I travel alone many time and have found it is one of the greatest experiences in life. You want to see so many places and meet so many people in a lifetime… you can’t always wait for your friends or partner to find the time and will to go with you. Sometimes, you just have to make that huge step forward like I did and pack your suitcase and go see the world. Adventure. Alone!
When you travel alone, you have freedom to do whatever you want. You won’t negotiate what restaurant to go to, how much walking to do, and when to wake up in the morning. You just go with the flow. The only problem is safety. How do you protect yourself and your belongings when you travel without company? We have 15 tips for you to follow.
#1 Pack Clothes with Lots of Pockets
The last thing you want is to worry about your money and documents all the time. If you carry them in a bag, they are not safe. Get special clothes with tons of hidden pockets. We’re not talking about the usual cargo pants or shorts with pockets. You need clothes with pockets in unusual places, which you can find in specialized stores for travelers.
#2 Be Prepared for Document Issues
Before you leave, make copies of your passport, credit card, driver’s license, ATM card, and all other important documents you have with you. It’s important to leave one copy of each document with someone you trust at home, and hide the other copies in a safe space in your bag. Don’t put them together with the originals!
If you lose or someone steals the documents, these copies will be very valuable.
#3 If You Really Need a Bag, Carry It Properly
Don’t opt for a messy bag where you put everything in a single compartment. Get a cross body bag, so a thief won’t be able to take it easily. The bag should rest at the front of your body, so you’ll always keep an eye on it. Backpacks are not the safest choice.
#4 Learn Some Self-Defense Moves
Lone tourists are a common target. You don’t want to be an easy target. Sign up for a course that gives you self-defense skills. You’ll feel much more confident when you know you can stand up for yourself in dangerous situations.
#5 Don’t Leave Valuable Stuff Casually in the Hotel Room
Don’t assume you can leave your valuables lying around the room. The hotel staff will enter that room while you’re gone. Who knows what can happen? You need a safe, so you’ll make sure no one will have access to your money, credit cards, and passport.
#6 Don’t Tell You’re Traveling Alone
When you meet new people, you feel the need to share things, so you’ll get closer and more comfortable faster. Do not share the information that you’re traveling alone with everyone you meet. You don’t want them to assume you’re vulnerable. If strangers ask you who you’re traveling with right away, tell them you’re with a partner or friends.
#7 Merge with the Locals
Don’t look like a tourist! When you’re away from the hotel, don’t make your confusion obvious by taking out maps and asking for directions in panic. Stay calm and merge with the locals. They can give you directions, but you have to be calm and confident when asking.
#8 Don’t Drink Too Much!
The last thing you need when traveling alone is getting too drank. That’s a nice way to make yourself an easy target for theft or something else you don’t want to happen. Limit your alcohol consumption and don’t even think about doing drugs.
#9 Learn Some Words and Phrases in the Local Language
Before you head off for the trip, make an effort to learn useful phrases in the local language. You can’t expect everyone to know English. If you know how to order food and how to ask for the nearest bathroom or ATM, you’ll make your life much easier.
#10 Trust Your Instincts
No one is saying you should stay completely isolated when you travel alone. In fact, you should be meeting people. However, if your instincts tell you that someone looks shady, trust yourself and get away. If something is wrong with the hotel and you feel unsafe there, find another place to stay. Learn how to listen to your instincts; they can keep you safe.
#11 Don’t Pack Stuff You’re Personally Attached to
You have a rare first edition of your favorite book and you really want to take it with you? Don’t! You’re personally attached to a watch or a piece of jewelry you got from your grandparents? Don’t bring it with you. When you’re packing things, think: how would you feel if you lost them? If your answer is “devastated,” then don’t take them with you.
#12 Ask the Hotel Staff for Tips
As soon as you check into the hotel, you can ask a staff member to warn you about local places that are not safe, and recommend good bars, restaurants, and neighborhoods to explore. Let them draw you a map and get informed how you can get to those places with public transport.
#13 Know the Hotel’s Name and Address
It’s easy to get lost when you’re exploring an unknown city all by yourself. In such case, it’s important to know where you need to go. If you have the hotel’s business card with you, you won’t have to try speaking in the local language; you’ll just give it to the cab driver and they will know where to take you. However, it’s still important to memorize the address, just in case you lose the card.
#14 Be Aware of the Local Customs
In some countries, it’s not okay to touch food with your left hand. Other cultures find it offensive when you chew a gum. It’s important to be aware of the local culture and its traditions. Don’t judge those traditions and don’t try to challenge them under any circumstances. Respect them!
#15 Stay Focused!
It’s easy to get distracted by something interesting going on around you. In such cases, you forget about keeping an eye on your bag. Thieves can use that situation in ways you don’t even expect.
Don’t be scared! Traveling alone is possible and awesome. You just need to be more focused and careful.