March 1st, 2018
How to Plan a Safe Solo Trip
Solo travel can be a transformative experience. Here’s how you can avoid dangerous situations on your independent getaway.
There are many reasons to choose solo travel. Maybe you want to go on a journey of self-discovery, or you’ve just experienced a loss and are looking for time to reflect. Perhaps there is an area of the world you’ve always wanted to visit and your usual traveling companion has no interest. Or maybe you simply have vacation time and savings, so you decide to go for it. Whatever the reason, packing your bag and choosing a solo trip can lead to one of the greatest adventures of your life.Traveling alone is a great chance to befriend some locals and fully immerse yourself in another culture.
Below, learn about different types of fun trips you can take when traveling solo and how you can stay safe during your journey.
Choose Your Own Adventure
- Take an Organized Trip: On this type of trip, every moment is basically planned for you. You travel in a group with a guide and you're given an itinerary. Transportation is provided and included in the overall cost. Some organized trips have themes (such as volunteering or extreme sports) while others are just for sightseeing. This is the safest option, since you'll be surrounded by others at nearly all times and it'll be harder for you to get lost.
- Pick a Partially Organized Trip: This selection combines some organized time with some alone time. For instance, maybe one day you go on a morning group hike and then have the rest of the day to wander the streets on your own. Then you’re back with the group in the evening. This option gives you the chance to make sure you’re hitting all the major sites and still have time for self-reflection and unexpected discoveries. Just remember: When you're by yourself, you have to be extra alert.
- Go for It Alone: If you truly want to travel alone 100% of the time, you'll have total control over your days (feel like sleeping in? go right ahead!) and the best chance to go outside your comfort zone. Just keep in mind that this form of solo travel is the riskiest. It makes you more of a target for pickpockets, so you have to be vigilant, especially in touristy areas (and a discreet money holder—like a money beltor neck wallet isn’t a bad idea either!). And it's easier to get lost when you don't have a guide pointing you in the right direction and helping you book transportation. You don't want to end up in a dark alley in the middle of the night!
1. Take advantage of daylight: When traveling alone, it's easier to see where you're going during the day, so get up early and try to do most of your trekking before sunset.
2. Don't stare at your phone: Not paying attention to your surroundings while walking around a city? That's exactly when thieves can strike. Always look confident, even when you’re not feeling that way. Plus, disconnecting allows you to stay in the moment, and connect with the culture around you (instead of the social media from back home).
3. Protect your belongings: During solo travel, carry important documents (such as your passport and wallet) in a money belt underneath your shirt so you can access it easily, but pickpockets won't be able to see or snag it.
4. Get insurance: Before you leave, make sure you have health and/or travel insurance when traveling alone. This could cover you against trip interruption or cancellation, illness or injury, or damage to your baggage or rental car.
5. Ask for help: If someone follows you as you stroll around, tell a police officer or walk into the nearest restaurant or shop and tell the owner that you're being followed.
6. Get lots of sleep. Bring a pillow, eye mask, and blanket on your trip, so you can snooze on any bus, train, or plane ride. The more well rested you are, the easier it'll be to stay alert. If you do decide to take a nap you may want to invest in a cable lock, which will either allow you to lock your bag to you or to an affixed object like a bench.
7. Brush up on safety tips for international travel: Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, this video will give you the 4-1-1 on how to keep yourself safe when you travel abroad.
Congrats! You are now ready for solo travel. You are an inspiration to many, and are fueling the dreams that feed your soul. Share your solo travel tips, below, and discover more ways to Find Your Unknown through travel!
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Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
4 of the Most Inspiring Female Travelers of the Last Century
Insider Knowledge: How to Meet Locals on a Solo Trip
Adventure Healthy: Everything You Need to Know About Travel Clinics
by Gretchen Harnick