaming up her next trip. She also enjoys following far too many celebrities than she should on Instagram. You can find Sarah on Twitter at @sarahzpike.
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