Travelling opens you up to a new world of experiences, tastes and people. This is why the thought of travelling alone can be equally exciting and daunting as on one hand, you’re thrilled by the lure of new experiences and on the other hand anxious about your safety.
Preparation, some common sense along with some of the safety tips listed below should help you on your solo journey:
Safety begins before you leave. Before you travel to a place you are not familiar with, do extensive research to get yourself informed about the security situation, the culture, the food, the currency as well as the laws.
This knowledge would protect you from the danger of misinformation, unsavoury individuals who might want to take advantage of your ignorance, and/or naively wandering into an unsafe area. That knowledge would also help you note the cultural nuances.
Arrive during the day
It is best to arrive at an unfamiliar place during daylight. The first port of call for most travellers is the hotel, hostel or the accommodation in which they plan on staying. It is best to arrive there when you can easily see how it is in daylight, so that, should you decide on the spot that it is unsafe, you would be able to move around before it gets too dark.
Ensure your accommodation is safe
Make enquiries about the hotel before reserving a room. And if possible, ensure that your room isn’t on the ground floors where window entry is possible. If you can, choose an accommodation that has unmarked ‘swipe cards’ rather than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won’t know which room to rob.
Don’t answer the door if you’re not expecting anyone. Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans, just in case. Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.
If you make acquaintance while on your trip and you arrange for a meeting, don’t ask them to come up to your room. Wait and meet with them in the lobby.
Share your itinerary
Share a copy of your itinerary with a family member or a friend and always make sure you check-in and update them. If you leave your hotel for somewhere, let them know when you’re expecting to get back.
You’re exploring, we know but try not to act like the typical tourist. Unwary tourists can make easy targets for thieves because they stand out in a crowd, are unused to their surroundings, and are generally carrying money, credit cards and valuables like cameras.
Trust your intuition
If you ever have that feeling that where you are is unsafe, find a way to get out of there, whether it’s a bar, park or a hostel.
Carry good identification
Make sure to always carry with you a proper means of identification. If you choose to wear a money belt, use it for storage and not as a purse. Constantly reaching under your shirt for money draws attention to it and defeats the purpose. Instead, keep your passport, extra stores of money, and other important documents tucked away, and use a theft-resistant bag or purse for carrying daily spending money.