Traveling solo, whether for work or a vacation getaway, can be stressful. There’s much to remember and to do. From planning, packing, traveling, and enjoying the trip. No matter how well you thought out your trip, you must take precautions against risks and dangers like harassment and theft. As a solo traveler, you’re an easy target. Practice these 5 pointers to help you stay safe during your travels by land, air, or sea.
1. Embrace technology
Thankfully, today’s technologies provide us with conveniences and “upgrades” to do our daily activities more efficiently and effectively. The same goes when traveling. There are many travel safety apps to help make your travels organized, fun, and most importantly safe. Some examples include GPS, weather tracker, translators, travel guides, crime compass, travel panic button, and even apps which monitor your car.
As much as technology can help forewarn you of dangers, it can attract those you are trying to avoid. Don’t be glued to your smartphone. Always be aware of your surroundings. Set up your travel apps, plan your commute, check the weather, and organize your agenda in advance. Wireless headphones come in handy when you need to listen to GPS directions, make a call, or listen to a playlist. Just remember to use only one earbud!
2. Stay in touch
Keeping in touch with your family and friends is imperative when you travel. Use social media check-ins to let them know your whereabouts. You can have fun with it. Take pictures of where you’ve been and share stories about your recent adventures. Your loved ones will enjoy your social feed plus it’ll give them peace of mind.
Make digital copies of your ID, passport, and travel itineraries. Store a copy in your smartphone and a cloud drive that you have access to. Give them to your family members and emergency contacts. In case you don’t have Internet access, print out copies and protect them in a plastic ziplock bag stored inside your locked luggage or bag. Be sure to share information like hotel and license plate numbers in the event you’re traveling by car whether it’s your own or a rental.
3. Travel light
When you’re traveling alone, the last thing you want to do is to lug around a bunch of suitcases. It’s a red flag screaming, “I’m a tourist!”. Lose the excess and travel light. Use a messenger, backpack, or a fanny pack. The less you carry, the more mobile you’ll be. Plus, you’ll know where all your possessions are at all times.
4. Stick to crowded, popular areas
We all want to venture off to the roads less traveled. However, when you’re solo, it might not be a good idea. Although it’s not as exciting, stick to key landmarks, populated, and more touristy areas. A thief will try less likely strike in a place where there are many witnesses. Save the hidden, far out gems for when you’re with a group, friend, or partner. That way, you’ll have strength in numbers.
5. Blend in
The last thing you want to do when traveling alone is to look like a tourist. Wear clothes that resemble the locals. Avoid looking at your phone or map while in public areas. If you need to seek advice of your whereabouts, go to a hotel concierge or an information booth. Never ask strangers for directions. It will give you away.
Traveling solo is a self-fulfilling experience when done with caution. Always remember to trust your instincts. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out to your family and friends when you need help. Keep your guard up, but try not be closed off. It may not sit well with the locals. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun!
Rachel is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. She enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing her experiences with the world. In her free time, you can find her planning her next trip, running with her dogs, or heading to the closest farmers’ market. She currently writes on behalf of Porsche Atlanta Perimeter. Follow her travels on social media!