Many people say that solo traveling is the best way to explore the world. It’s an uninhibited and liberating feeling. It allows you to know yourself better and get out of your comfort zone. You also get to choose your route without compromising with others and depending on their decision. Venturing into the unknown is one of the perks of traveling alone. Plus, you will also learn self-reliance.
While there are advantages of traveling alone, there are also some significant disadvantages. Apart from loneliness and homesickness, it can also cause some safety issues. People who travel alone may encounter unanticipated danger along the way – but many experienced solo travelers say that it’s part of the adventure!
Nevertheless, traveling by your lonesome requires more attention to safety as opposed to going by two’s or in groups. It doesn’t mean to say, though, you should not be attentive when traveling with a companion. But since you have no one else to rely on when you’re out on the road, the need to look after yourself becomes more urgent as you explore off-the-beaten-path corners of the world.
If you want to go out all by yourself, you must understand that there are risks associated with being out of your element. Like all travelers, solo travelers need to have a good plan and make good choices to make their experience fun and memorable (in a good way, of course).
How to stay safe when traveling alone:
1. Do research. A lot of it
The world is a big, big place out there. There is so much you have to know before setting on your solo adventure. While research is not exactly the most fun part (and it can be exhausting), it will help you to prepare for the best – and especially for the worst! Doing diligent research will allow you to choose your destination country wisely.
By doing research, you will gather a wealth of relevant information regarding the country (or countries) that you are about to visit. Knowledge will safeguard you from the many pitfalls that many solo travelers have faced. Getting stranded in an unsafe area if you take the wrong bus or train route, encountering obnoxious individuals, getting cheated over business transactions if you do not know the currency, or contracting an endemic disease if you did not get vaccinated. You can chance upon any of these if you did not do your research beforehand.
2. Buy travel insurance
Flights in and out of the country may take the most significant chunk of your travel expenses, so why would you bother with buying expensive travel insurance? The answer is simple: you’re going to need it the most, especially in your situation. You will never know what will hit you when you’re out on the road, and you have no one to turn to when something unexpected occurs on you. You might as well buy travel insurance as your protective shield against accidents and crime.
3. Join a group tour
Solo traveling is generally considered as safe. But if you have decided to travel solo but at the same time you are still unsure of going on an uncharted path by your lonesome, the ideal move is to join an organized group tour. This is ideal especially for first-time solo travelers.
Yes, you may join a group of complete strangers, but that’s always part of traveling, right? You encounter different people. In this case, though, you will join a gaggle of strangers who will also share your love for traveling and exploring different places. Joining the ranks of other travelers, you will find yourself in good company and make new friends along the way. Not to mention that you will also have the benefit of a tour guide who knows the destination well, so you won’t have to naively wander in unfamiliar places.
4. Do all the major activities during the daylight
And that includes scheduling your arrival. Arriving during the daytime will enable you to find your accommodation more easily. Plus, you will be able to see the surroundings better.
Unless you are going to meet some people that you have known for a while, it is advisable not to go out alone at night. Go out during the day, instead – it is much safer.
5. Make sure that your lodgings are safe
Before leaving your hotel, hostel, inn, condominium, etc. for a day’s tour, make sure that the doors are locked. It is recommended that you book a room near a location where most of the action happens (such as, say, near the stairwell or elevators). Avoid ground floors where there is a possibility of window entry.