Are you considering going on your first solo trip but feeling apprehensive about the possible risks? It is a valid concern; after all, solo travel means stepping way out of your comfort zone! But, as fun as it can be going on vacation with your family, there is just something about solo travel that is extremely enticing! However, personal safety and security always cross the mind whenever we hear “solo travel”. These fears keep many people from actually going on trips by themselves, and as a result, they miss out on some incredible solo travel experiences!
Solo travel can be an innately fun and empowering experience, but it’s important to be aware that traveling anywhere requires a certain level of self-awareness. For that reason, we have curated a list of tips for you. Hopefully, this will give you the confidence to pack up your bags and take the leap of faith for your first solo trip!
Common Sense While Traveling
Using common sense is necessary when you are traveling alone for the first time. It keeps you vigilant and always aware of your surroundings. While it is true that solo travel is an amazing adventure where you often will end up having an unforgettable time, you must also keep in mind that you are in an unknown place where you may not know anyone. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to watch your own back!
Many of us have heard nightmares of solo travelers who were distracted on their solo vacations and ended up getting lost, or worse, robbed. There have been instances of violent attacks on foreign tourists when they visited a new country. The last thing you would want is to end up penniless in a faraway country. Therefore, no matter where you go, always be aware and smart so the worst-case scenario doesn’t happen. It never hurts to be extra vigilant.
Stay Safe While Traveling Solo
As you travel more, ensuring your safety becomes second nature to you. However, these skills do not develop overnight. It takes a lot of decision-making and active preparation for any issues that might come up whenever you are traveling by yourself. When you are considering safety while travelling, the most important tips relate to personal safety and health safety. While personal safety has to do with how you interact with others and navigate different social situations, health safety involves taking care of your overall health and being mindful of what you consume.
In the following paragraphs, we will go over a few common pointers that you should keep in mind when you are planning your solo trip. Navigating the world alone as a solo traveler is not an easy task, but we have some advice to offer to hopefully make your first solo travel experience a little easier.
Research Your Destination Thoroughly
This is a no-brainer when you are considering planning a solo trip. Performing plenty of research about the place, its laws, its customs and traditions, its people, local laws and pretty much everything someone should know is necessary to make sure to avoid any potential culture shock.
There are a lot of other factors to also consider when you are researching a certain destination. For example, you may need to review the laws of the country you are visiting and keep a note of what they allow foreigners to bring with them on their trip. For example, many female travelers carry pepper spray with them when they are on vacation, but pepper spray is considered a weapon in a lot of places and carrying it can be against the law.
Planning your trip with a Tier One Travel Consultant will save you tons of time. Utilizing a travel consultant’s experience and knowledge of the destinations you want to travel to is an amazing way to start your solo trip with confidence. With a Tier One Travel Consultant you know you’ll always have someone who will help you with anything before and during your trip!
Learn about some of the best destinations for solo travel here: Best Adventure Vacations for Solo and Single Travelers
Start Out Small
When you plan out a solo vacation, it’s a good idea to start out small if you’re feeling nervous. Do not visit a whole other continent on your first go. Take it slow, and visit a neighboring state or province in your country for your first solo journey. Then, once you feel more comfortable, start planning somewhere further. A great way to build up your experiences is by traveling to places that are closer to you so that when you finally visit a faraway country, you will be much better prepared to tackle whatever comes your way!
Tell Your Government That You’re Going Abroad
The Government of Canada will alert travelers in the event of an emergency when they register with this free service, Registration of Canadians Abroad, on travel.gc.ca. Registered travelers can obtain important information during emergencies like natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. Whether moving overseas or just on a trip, it’s a good idea for Canadian residents to register.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP is a free service that allows US citizens/nations traveling abroad to enroll with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering their trip with STEP, they can receive security and protection when they are in new places during natural disasters. This way, the U.S. government assures the safety concerns of tourists. This is one of the best safety tips for U.S. citizens.
Share your Travel Itinerary with Your Family and Close Friends
As an added safety measure, it is always a good idea to let your family and friends know where you are traveling to and what your plans are. We are not saying something will go wrong, of course, but in emergency situations, this goes a long way in helping your folks easily locate you if they need to know your location. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who were traveling had to be evacuated from their travel destinations so that they could return home. Having a family member back home know your whereabouts can come useful in a situation such as this.
Choose your Accommodation Carefully
For safety reasons, it is very important to be staying in a safe place when you go on vacation. As a solo traveler, it is important to always stay at places that have great customer reviews. In many cases, hotel staff can provide good advice about how to spend your travel days and some of the best and safest places to visit. For more convenience and less time on public transit or Ubers, it is a good idea to stay closer to the centre of the city or close to the specific parts of the city that you want to see.
In many countries, there are certain rules about letting single women occupy rooms. If you’re a solo female traveler, you may be denied a room in this case, so it is better to look up accommodation options beforehand and book it well in advance instead of waiting until you have landed. Your Tier One Travel Consultant can help you find the perfect accommodation!
Learn Some of the Local Language Before You Go
If you are traveling to a new city or a foreign country where English is not the native language, it is a good idea to pick up a few helpful words in the native language. This is one of the best ways to help make your experience exploring a new destination go as smoothly as possible. For example, if you are coming to India, where the majority of the people speak Hindi, you should get a handbook that translates common Hindi words into English. Simple words such as “yes”, “no”, “left”, “right”, “food”, “water”, “directions”, and so on will make your travel that much easier.
Or even better, make sure to use Google Translate in case you cannot understand anything being spoken to you. The voice-to-text feature can translate basically in real-time. You can even take a picture of signs or a menu in another language and have it translated!
Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
We know that having your earphones or headphones on while you are walking can be a pretty serene way to pass the time, but when you are a traveler on a solo vacation, you need to keep all your senses active. The music or podcast playing into your ears can distract you from your immediate surroundings and make you more vulnerable to pickpockets and thieves. Even if you’re just scrolling on your phone in a public space make sure to not zone out completely to what is happening around you.
If a stranger does come up to you and tries to make conversation, make sure to never let them know that you’re traveling alone. Don’t give away any personal information including where you are staying, etc. When trying to make new friends while traveling, you’ll have to listen to your gut on if you can trust them.
Be Careful at Night
Whenever you are on a solo trip, make sure you limit your walking and exploring to daylight hours. At the end of the day, try to limit going out unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are looking for a place to have a late-night meal, make sure you go somewhere close to your accommodation.
However, if you absolutely want to go out during the nighttime to experience the destination’s nightlife, we recommend you make friends with some other travelers and go as a group! Going on walking tours can help you find a couple traveling friends since there are likely to be many like-minded people there.
Check Out Some Awesome Walking Tours Here
A lot of people tend to lower their walls when they drink alcohol. However, you might be at your most vulnerable when you are drinking on your own in an unknown place. First and foremost, make sure you limit your drinking when you are traveling alone. Set a limit of two or three drinks for yourself, or less, depending on your alcohol tolerance.
If a stranger offers you a drink, find a way to refuse them politely. There are many horror stories of women ending up drugged after accepting drinks from strangers. Similarly, always keep an eye on your drink at all times. You may never know who can slip something into your drink while you are distracted. Moreover, if you are in a club and you feel uncomfortable, always approach the bartender and inform them if someone has been nagging you or if one of your drinks felt a little wonky.
If you want to go and experience the nightlife of the destination you’re visiting, it’s a good idea to try to find friends to go with you! Staying in hostels can make making other traveling friends easy.
Always Look Out for Your Belongings
This is true for anyone who is traveling – always make sure you have an eye on your belongings. Pickpocketing is a risk no matter where you travel so it is always good to be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas. Anti-theft bags are very popular nowadays, and it is a good idea to invest in one for your solo travels. It is also advised to keep extra money hidden in inconspicuous places like a money belt, just in case. RFID-blocking wallets are also a good idea to ensure your credit card information doesn’t get stolen, get one here.
In addition to looking after your belongings, keep in mind that the most important document you need is your passport. Many people make the mistake of keeping their passports and other important documents in their wallet or purse. Your wallet can be stolen or misplaced at any time, and if your cell phone, passport, birth certificate, debit cards and credit cards are lost, you might have a hard time locating the nearest embassy or consulate and trying to get a replacement. Keep your passport with the rest of your luggage instead of taking it around with you wherever you go, or, make sure to have a couple of photo copies of your passport with you all the time.
Take Self-Defence Classes
Taking self-defence classes can be incredibly beneficial for solo travelers. Not only do these classes equip you with essential physical techniques to protect yourself in potentially dangerous situations, but they also enhance confidence and situational awareness. Learning how to assess risks, react effectively, and maintain composure under pressure can empower solo travelers to navigate unfamiliar environments with greater security and peace of mind. Self-defence training goes beyond physical skills, fostering a sense of empowerment that allows travelers to proactively safeguard themselves and make informed decisions while exploring new destinations.
Keep in mind that your safety and well-being are paramount. If being polite but firm does not do the trick, try to attract attention towards yourself by screaming or making a fuss. It is also a good idea to carry a personal safety alarm so that you can attract attention to yourself.
Always Purchase Travel Insurance
When you have travel plans to a new place, always purchase insurance. You may think that this will make your vacation way too expensive, but the truth is, you do not know what might happen when you are away from home. In most cases, you will probably have a great trip and won’t need to make a claim on your travel insurance but it is always better to be prepared just in case something happens. In the case that something does happen, travel insurance can be invaluable. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry, right?
Listen to Your Gut
If you feel that something is amiss, or something feels out of place, trust that instinct. You may not even be specifically aware of what in your surroundings is making you feel that way but do not take this feeling lightly. When solo traveling, you have no one to rely on except your gut, so try to be on the lookout for anything that might be weird or strange.
For example, if someone gives you directions for a “shortcut” to your destination, but you notice that this path falls in a remote area, is not well-lit and has fewer people, your gut instinct may tell you to take the longer route instead. Listen to that voice in your head.
Be Cautious with Street Food and Drinking Water
This is particularly applicable if you are traveling to countries in Asia and Africa. Not a lot of countries in these continents have universal access to clean drinking water. If you are used to drinking water from the tap at home, make sure to never do this when you are traveling, since tap water in most countries is not suited for drinking. But you can figure this out with a quick Google search.
The same goes for food, particularly street food. When traveling to a new country of course you’re going to try the local cuisine and there is no better way to do this than try out street food, but your stomach isn’t used to food like that so just be careful when eating street food and make sure to have access to any medications that might help an upset stomach.
Dress Keeping Local Customs in Mind
In many places, women are expected to cover up themselves when they are in public, depending on the local culture. In certain religious buldings, you cannot enter if your legs are bare or you do not cover your head. It’s important to consider the culture of the local people when you are traveling.
Also, make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You may have to be on your feet for a really long period, so wear comfortable shoes that do not blister your feet. Be mindful of the climate of the place you are traveling to, and dress accordingly.
Look for Other Solo Travelers
Making new friends with other solo travelers can be a rewarding and enriching experience. When you’re both exploring a new place on your own, you already share a common interest and sense of adventure. Stay in social accommodations like hostels, join group activities or tours, and use travel apps to find like-minded individuals. Approach conversations with openness, share experiences, and attend hostel events or local gatherings. While being friendly, prioritize safety by meeting in public places and letting someone from home know your plans to meet up with new people. Making friends with fellow solo travelers can lead to memorable experiences and a broader cultural understanding and who knows maybe you’ll make a couple of new friends for life!
Lastly, the only thing you need to successfully travel around the world by yourself is confidence. Have faith in yourself and do not overthink. Embarking on your first solo travel adventure is a remarkable journey of self-discovery and empowerment. With each step you take in a new and unfamiliar place, your confidence grows, unveiling a newfound sense of resilience and capability! Embracing the challenges and triumphs that come your way, you’ll forge connections with fellow travelers and locals alike, enriching your perspective and creating cherished memories. As you navigate uncharted territories with a confident spirit, you’ll not only explore the world but also unlock the limitless potential within yourself, proving that your courage knows no bounds.
Envision this: You are in your hotel room relaxing from a day of exploring, playing a game of pyramid solitaire while the sun sets in the background, painting your room with a wonderful warm orange hue. There’s no one around you, you don’t have to worry about going to work the next day, so you simply relax and take in the moment. Your solo travel adventure has just begun.
Get The Most Out Of Your Travel Experience
Sometimes you have to be alone to rediscover yourself and going on a solo trip is an amazing opportunity to do this. Solo travel is an invaluable teacher of how to listen to the voice in your head and be at peace with yourself. With the tips we have mentioned in this blog, you can have the time of your life on a solo vacation while being perfectly safe. Enjoy this time and make the best out of it. Happy journey and have a safe trip!
ARE YOU READY TO EMBARK ON AN INCREDIBLE SOLO TRIP?
When you’re ready to book your next travel plan, contact one of our Tier One Travel consultants. They will find the perfect place for your next vacation and will craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs and will make sure your travel plans will be as stress-free as possible.
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“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous