We could all do with a break now and then, but there always seem to be something in the way. One of the most common excuses people give for not traveling is that they don’t have anyone to go with them. Thankfully, you can just as easily head off on your own. Solo travel is fun, freeing, and one of the best ways to see the world. Unfortunately, many people avoid traveling alone out of fear for their safety. With that in mind, here are four ways you can stay safe traveling solo. Yes, it is fun to travel with someone, but when you travel solo, it is a different kind of freedom. You can plan your own time, you don’t have to be worried about being late, you can see the places you wanna see. There is no one you have to answer to.
1. Book The Right Accommodation
Heading out into the world alone will always be a little scary, but the one place that you should be able to relax is where you rest your head. Most people assume that solo travelers always stay in hostels, but that doesn’t mean that you need to. I prefer CouchSurfing experiences. This way I have met all kinds of amazing people – Jamaican musicians, Columbian living in Belgium, a banker who loves to meet travelers and teach them how to cook Belgium national dish. You never hear the same story twice. The world once again turns into an open book and people are its’ pages. Although you can meet like-minded individuals and other travellers in these places, you might not feel safe there. If this is the case for you, then book a hotel room instead. This way, you always have somewhere private to retreat to.
2. Walk Like A Local
When you travel abroad, just being a tourist can put a target on your back. The reason for this is that con artists, thieves, and other crooks assume that travelers always carry money and other valuables around with them. Even though you might be a hitchhiker with no money, thieves don’t know that. Because of this, you must try to blend in as much as possible. Pay attention to how locals walk, where do they go, how do they navigate. It might not keep all the dangerous people away from you, but it is indeed fun. It makes you feel like a local giving you this special feeling that you belong. You should also avoid wandering around with your head in a map or your phone. Everyone is on their phones these days- don’t be one of them! Instead, keep your head up high and walk with purpose. I do truly believe that traveling alone is no more dangerous than walking alone in your hometown, but in your home town you know each corner and you also know which street is better to be avoided.
3. Prepare For Any Emergency
The world can be a dangerous place, whether you’re alone or with a huge group of people. Keeping that in mind, you must prepare for as many different kinds of emergencies as you can. Get yourself an EVAK card (applicable to Europeans). Read about the country you are visiting beforehand. Reading a prepping guide also can help you to be ready for everything. You can buy travel insurance to protect you if you lose your bags or get injured. You should also learn self-defense and invest in safety devices, just in case of an attack. You can’t prevent all bad situations, but you can make the best of them. With this, I don’t mean that you have to be paranoid about every little thing. I have never bought travel insurance. Or car insurance for that matter. Life is good. Most of the people are nice. As long as you keep your common sense alert, you will be fine.
4. Hide Your Valuables Away
Leaving all of your valuables at home simply isn’t an option these days. After all, you may not have expensive jewelry or lots of money, but you will need to carry your phone, some cash, and maybe even a laptop. And a camera, if you are a photographer or a photo enthusiast. You will also need to keep your ID with you. To make sure that you don’t lose everything in the event of a mugging or robbery, you should spread your valuables out and hide some of them away. Many people carry fake wallets and phones for such situations. I used to walk around with 2 phones for 5 years. One was my smartphone and the second one was a spare old-school Nokia phone. And it really made me feel safer. Not only while traveling, but also on a daily basis. And the battery life for such a phone is a week or so – you won’t be left without any communication possibilities once your smartphone dies.
5. Meet locals
This is my top-one point. All of my favorite travel experiences have been when I either stay at the CouchSurfing or visit friends. Because locals know what’s what. They know the right places, the underground cafes/bars and every beautiful place you could never ever find following a travel guide. They show you where to eat cheap but delicious food and they give you a couch to sleep on. So if you are planning to go on a trip solo, get you communication shoes on, and go meet some locals!
Traveling solo can definitely be scary, but it isn’t as dangerous as most people imagine. As long as you are sensible, look out for yourself, and remember the advice above, there’s no reason why your trip can’t be safe and fun.
Go! It is time!
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