How to stay safe while traveling alone?
I stayed in a hostel in South Beach, Florida, where I slept in an eight dorm room. My roommates were Italians, Americans, and Poles and together we often chilled in the lounge or on the couches at the inner yard. We talked, made music with the guitar and had some snacks. Everything was fine. Until I got home after a one day tour. The police were standing in the middle of the room while a Polish girl was crying and empty laptop cases lay on the bed.
Step by step I understood what had happened. We were robbed. Our room was robbed and my laptop was gone just like the ones from the others. I was so shocked because this never happened in my life before. Still, it was a lesson I had to learn. The world has always been filled with so many bad things that I can be thankful that I got out of this situation with just a stolen laptop. But this incident made me think differently. It teaches me not to be so naive to trust everybody.
It emerged that the thief was one of the guys in our room. It was a guy I was talking to every day. It was a guy I was sleeping together in one room. It’s scary, but it happened and I can’t change it anymore. By telling you this anecdote, I don’t just want to share my bad experiences with you. I also want to take the chance to give you some pieces of advice when traveling alone. Because not every journey is always fun and enjoyable. But here are some tips on how to stay safe while traveling alone.
Safety tips for traveling alone
1. Keep your valuables in a safe place
When sleeping in a dorm with lots of strangers, put all your valuables such as your passport, laptop, camera or something else that is important to you in a safe. Most hostels and hotels have one. Just ask at the reception and the staff will help you out. Also, make sure to have a copy of your most important travel documents in case you lose your passport or ID.
2. Avoid parks by night
I don’t use pepper spray, but it can be helpful when someone or something is attacking you. But the best protection you can do is simply avoid parks and sketchy streets by night. That way you can stay safe while traveling alone.
3. Carry a safety kit
When making a road trip, always carry a safety kit including jumper cables, flares, first aid supplies, reflectors, flashlights and an extra gallon of gas. This helps you out when the car has a breakdown or you’re in trouble.
4. Be careful with hitchhikers
Speaking about a road trip, you might see some hitchhikers. Be careful with picking them up. They are strangers and you don’t know them. On the contrary, you shouldn’t hitchhike on your own, too. You never know the person, whom you get into the car.
5. Pull over
Driving can be tiring. But if you feel tired, pull over to a safe spot or resting area. That way, you prevent an accident. Besides this, you can also prevent hurting someone else. So, drive carefully and make sure you’ve got enough sleep.
6. Be more careful
Young women receive more attraction than anybody else. Don’t feel too flattered and be more careful. Some people use your naivety – even other women. So, not trusting everyone was a lesson I also had to learn on my way of how to stay safe while traveling alone.
7. No drinks from strangers
If you go to a bar, a club or a house party in a foreign country, don’t take drinks from strangers. Get your drink right away from the barkeeper and always watch your glass.
8. Have the right outfit
Either it’s a church or just a religious site, choose your outfits wisely. Shorts or a cropped top might get you into trouble. Cover your shoulders and wear 3/4 shorts to show some respect for other cultures.
9. Have a backup plan
If you get robbed, make sure to have a good backup plan. Put some money in another pocket or better yet, wear a little shoulder bag under your T-shirt. By doing this, thieves don’t get a chance and your money stays safe.
10. Tell things wisely
When you need to write down your address, be sure that nobody has an eye on it. And don’t ever tell people where you are staying. Strangers might follow you to your accommodation.
These tips might be old, but they are still gold. You forget those things when you travel alone until it happens to you. Just be aware and keep my tips in mind when you are all by yourself. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t always be afraid and I don’t want to scare you off. All I want is nothing more than that you have fun and be free while exploring the globe on your own.
If you’re interested in reading one of my solo guides, I can recommend reading about my Marrakech trip. I’ve traveled alone in this vibrant city for a couple of days and it was a great experience. Have you ever traveled alone? Or do you have more tips? Just share it with me in the comments below.
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