Heading off for some R & R on your own? Make safety your number one priority!
The joy of travelling solo is that you get to indulge your every whim, stick to your own itinerary and do not have to compromise your plans for anyone else on your journey. It is a great time to read a book, write a book, learn to meditate or to see the world in a different and unique light; but, this freedom does come at a price – safety. Here are some of the top tips out there to make sure that you can enjoy your ‘you time’ without jeopardising your wellbeing.
Much of the safety advice out there is common sense such as:
- Let people know where you are going
- Don’t flash your valuables
- Keep to open, public places
- If a situation doesn’t feel right – get out and get help
Make sure family or friends know your itinerary before you travel, and agree to keep them updated regularly. When you arrive at your destination, it is worthwhile letting hotel or hostel staff or your host what your plans are. Whenever you do go out, only take the money you think you will need. Use ATMs to withdraw cash or consider a pre-paid travel card.
Extra precautions to take in case a situation arises:
- Carry ID
- Carry information about where you are staying in the native language
- Store important phone numbers on your mobile
- Email electronic copies of important documents to yourself
- Make sure you know the local emergency number and how to shout “HELP” in the right language
One of the major drawbacks of travelling solo is that you don’t have anyone to ‘watch your back’. This means that you need to be more vigilant. Beware of pick pockets, over-friendly con artists and try not to look like a tourist as it makes you an easy mark.
To avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, even if it is obvious you are not local:
- Always look at a map in private, or as discretely as possible
- Even if you are lost maintain an air of confidence
- If you do have to ask for directions, generally speaking a woman with children is the safest bet
Whilst you should take care to keep yourself safe – one of the best ways to do so is by getting out there, meeting new people whilst having new experiences. Travelling companions after all can become friends for life.
There are lots of tour operators that specialise in catering for single travellers, which not only means you can avoid paying a single person supplement, but it also means there are more like minded people around you with the same aims and concerns. However, if you have decided to travel independently, pick excursions and activities that attract solitary adventurers such as safari trip and expedition cruises, and haggle for you right to pay for your place and not get penalised with extra charges.