Heading off on a solo adventure can be really inspiring and fun. You get to do whatever you feel like without having to take everyone else into consideration – and you have time to really get to know yourself.
Yet, being on your own in a distant land can also seem a bit intimidating to those who haven’t done it before and, if this is your first time as a solo traveler, you should try to stick to these basic safety rules.
While it’s impossible to safeguard yourself completely from everything that might happen, you can certainly make those unfortunate or even dangerous situations a lot less likely. Here is a handy guide to first-time solo travelers so that you are able to stay a bit safer and enjoy the journey.
First: Don’t dress to impress – The number one rule to being out and about on your own as a tourist is to stay street smart. It’s not to say that you have yourself to blame if you get robbed, though, as this can happen to anyone – but if you manage to stay smart, you’re making it a bit less likely.
Dress in casual and comfortable clothes and try to avoid looking fancy, so to speak. It’s no point putting on your nicest outfit when you’re traveling, in any way, as you’d want your clothes to be comfortable and durable.
With that being said, you can dress smart without actually acting smart when you’re out and about. Since there are so many distractions and a lot to look at all the time, we tend to get a bit caught up in it – and may forget to check out belongings or our bag.
Keep your valuables close to your body, even in one of those beloved fanny packs, and try not to flash your phone around all the time. Especially not when you’re on public transport as you never know if someone jumps you, grabs your phone, and heads for the door in a split second.
Next: Look smart – Being street smart is about more than just dressing in comfortable and non-flashy outfits, though, as those who are looking to take advantage of people are more likely to approach you if you’re wandering around all confused.
If you do get lost, ask someone for directions and head off with your head held high. Seeming confused, uncertain, and lost are great ways to get targeted by those who are looking for vulnerable tourists; you want to give off the impression that you know exactly where you’re going and what’s going on.
The same goes for when you’re handling your money at the ATM. Thieves know very well that tourists, in general, need to use these machines and they tend to hang around, ready to ‘help you out’ in case you should need it.
Needless to say, you should never accept help at the ATM – not even if the person seems genuinely nice and helpful. The risk is way too high and you’re better off going straight to the bank for help instead.
A classic way of targeting you while you’re fumbling around at the ATM, sending out more tourist-vibes than a middle-aged German man in sandals and a sun hat, is to work in pairs.
One will stand behind you and make a note of your PIN while the other one will offer you some friendly help.
This is, of course, just to snatch your card so fast you simply assume the machine ate it – and, by the time you call the bank to block your card, they’ve already withdrawn your cash at the ATM around the corner.
Look smart, pretend like you know what you’re doing, and keep a strict eye on your belongings at all times. It’s not the end of the world if something like this should happen, but it’s definitely annoying and highly avoidable.
Have some backup funds ready – Since you never know if you should lose your belongings, if they get stolen, or if you suddenly need to get back home ASAP, it’s a good idea to have a decent amount of backup cash ready at hand. Even if you don’t plan on using it, the money will give you a sense of comfort and confidence while trotting the globe on your own.
If this is impossible, you should at least try to have a plan B and even a plan C up your sleeve. Find a few options online in terms of short-term loans to help you out if you’re in a pinch; even if you’ll never need it, this kind of backup gives you the confidence you need when traveling.
Have a look at this option, for example, which offers no credit check loans online instant approval so that you’re able to get home instantly if the situation should call for it. That way, you don’t have to call your friends and family for a short-term loan and can stay independent no matter what.
Know when to ask for help – Finally, one of the most important things you can do for yourself while traveling is to trust your gut feeling. If someone feels off or if you don’t feel safe, in general, approach a member of the staff wherever you are for help.
When it comes to judging people’s character, your instinct tends to get things right. Don’t stay in the dorm if you and a creepy someone are the only ones staying there, and keep in mind that it’s way better to be a bit too cautious than to end up in a dangerous situation.
Look after yourself, ask the staff for help if you think you need it, and trust your gut feeling no matter what.