Solo travel means you have to plan and make your trip without a long-term companion. You can decide everything from location, departure time to accommodation and food. In this case, your personal preferences matter the most. Yet, it also means that you have to handle unexpected and dangerous situations alone without anyone by your side. So, how can you break free to explore and also be safe on the trip?
Here are 6 tips for solo travellers:
1. Save the emergency number
You need to note the emergency numbers to call the rescue team so that they will arrive promptly in unexpected situations such as theft, accident or illness. Especially when you are travelling abroad, the loss of documents and money will be more serious, which makes it difficult for you to continue your journey. Save the phone hotline of the police, ambulance, fire truck and also the embassy of your original country in the destination. They represent public forces who will certainly support all residents and tourists, so feel free to ask them for help.
European 112: SOS
2. Don't wear expensive jewellery or fancy-looking items
It's a holiday and we can all dress up a bit. This is a perfect occasion to wear the beautiful accessories that we have worked so hard to purchase. However, it opens the door for robbers to mug. Opportunists might target tourists to snatch their expensive jewellery. Likewise, the items that do not cost a lot but look ostentatious can attract their attention. Therefore, we should hide away those sparkling and expensive accessories to pass by the burglars safely.
For example, if you're going to a party and still want to dress up, you should only wear the items at the venue. Then when you get out of there, take them off and put them in your pocket carefully.
3. Be aware of your surroundings
If you are travelling alone, do not put yourself in a vulnerable situation, for example, going to a house party or to nightclubs. Surely, you will find unexpected companions there and share happy stories together. However, the situation becomes uncertain if you are no longer aware of the way to return to your accommodation. When you are intoxicated, even a normal walk is a challenge, not to mention protecting yourself from strangers. As such, the best way is to refrain from drinking too much alcohol when you participate in parties with strangers.
4. Disguise your tourist identity
As dramatic as it may sound, pretending to be a local who has lived here for a long time is simple. The keys to a successful "play" are self-confidence and a know-it-all manner. For example, if a stranger approaches and asks if you travel alone. The worst response would be "Yes, I am going alone, I'm scared and confused about this dark area". Instead, let's just say you have been studying here for a few years, standing here waiting for your friends. This assertiveness means that you are familiar with the place and not an easily fooled tourist.
5. Join a travel group
Travelling alone doesn’t mean you can't have companions on your trip. You can connect to other solo travellers with similar destinations on Couchsurfing or Facebook groups (eg. The Solo Female Traveller Network). Before meeting them in person, make sure you read the comments of people who have travelled with them before. That will help you decide if they are trustworthy. We also have travel groups listed on our site if you'd like to check them out!
6. Leave a footprint
In the Into The Wood movies, the characters often leave visibly coloured marks on the trees. It helps show other adventurers the trail they have taken. Likewise, with your journey, you can share your adventure on personal blogs or send your route map to family members. As such, your family will know where you are, what you are doing and anticipate your location in case of urgent circumstances.
Polarsteps: Travel tracker application
Written by: @Khuat Ngoc Ha, Public Relations Volunteer for Amunì Travel Forum