Traveling alone has become more and more popular over recent decades. The freedom to do as you like, meet new people, take in new cultures, and explore a personal journey has attracted many to the idea of traveling alone at least once in a lifetime. For many the experience is so rich, they do it often.
But, before traveling alone it’s wise to consider the dangers in the world and even wiser to prepare for them. Read on for tips on traveling alone and staying safe so you can enjoy the experience without a hitch.
10 Things to Know Before Traveling Alone for the First Time
Traveling alone allows people to explore other countries, cities, and other destinations where they can experience different environments and cultures. Considering all the adventurous activities and cuisines you get to enjoy, you may forget about your safety.
While you may assume that your travel destination is safe, being extra careful doesn’t hurt.
Whether traveling alone or with others, you may encounter minor health issues, but knowing the potential hazards you may face will help you prevent them. If you’re visiting remote areas, remember that access to sophisticated medical services is challenging.
If you suffered an injury on vacation or contracted a disease that needs special medical attention, the responsibility would fall on the expedition team. While travel destinations may have similar safety hazards, others have unique ones.
This is why you should never travel unprepared. Below are some crucial travel safety tips to consider when traveling alone.
Conduct Thorough Research
Knowing your destination before you get there is the first rule of safety when traveling alone. Besides helping you know the best places to visit, researching your destination beforehand gives you an idea of the areas to avoid to ensure your safety.
It also gives you insights on any vaccinations you may need or medical precautions required. Additionally, check any travel advisories regarding your destination to determine if you should reconsider traveling, exercise increased caution, not to travel, or exercise normal caution.
Avoid ignoring these advisories because these warnings may include kidnapping, terrorism, armed conflict, and civil unrest. Research on how to get help if you suffered an injury on vacation, contracted a tropical disease or sustained any other health complications.
Beware of Common Travel Scams
In almost every area you travel to, you’ll find scammers ready to reap your hard-earned money and everything valuable you may have on you. Learning about these travel scams helps you devise better ways to protect yourself when traveling alone.
Some of them may include adding sedative drugs into your drink or food, people posing as tour guides and offering to show you around, others posing as police officers to check you for counterfeit bills, using children for sympathy, a local who knows about all the cheapest and best shops around, among others.
With a quick Google search, you can find out about the most common travel scams in your potential travel destination.
Be Smart with Your Money
In any destination you travel to, it’s never safe to carry large amounts of money. Consider opening an account with a reputable international bank or a credit card company to use local ATMs.
When using ATMs, opt for those attached to banks as you’re less likely to be attacked by scammers. If you must withdraw a considerable amount at once, keep it locked away safely and only carry what is sufficient for the day.
Avoid keeping all your money and credit cards in one place so that if you’re attacked, you don’t lose everything. Notify your bank before traveling alone so they don’t block your account for suspicious activities.
Know the Local Emergency Contact Details
If anything goes wrong or you suffer an injury when traveling alone, you should be able to get help. Consider looking for ambulance, police, fire department, or your embassy contact details, then write them down or save them on your phone to have quick access in case of an emergency.
You can also learn a few basic local emergency phrases about how to ask for help.
Make Digital Copies of Important Documents
Your passport could be the most essential travel document you have. Making a digital copy of it and other identification documents like your driver’s license ensures you have a backup if lost or stolen.
Scanning your documents and saving them to your email or online dropbox means you can look it away and use your digital copies if need be. This reduces the risk of you losing your passport or having it stolen when you’re traveling alone.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
Staying connected to the internet is an essential part of modern travel. However, it can be risky. This is because public Wi-Fi networks without encryption aren’t secure, as hackers and other cybercriminals can see everything you do on the internet.
Using it to log into your bank accounts may cause you to lose all your money due to online fraud. However, using a virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure encrypted channel that allows you to use the internet without worrying about your accounts being compromised.
Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance covers all costs and losses associated with traveling. It covers medical expenses, flight cancellations, lost luggage, and other losses you may incur when traveling. Travel insurance ensures comprehensive coverage in case of any emergency in a foreign land.
If you, unfortunately, fell ill, suffered an injury on vacation, or lost your luggage, travel insurance covers the costs involved. Researching before buying travel insurance will help you know if the potential policies cover all your needs and how affordable they are.
Avoid Sharing Too Much Information with Strangers
While meeting people and making new friends make traveling alone fun, you don’t have to be too trusting to share everything about yourself right away. People asking your name and where you come from is normal, but if they start asking too many personal questions that you find suspicious, consider that a red flag.
It’s a good idea to avoid answering such questions without confronting them and find ways to get rid of them.
Find Out About the Weather Conditions of Your Destination
A country’s weather conditions also play a crucial role in your safety when traveling alone. Considering that some countries experience extreme weather conditions at certain times of the year, traveling there during such seasons could be dangerous for your safety.
Following weather forecasts on Google weather or any other platform will help you find out if the weather condition of the place you’re visiting is favorable for you. Avoid areas that are prone to mudslides, earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes.
Don’t Draw Attention
Trying to blend into the surroundings will ensure it isn’t obvious you’re a tourist. Don’t wear inappropriate clothes and flash ornaments, as they’ll make you more vulnerable to pickpockets and scammers. Before traveling, research to find out how the locals dress so you can prepare accordingly.
Traveling alone can be fun and exciting, but knowing how to stay safe while at it makes it more fun. Use the above tips to stay safe, and don’t forget to leave your next of kin details with your travel agent so they can be contacted if you suffered an injury on vacation or got into other problems.