Tips For Traveling on Your Own
If you have the heart of an independent explorer, traveling alone is a fulfilling way to see the world on your terms. You can travel at your own pace, partake in activities that interest you, eat when and where you please, and you never have to negotiate with a partner on the common accompanied travel dilemmas such as “Well, I want to see this Museum,” when museums bore you and you would rather take in the sights and sounds of strolling through a city’s park.
Of course, there are cons to traveling alone: It can be more expensive, you don’t have a built-in sightseeing or dining companion, and no one to help you figure out a Plan B if something goes awry.
The experience of solo travel is intensely personal. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to discover more about yourself while at the same time discovering more about where you are visiting. It’s essentially a gift from you to you. If you are considering traveling solo, keep these tips in mind before and during your journey-they’ll help you have a safer, happier solo trip.
It’s important when traveling solo to always equip a family member or friend with your contact information, places you’ll be staying, and other important details about your trip. If you’re planning a backpacking trip and planning your itinerary as you go, it’s smart to equip a person whom you’re close with all relevant information ahead of time. This ensures you have a backup if something goes wrong as well as providing peace of mind to your loved ones. If you know you will be in areas where cell service will be limited, periodically check in on social media platforms such as Facebook. A social media update, even if it’s private and only viewable to your friends, will ease a lot of minds and keep you from having to send multiple emails and texts.
Back Up Documentation
Making copies of your passport, social security card, and other important paperwork could be a true life saver if for some reason you lose your ID. It will be much easier to get a replacement passport or new train ticket if you already have necessary proof of identity on hand. Before you leave, make copies of all necessary documents (passport, driver’s license, airline ticket, visa, etc.) and scan them to your laptop, tablet, or other electronic device, then email the set to a friend or family member for safekeeping.
Study your Destination
Be aware of safety concerns as well as of local customs and etiquette, especially with regard to dress. When in doubt, opt for conservative. Women travelers should know in advance if harassment is an issue — and both men and women should get the safety lowdown on public transportation. Talk to locals about neighborhoods to avoid, especially after dark. Know the local number to call for emergencies.
Stash Your Money, C.C.’s, and Passport Separately
Never keep large amounts of money on you. Keep some money and credit cards in your wallet or purse, and additional money and cards in a pocket or money pouch. When sightseeing, carry only a copy of your passport's data page, keeping your passport locked in your hotel safe. (It's also good to leave a copy of the data page with someone at home.) On travel days, carry your passport separately from your money and credit cards.
Ensure Your Accommodations Are Safe & Be Aware of Surroundings
Keeping your door locked may seem like common sense but another tip when booking your accommodations is to try to snag a room close to where the action is — near the concierge desk, say, or near elevators. Stay away from ground floors where window entry is possible. Don't answer the door if you're not expecting anyone. Traveling alone doesn't mean always having to be on the edge but don't let yourself get distracted by sights and sounds (or recording every moment on camera) that you let your guard down. To sum up, being aware of your surroundings in one statement: Don't leave common sense at home.
Some may have the mentality that “It won’t happen to me,” and it may not, but if you’re jet setting all over the world you are encountering thousands upon thousands of people. It’s important to strengthen your immune system before your trip. You can do this by taking a pro-biotic or supplements. Packing hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with at least 50% alcohol will also help clear any immediate germs you may come in contact with. If you will be at airports, train stations, and other public spaces here are some of the main tips to keep you healthy while away:
1) Wear socks through airport security
2) Stay at least six feet away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or simply appears to look sick
3) Prep your seating area by disinfecting the tray table, armrests, headphones, digital screens, and windows.
4) Point the overhead air vent down (if you’re on a plane) so the current flows vertically in front of your face. This helps divert potentially infectious droplets away from you.
Solo travel is incredibly rewarding, but prior to venturing out alone you really should take into consideration the above tips. Many of these instances are for precautionary reasons but are vital to your safety and overall well-being. Like the famous saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”