With over 70% of Intrepid Travel’s passengers traveling on their own, it’s clear that solo travel is on the rise.
The trend is not surprising, seeing how advantageous it can be to travel alone. Travelers can indulge themselves, set their own schedule, visit interesting locations, meet the locals, and spend their trip exactly how they want to, without the need to please anyone else.
However, one of the most significant drawbacks of solo traveling is that it can be more difficult to ensure one’s safety. With no one else to rely on, travelers have to stay vigilant.
Let’s see how to stay safe, but still get the most out of the trip when traveling solo.
Do Some Research Beforehand
It’s always best to come prepared. Just as it’s necessary to research the best locations to visit, the most interesting tourist spots, and the most beautiful hotels, it’s essential to research the worst parts of the destination.
A quick online search should let any solo traveler know about the places to avoid, the sketchy neighborhoods, and the common travel scams in the area.
Staying in the know about the good and the bad is the first step toward ensuring safety while traveling.
Try to Blend in
When going solo, most travelers opt for the most popular travel destinations that are filled with other tourists, since this gives a sense of security.
The problem here is the higher number of tourists attracts a higher number of con artists. For them, the easiest target is the most obvious one – a confused solo traveler.
To avoid looking like an easy target, the best thing is to blend in. This is especially important when visiting a more conservative country that has specific dress codes or unique social norms.
Spare No Expense
Solo traveling is typically more expensive than traveling with a group, and finding a single bedroom, or booking a cruise for just one person can put a dent in anyone’s budget.
While this might push travelers to find cheaper accommodation or get into a seemingly cheaper taxi, this can be a big mistake.
It’s better to opt for a pricier, reliable hotel in the downtown area than to rent a room in the outskirts of the city. This can even help to save money since most things will be within walking distance, so there’ll be no need to spend more on transportation.
When it comes to ensuring safety while traveling, it’s always better to spend a bit more. If nothing else, travelers will at least have a peace of mind.
Don’t Get Drunk
Going to a bar to get a few beers is an excellent idea for those who’d like to meet new people and make friends with the locals. A bit of alcohol can make everyone more communicative. Too much alcohol, however, could spell trouble in more ways than one.
Primarily, getting drunk will make solo travelers easy targets for pickpockets and other crooks, and losing a wallet can be the least of their concerns. Secondly, wasting a whole day, or even more, on dealing with a hangover is no one’s idea of a good time, so it’s best avoided.
Don’t Forget About Your Online Safety
Even though most people spend almost 3 hours on their phone every day, whether they’re at home or on vacation, they rarely consider their cybersecurity while traveling. Their biggest concern is often whether there’s free WiFi in their rooms.
While free WiFi has its perks, it can be quite dangerous to connect to it. Since the network is open to everyone, anyone can break into any devices connected to it.
Solo travelers connecting to the internet at various WiFi hotspots should get a VPN – http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nordvpn.android&hl=en_US. It will hide and encrypt their connection and keep their devices secure. An added bonus is that through a VPN, travelers can have full access to the internet, even in countries with harsh internet censorship.
Keep Your Friends and Family Updated
Lastly, informing family and friends about all the travel plans is an excellent safety precaution. When others know a solo traveler’s whereabouts, they can be of more help in case of an emergency. It’s also a good way to protect your family from getting scammed by fake emails. It’s a popular phishing technique, used by scammers everywhere. They pretend to be someone else and in trouble, asking for money.
If your family knows where you are at any given time, they are less likely to fall victim to such scams.
These are just some of the things that solo travelers should keep in mind while visiting countries around the world. Taking these steps as a precaution will ensure a safer and more enjoyable journey.