It’s fun to take a trip on your own. You have your own schedule, and you can do everything you’ve always wanted to do. All the same, it’s important to mind yourself a little more when you’re alone. Solo travelers make for good targets by shady characters. Even the most independent can find themselves in bad situations. Follow these tips to stay safe during your travels.
Share Your Itinerary
Before you leave, give your itinerary to your friends and family. If anything should happen, it’s a lot easier to track you down if your best friend knows you’re in Hong Kong on Tuesday, instead of simply in Asia for a week. Make sure to check in with someone each time you depart a city. That way, everyone knows you’re safe.
It’s not a bad idea to carry a couple emergency contacts in your bag or in your pockets wherever you go. In case something does happen to you and you wind up in the hospital unconscious, there’s a person the doctors can call.
Watch Your Cash
Scam artists are everywhere. Make sure you spot them and move on. One way is to make it a rule not to give anyone money. It’s hard when you see homeless people, and that’s what scam artists are banking on – your kind hearted generosity. If you’re at an ATM, make sure no one is watching you punch in your code or hovering to snatch your card or cash once it’s dispensed. And the only ATM you should visit is a bank machine. Some cities even have scam cash machines that take your card after you punch in your pin. Make it a point to only handle money at a point of sale.
Blend With Your Surroundings
Unfortunately, most cities have their share of pickpockets. These thieves are sly and wait for you to look away at just the right moment. The best way to avoid this is to not stand out in the first place. Keep your dress moderate. Save your flashy sequins for a nightclub at home, and that bright red dress is great, but not when you travel. If you blend, then you won’t be a target.
Be Mindful of Others
When you’re alone, you need to be aware of who’s around and if they’re looking at you. Those pickpockets wait for you to sit at a sidewalk café before snatching your purse off the back of your chair. They’re waiting for you to look up at a cathedral spire before plucking your wallet from your pocket. The only way a thief can get your things is if you don’t see them, so keep your eyes peeled.
Don’t Be a Night Owl
It’s recommended you go out for a night on the town, but keep it conservative. Having too much to drink makes you a prime target for thieves or worse. If you’re walking on streets, only use well-lit avenues that are populated.
Better than walking, particularly if you stay far from where you’re going out, are taxis. Make sure you use a real taxi, and not a private car, which are unregulated and you have no idea who’s driving. Public transportation may be fine, but most places trains and buses tend to have more crime at night. Best to keep it straight and just grab a cab.
Being aware of the people around you is a basic, important part of solo travel. Don’t take risks to save a couple bucks, or to prove to you can handle yourself. Have you had any scary travel moments? Comment below and tell us your stories.