Traveling alone is one of the most exciting adventures you can set out on! As any avid travel enthusiast would tell you – There are very few experiences that surpass the one where you get to explore a foreign destination at your own pace, absorb in the new surroundings and meet people from all walks of life.
As exciting as a solo trip abroad may be, you will often hear about safety being a top concern among travelers. So we’ve compiled a 5-point checklist specifically for solo travelers, that will ensure you make the most of your holiday without compromising on safety.
Pick the right destination & plan your stay
Certain countries and cities are more popular among families and couples, while others may appeal more to single travelers and backpackers. Pick a destination carefully based on your budget and interests, but also consider safety and connectivity since you’re going to be traveling alone.
When it comes to single travelers, hostels, guesthouses or family-run bed and breakfast accommodations are the more popular choice, vis-à-vis big hotel chains. These are definitely easier on the pocket, since you’re not paying a premium for hotel rooms that usually accommodate two guests. And as added bonus, you can better interact with locals and other like-minded solo travelers.
[Related: Sorting out your pocket money abroad]
Pack smart and travel light
Be sure to pack all your essentials in the carry-on baggage, so in case your check-in luggage gets delayed or lost, you at least have all the basic items you need at hand. If you’re carrying cash, you can split it into smaller bundles and stash them in different spots. Similarly, if you have two or more credit cards, pack them separately. It’s also important to pack light especially on solo trips, since you should be able to easily manage and lug around your luggage on your own.
Make travel insurance your ally
Whether you’re traveling solo or not, there’s no denying the importance of having travel insurance. So much could go wrong on your trip abroad – From missed flights, lost baggage to travel-related injuries and serious medical issues. Be sure to pick a travel insurance policy that covers you for a wide range of risks and extends to cover adventure sports in case you’re planning to indulge in such activities. Also, make sure you’re aware of the travel and health insurance requirements for visiting your chosen destination beforehand.
Think ahead, be aware, stay safe
Most solo travelers worry about their safety, since they are more vulnerable traveling alone rather than in a group. There’s the risk of being scammed, stolen from or even worse. You’ve probably heard this phrase before – “There’s safety in numbers”. But there are plenty of smart ways to keep yourself safe and out of trouble when traveling by yourself.
Always be aware of your surroundings, and carry around a map to help you get oriented. Stay away from dark alleys, and ask the hotel staff, concierge or locals about the spots to avoid. Avoid unwanted attention by not flashing around cash, jewelry, expensive electronics and such. If you’re heading out, especially at night, you can inform the hotel staff or hostel manager of your whereabouts by leaving a note.
Stay connected with friends & family
It is advisable that you stay connected with your family and close friends back home, when going on a solo trip. In case your hotel, guesthouse or hostel does not offer WiFi connectivity, make sure you find a reliable internet cafe close to where you’re staying. Keep your family informed of your whereabouts, and it would be even better if you can leave a copy of your planned itinerary with them before traveling. You can also carry a spare phone and buy a local sim card when you arrive at your destination, or buy an international calling card before you depart.
And above all else… Don’t forget to have fun, soak in the local culture and make some great memories!