They say you haven’t quite seen the world, until you’ve traveled alone. Going solo allows you to make your own decisions, be responsible for yourself and yet be free to do whatever you want.
Like Reese Witherspoon’s character in Oscar-nominated film Wild, several women have begun to ditch holidays at fancy resorts in favor of traveling far and wide to embark on soul searching voyages or to see the world as it is. According to a survey by Small Luxury Hotels of the World, between 2011 and 2012, there was a 53 percent increase in the demand for rooms by single female travelers.
However, as exhilarating as it is to just get-going minus any company, one must learn to prioritize safety before everything else.
So, before you set foot on your next big adventure, here are a few guidelines to keep yourself safe when you’re far from home.
- The first and foremost thing to do before you get started is to scan your passport, driver’s license and other important documents, and email them to yourself and to a relative or friend. So, in case you lose any of these documents, they’re easily available to make copies or apply for new ones.
- Make it a rule to let someone know about your plans with the exact dates and location where you will be on any given day. Confirm your arrival at your destination so that atleast someone back home is aware of your whereabouts.
- Always dress wisely, depending on the country you visit. In conservative nations, ensure that your attire is in keeping with local norms since you don’t want to draw unwanted attention to yourself. Always be respectful of your host country’s traditions and laws.
- When you travel by public transport, it’s alright to talk to fellow passengers about your destination and other places but don’t reveal details or announce that you are traveling alone.
- Be careful about your belongings at all times. Crowded buses, trains, subways and metros are easy targets for pickpockets. Hold your bags in front of you so that you can keep an eye on them.
- When you take a bus, always introduce yourself to the driver or conductor and request them to alert you when you get to your destination.
- While taking cabs, only opt for licensed cabs with credible credentials.
- Pulling out a bundle of notes in public will draw to much attention to yourself, so don’t keep all your cash together. Store the big notes in a separate fanny pouch under your shirt and only keep minimal money in a small pocket or purse.
- Learn a few words of the local dialect such as ‘please’, ‘can you help me’ and ‘thank you’ will help you connect better with the locals.
- Carry a whistle with you, in case you get into an uncomfortable situation and need to call for help. The loud sounds may also dissuade your attacker.
- And even with all the precautions, if you do get into trouble where someone wants to rob you, just give in. You might risk your life by putting up a fight, unless of course, you know some self defense moves or how to throw a few punches. Just remember to prioritize safety first, the rest of your belongings can always be insured
- And finally, don’t forget to register with the US Department of State. This is an online form that doesn’t take up a lot of time to fill. It keeps you alert about your destination in case something unsettling stirs up. They will be the first one to contact you.
If you want to see the world, get out and go travel. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. But do remember to take these safety precautions.