When it comes to traveling, most people think of spending time in a new place with friends or family. But especially in the digital age, when communication and staying in touch is easier than ever, it’s become increasingly common to hear stories about people going on short, long, extended, and even permanent or semi-permanent trips on their own.
Solo traveling is a great way to experience all the sights, sounds, and sensations of a new culture without the restrictions that traveling with others can include. That said, traveling alone – especially in a foreign country or unfamiliar culture – can present some safety risks that need to be planned for in order to have a great time. Today, we’re taking a look at four ways you can protect yourself when traveling alone, no matter where you are!
Share Your Itinerary
We don’t mean that you should post your itinerary on Facebook (in fact, per our earlier post about deterring social media-induced crime, we actually discourage you from doing so). But you should have a plan to some extent, and you should share it with one or more trusted people in your life.
This itinerary should have some fairly specific information on it – travel dates, accommodations (addresses and phone numbers) – and should be given to a close friend or family member. That way if you don’t check in with them for a few days, they’ll know (approximately) where you are and be able to try alternatives to confirm your safety, such as contacting your hotel or hostel.
Stay Wary of Pickpockets
Theft isn’t just common in major metropolitan areas – pickpockets are everywhere, and they have plenty of experience scoping wide-eyed tourists out of a crowd. Taking advantage of secure options to carry your valuables, such as money, your passport/visa, your phone, etc. are a good idea to avoid losing something important.
A money belt that secures to your body and rests underneath your clothing is always a good option. You might also try attaching your wallet to the inside of a day bag with a safety pin, so it can’t be easily removed.
Keep Extras In the Room
When you’re traveling in a foreign country, particularly one that isn’t 100% friendly to international tourists, it can be essential to keep cash and your travel documents (passport/visa) on you at all times.
But having your papers with you also increases the risk that they may be lost or stolen – so one recommendation is that you keep a copy of your identification and some emergency money in your bags and leave them in your hotel room, or in a secure place if your lodgings aren’t totally private. Most reputable hostels, for example, have a safe room where travelers can store large luggage items overnight and while out for the day.