Traveling Alone This Summer? Here Are Some Tips
Is the world a safe place for solo travelers? Yes and no. The answer largely depends on how much preparation you put into the trip before traveling as well as some common sense precautions that you take once you’re out there. Whether you’re hitting Europe or elsewhere, as long as you remain aware of your surroundings and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home, you will have a wonderful time and come back with the right kind of stories to tell.
Avoid winging it
There’s a lot to be said for spontaneity and for ditching the tour group for a stroll down a city street. However, it’s not wise to arrive at a new destination without a plan. Before you get on the airplane, put in some structure for your vacation. At the very least, have a booked hotel for each night of your trip, and create an itinerary for each day. If you want, you can leave open an afternoon to give yourself time to just explore. A strong plan for your trip will go a long way towards keeping you safe as you travel.
If you’re female, respect the local culture about women
If you are a woman who will be traveling alone, do your research on local attitudes about women in the country you will be visiting. Some parts of the world are more conservative than others, and you may have an easier time traveling if you honor the local customs on attire. Know, too, the guidelines for visiting any religious sites, which may require that you cover your hair or wear certain clothing, and understand how men and women who are not married to each other customarily interact.
Respect your risk tolerance
It is your trip and no one else’s. If you feel more comfortable eating in the hotel’s restaurant at night so that you don’t have to be out alone on dark streets, that’s completely fine. Likewise, if you are invited by other travelers to do something that feels risky for any reason, you have the right to decline. Know how comfortable you are with risk and respect it.
Push yourself to try new things – but to a point
That said, getting out of your comfort zone may lead to exciting opportunities. If you are an introvert and are staying in a hostel, you may come across fellow travelers engaged in a card game. Why not introduce yourself and possibly sit down with them? Many hotels will offer excursions, and you can look for chances to try something new. You may not be a great lover of heights but find yourself zip-lining and enjoying it. Just don’t go wild and crazy and break any laws.
Choose carefully who you talk to
When you travel alone, you will find all sorts of people to meet, both travelers and locals. By all means, introduce yourself, but judge carefully who you are sitting next to. The sad reality is that there are con artists everywhere, and they can be just as friendly as the good people. Be polite when you interact with people, but approach everyone with a degree of skepticism. Don’t be afraid to walk away from someone who you don’t want to speak to.
Limit your alcohol intake
When you travel alone, you will be the only one responsible for your safety, and the reality is that alcohol can lower your judgment and inhibitions. If you have a low tolerance for alcohol, cut it out of your trip completely. If you normally can handle it, drink less than you normally do so that you stay aware and safe.
Don’t flash your money
It goes without saying that you should never carry around large amounts of cash or advertise where you are carrying it. If you must convert currency, try to do so inside of a bank and have it completely hidden away when you go back out onto the street. Credit cards can be a safer option, but be sure you know if they are accepted in the country you will be traveling in.
The takeaway for solo travelers
Traveling alone is exciting and can give you incredible memories. You should do just fine so long as you prepare, stay aware of everything around you, and take a few precautions. With that, you can go out into the world with confidence and explore it to your heart’s content.