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How to stay safe while travelling solo 

Travelling and exploring is one of the most fun and energizing experiences one can have. It is very hard to find a person who doesn’t like to travel. However, many people will admit that they are uncomfortable travelling alone.  

Unfortunately, the world is not safe, especially when you are in a foreign land. While some are out to scam you for some money, some people may mean harm to you too. Therefore, it is key that one makes sure they take all necessary precautions to avoid any harm while travelling alone. 

Share your travel details: 

Make all your bookings before leaving for your journey. Get flights such that you arrive at your destination in broad daylight. Book a return flight which makes sure your journey to the airport is during the day. If you plan to travel between cities at your destination then it is wise to book those flights alongside your main flight too.  

Find hotels in safe and well-populated areas. Make sure to book a ride from the airport to your hotel as you may be clueless when you land. Share all these details with a few people you can unconditionally trust such as a family member, best friend, parent, or sibling.  

Get a sim card as soon as you land: 

Most airports in the world sell local sim cards. While these may often be overpriced, it is better to spend a few extra bucks than to wander around in an unknown city looking for a sim card. Make sure you carry enough currency (local to the destination) to buy a sim card and spend a whole day. You can find money exchangers at the airport and you can get this process done while waiting for your flight.  

When you arrive, try to get a package that allows you to make international calls and use the internet. Carry out your research before you leave to waste minimal time at the airport and prevent being charged unfair prices. 

Keep your belongings safe: 

Purchase a travel backpack to carry all of your essentials when you are travelling. Try to get a waterproof and high-quality bag. Also, make sure to get a few of the self-defence and safety tools listed below: 

  • Door lock: a mechanical lock that fits into your hotel door to make sure nobody can open it, even with a master key! 
  • Emergency whistle 
  • Pepper spray 
  • Taser 
  • Pocket knife 

Your backpack should also carry all your documents such as a passport and other identification documents. Make sure to carry at least two high capacity power banks on your trip to make sure your phone never runs out of juice. Routinely charge your power banks to ensure they are always available for use.  

Once you are at the hotel keep your documents in the safe. Before leaving for your trip scan and email your documents to yourself or keep them saved on cloud storage. In case your devices malfunction you can still access your crucial documents.  

If you use prescription glasses or other such devices like hearing aids etc. then make sure you are carrying at least one extra piece. Also, make sure to pack your routine medications alongside other generic medications that you may need such as painkillers or antacids. 

Share your live location: 

Thanks to technological developments you can share your location with your family members and loved ones. Look for an application that will routinely update family members of your location. This is one of the main reasons having power banks and uninterrupted internet access is needed on a trip. If you know someone who lives in the country you are visiting then share your location with them too and ask them to regularly keep track of it. 

Prepare for every scenario: 

When you are leaving your hotel to visit another area, research the nearby hospitals and police stations. Check if there are any infamous areas that you should avoid visiting. Make sure to never post on social media when you are visiting a place, wait till the end of the day to do so. You never know if someone is maliciously keeping track of your movements.   

Blend in with the locals: 

There may be times when standing out may be harmful to you. The last thing you want to do is violate local cultural norms if you are visiting a conservative society e.g. South Asia. Make sure to do your research regarding the dressing norms at your destination. Furthermore, when walking in public try not to make it evident that you aren’t a local.  

Always have earphones plugged in and if you need directions simply use a navigation app as it will give you audio directions too. Wearing a mask will further help you blend in alongside protecting you from Covid and other airborne viruses. Try to learn the basics of the local language if there is a language barrier. These basics include greeting, inquiring about prices, getting directions etc. 

Get a travel guide: 

If you plan to go and explore cities you probably don’t need this. But if you are planning a mountain trip or any other adventure then hiring a professional travel guide from a well-reputed source is your best bet for safety and ease.  

Be responsible: 

Avoid going out at night alone and eat at your hotel if possible. If you plan to have drinks make sure you don’t have too much, the last thing you want to do is be drunk in an unknown place. We would recommend you avoid drinking and other activities that may leave you vulnerable. 

Take a smaller trip: 

Before taking your first solo international trip try to take a smaller solo trip back home. Go to a different city and spend a few days there. This way you won’t have any communication issues, language barriers, or safety concerns related to personal documents and belongings. Taking a road trip can be an even better test of your abilities as a solo traveller as there are other things to manage. 

  

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