Everyone should be able to experience everything amazing the world has to offer, and many are now choosing to do so alone. According to ABTA’s 2018 Holiday Habits report, 15% of travellers said they would choose to take a trip on their own, up from 6% in 2011.
As the world gradually returns to normal, we are sure that this number will only grow larger as we all once again turn our attentions to more exciting climes. But if you travel alone it’s important you do so safely, so here are our five key tips on making sure that happens.
Research and plan your trip
The more preparatory research you do, the safer you can ensure your trip will be.
When researching destinations, ask friends, consult government foreign travel advice, and check out forums like those on Trip Advisor so you can work out how safe your destination is before you touch down.
It’s also important to book your flights and accommodation in advance, then keep all the important details and documents at hand (and preferably saved online) so you can travel seamlessly, stress and danger-free.
Use your common sense
Your common sense is arguably your best tool for staying safe while travelling alone. Stick to simple rules:
- Don’t travel alone at night in less-frequented parts of town
- Trust your instincts when things don’t feel right
- Share your itinerary with someone at home
- Don’t drink too much so you’re alert and aware
- Never tell complete strangers that you are exploring alone.
Protect your valuables
Staying safe covers your possessions too – no one wants to be left queuing at a consulate because their passport has been stolen.
Here, common sense wins again. Don’t travel with things you would really miss if you lost them, and when at your destination, leave important documents, the lion’s share of your money, and any other valuables locked up safe.
And when you’re travelling by plane or train, even if it’s from a relatively safe corner of the world such as King’s Cross Station, keep your important stuff safely on your person – not in your stowed luggage.
In many parts of the world, if you look and act like you don’t belong, you can earn unwelcome attention.
That’s why it can be a good idea to be inconspicuous: don’t flash expensive belongings, dress appropriately for the setting, be polite and considerate, and act confidently. And if you find yourself lost (you will!), get your bearings somewhere safe off-street, like a café or tourist information bureau.
Spend a little extra
Budgeting is a must for any trip – alone or otherwise – but when considering travel safety, it often makes sense to eschew the cheapest option.
This might mean choosing accommodation in a nicer part of the city that has better reviews as opposed to a spare room in the suburbs. Paying extra for a flight or train that arrives during the day means you will have plenty of daylight to get your bearings in your new surroundings. And choosing reputable tour operators over discount ones will mean you can experience new things without the looming feeling something might go wrong.
As you can see, staying safe when travelling alone calls for real consideration. But it’s not too difficult to guard yourself against danger – and doing so will make your trip all the more satisfying as a result.