Help Me Travel
Staying safe as a solo traveler
By Tom Everett, Editor
Are you itching to travel by yourself but worried about staying safe while visiting another country? Many people want to take trips alone but are concerned about being solo travelers. If you want to know the best ways to stay safe while traveling the world, then read on!
Safety Tips from a Solo Traveler
Scan your driver’s license, passport, and health card and email them to yourself and a friend or family member. If you lose your passport, it makes getting a new one much easier.
Always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to arrive, and where you are staying. When you arrive, confirm those details.
If something should happen, at least one person knows where you are.
Letting someone else know where you are is one of the best ways to feel secure when traveling.
Trust your instincts. If someone approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, do not worry about being rude.
There are many times I have ignored men who approached in a way that didn’t feel right. I keep walking and ignore them. I may sometimes be wrong, but it’s not a chance I’m prepared to take.
Smile. When you appear to be friendly, other people will reach out to you to help you. A simple smile actually saved me from being robbed once.
I gave a pregnant woman my seat on a bus while two other people were trying to convince me I should get off the bus early. The woman overheard the conversation and gave me a look that I knew meant something was wrong. They got off, and she told me that I didn’t need to get off and was going the right way.
Public city transportation is ripe for pickpockets. Never carry anything in your back pocket, and always be aware of your surroundings.
It’s not just young men that pickpocket, either. Sometimes it’s a group of women who will kindly bump into you or cram around you on a bus.
This is important to realize — many people think that only men pose threats, but that’s not true. Women can rob you just as easily when you’re in an unfamiliar place.
On longer rides, if you would prefer to sit next to a woman on a bus or train, simply ask. In some cases, the clerks have passenger information and are happy to help you.
On buses to other cities, I introduce myself to the bus driver and tell him where I’m going. It seems a bit silly, but a lot of the bus drivers will call my name when we reach my destination, and some pull my backpack off first and sit it next to them so no one else grabs it.
Lastly, find out how much a cab will cost from the bus station. I always find this out from a hostel.
To double check, I ask the security guard inside the bus station where to find the best cabs so that when I walk outside, I’m confident on where to go and the price to ask.
My goal is not to blend in as a local (there are too many subtleties that I cannot learn), but I do aim to look as if I live there and know what I’m doing.
My best hope is that thieves think I’m an expat and shift their attention to someone who looks easier to rob.
How do you stay safe while traveling? Are you a solo traveler or do you like to travel in groups and pairs? What are your favorite places to visit around the world?
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