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Solo and Safe: How to be a Solo Traveler

WORLDWIDE | Tuesday, 4 January 2011 | Views [2949] | Comments [2]

Traveling solo has many benefits. You can do what you want, when you want, and you have time for reflection and self-discovery. So why don’t more people travel solo? There are two main concerns: feeling lonely, and anxiety about safety. The issue of being lonely was addressed last time in Alone, not Lonely, on the Road. This time I want to write about safety.

Before getting into the tips, let’s establish what needs to be safe. You need to be concerned about: 

1.    Your person

2.    Your documents

3.    Your money

4.    Your stuff... 

... in that order. Your stuff means nothing if the other three priorities are lost. Keep this list in mind as you travel.

The Golden Rule of Safety and 10 Tips

When you travel alone, you are the arbiter of all situations. You decide who, what and where is safe.

This may seem overwhelming but there is one rule, I call it ‘The Golden Rule of Safety’, that will help:

Stay in public places because public is always safer than private.

Sharing a cab with a stranger is not staying in a public place. Going to a private party is not staying in a public place. Such behavior is risky until you know the person well.

Now, here are my 10 safety tips:

1. Do your research and know the risks of your destination before you arrive.

2. Schedule your arrival in a new location early — well before dark.

3. We are trained to be polite and to keep our voices down in public. Before leaving, take some time in your basement or some other appropriate place to yell – loudly. Practice yelling “HELP!”

4. Draw on the support of total strangers – people of YOUR choice – if you feel unsafe.

5. Carry the name and address of the place you’re staying on a card in the local language.

6. Don’t flash expensive items or jewelry.

7. Keep your passport and other important documents secure in a money belt and have backup copies using cloud computing or simply by emailing basic information to yourself in several distinct emails.

8. Be aware of your surroundings, where the exits are, who is with you, landmarks to orient yourself… don’t wear an ipod so that you are and look distracted. It makes you a mark.

9. Stay sober and well rested.

10. Use ATMs to get money and don’t take out large sums at one time. You can also consider prepaid credit cards.

Now, head out and enjoy the benefits of solo travel.

Related Articles:

Inspiring Independence: 12 Reasons to Travel Solo

Solo Travel: 10 Tips to Avoid Feeling Alone

About the Author

Janice Waugh publishes Solo Traveler, the blog for those who travel alone. The blog offers solo travel stories, tips, safety advice and destination ideas as well as a couple of free ebooks including Glad You’re Not Here: a solo traveler’s manifesto. You may also want to join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.

About WorldNomads.com

WorldNomads.com keeps you travelling safely.  Whether you’re off for a long weekend, looking for the ultimate adventure or living the nomadic dream, you’ll stay safe with Travel Insurance you can buy online, anytime, and the latest travel safety advice. We’ll also help you share your journey with a free travel blog, flirt in over 25 languages with our free language guides, have an experience of a lifetime on a travel scholarship and donate to a local community development project through our Footprints program.  

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Have you ever travelled solo? What is your best tip for staying safe on your own? 

Tags: risks, safety, solo travel, threats, travel

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