Travelling solo can be a daunting experience, however once you over come the first hurdle of actually landing at your first destination, you’ll immediately want to do more. Solo travel can be the best kind of travel as the experiences you’ll face will be like nothing you’ve ever come across.
On a personal note, when it comes to travel I never get scared or worried about anything – not sure if this is a bad thing. However I do stay mindful and aware of crime, cultural differences, travel safety and how trust worthy is too trustworthy when it comes to strangers.
1. Research your destination
Knowing the basics of your destination is crucial when it comes to knowing where’s safe and not during different times of the day. In less touristy places they seem to scam tourists more, so make sure you know the basic prices of taxis and food so you are able to bargain if you need to.
Also checking the crime rate is vital, some places may be bigger on bag snatching than others – but remember it still happens everywhere. Knowing your area is key to staying safe and responsible when you are travelling solo.
2. Be open minded to meeting new people
Trust me, travelling solo you will meet oodles of people from all around the world. Have a conversation with everyone, you will learn and grow with these people. The most amazing conversations I’ve had, have been with people I have met through my travels. These people have had incredible experiences from places all around the world and they will teach you so much.
These people that you meet are normally as crazy and as adventurous as you are, so you always have someone to do something with during the day and people to have dinner with at night time. This will also help you feel safer and not so lonely when you are travelling solo.
3. Don’t freak out if you get lost
Sometimes, getting lost in a foreign city is incredibly ironic. Firstly, you are lost and should be freaking out, and secondly you are lost seeing the beautiful streets. Most of the time the best discoveries come from being lost.
If you do get lost, and have absolutely no idea where you are, asking the locals in the shops is the best way to get back on track. If you are feeling unsafe or vulnerable, hopping in a taxi is a quick way to get where you want. Removing yourself quickly from a place where you feel unsafe is better than walking around panicking and being vulnerable.
4. Stay in touch on social media
Social media is both a blessing and curse. However when you are away from family, friends and are constantly meeting people on the move it’s the only option to keep up with communication (if you don’t want to have a million dollar phone bill that is).
Also, posting about your travels is a great way to show people you are safe (especially if you have paranoid parents). This can be an extra safety step if anything were to go wrong, as people have documented evidence of your every move.
5. Learn the language
Communicating in a foreign country can be tricky, but knowing the basics of the language can make it that little bit better.
I always learn the basics such as hello, thank you, help and general directions. Learning how to ask for help and how to communicate different directions can be a vital safety advantage while travelling. Language barriers can put travellers at a disadvantage, so at least putting in the effort to learn the language puts you a step ahead of someone who has not.
6.Day time exploring/travel is your new best friend
As everyone knows, day time is the safest option for exploring a city or travelling from destination to destination. Staying in crowded areas as well is better than being in isolated areas, so keep this in mind.
Arriving somewhere new, it’s better to arrive during the day unless you have already organised transportation. Also taking long bus journeys or train journeys, I advise these be done also during the day time.
7. Safety first
Safety, is obviously, the most important thing when travelling solo – or with others! Being mindful of your surroundings is key, and by removing yourself from situations or places you feel uncomfortable is always better than not. Going with your instincts does more good than harm.
In places where pick pocketing is big, it’s always good to wear a travel belt under your clothes that holds your phone and small amounts of money you’ll need for that day. Everything else should be kept in a safe. Also a shoulder bag should be worn around your shoulder sitting at the front of your body rather than the back, with one hand on it at all times.
Cameras around your neck is safe, except for night, but if they can fit in your bag then do so. Remember your life (and passport) is more important than money or your travel equipment – like camera ect. – so don’t fight for it because you don’t know what will end up happening. Hence why travel insurance is a must as you can claim all that you lost back – except for you life.
8. Stay away from getting drunk
Getting drunk is the worst thing you could do while travelling solo. For me, I only ever have one drink throughout my entire trip, but if you are a drinker than I recommend avoiding large amounts of alcohol.
By being drunk your are putting yourself in vulnerable positions, which for a foreigner you already are more vulnerable then others.
If you feel unsafe around someone, you can talk to the security or bartenders who are always willing to help you out or change locations if it becomes a bigger problem.
9. Don’t let fear stop you
For some, they don’t travel simply out of fear or they are comfortable in their little bubble they love to call home.
For others, the world is a massive place that needs to be explored and experienced before time gets the better of them.
Travelling should not be scary or make you feel uncomfortable, and if it does then remove yourself from the situation. A story to go with a photo is always better than looking at photos on the Internet, experiencing the world with your own eyes is a massive blessing and we should all make the most of it.
10. Confidence comes with experience
Maybe on your first solo trip – or a few – you haven’t exactly felt confident or inspired to go again because of an experience you may have had. Don’t let that stop you from trying again and again, like anything, it all comes with experience and knowledge.
Travel does bring you knowledge and a greater sense of the world we live in, and this comes with time.
Even if you may feel un-confident on the inside, the more confident people think you are, the more you are less bothered or less vulnerable to locals.
I hope these tips helped you to become a better/more confident traveller. If you have anything to add comment below.