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Traveling around the world is awesome. Doing so on your own can be even better, albeit challenging sometimes; for example, you have to be much more vigilant when traveling alone than when on the road with a traveling partner to watch your back!
Safety comes first and planning can bring you to the next level of solo travel. So, if you are thinking of going solo, here are a few tips on how to prepare for the journey.
1. plan ahead
I’m not talking about planning every minute of the next month or so, but using online resources to prepare for travel and plan your next destination can go a long way in keeping you safe and on the road for longer.
If you are looking to make the most of your budget, use websites like Looking4Parking UK to find cheap airport parking ahead of time. Lonely Planet helps you get much-needed knowledge on your next destination, and Fly Onward can be the answer if you’re a digital nomad.
2. use trusted websites
When booking accommodation or making other travel related expenses, it’s important to only use trusted sites. Travelers are spoilt for choice when it comes to booking sites, but there are many scams out there. If anything looks fishy, trust your gut feeling and don’t book with them. Often, a simple online search about the company will show you if you can trust a certain website or not.
3. downsize your luggage
I’m a strong advocate of minimalist travel, which is why I only travel with a small carry-on bag. It is essential to travel light as a solo traveler. If you are stuck with a massive suitcase, you can’t even go to the restroom and leave your stuff behind without alerting security or worrying about everything you own being stolen. Only take a bag that fits in a cubicle with you.
4. get insurance
I have said it before but I’ll say it again: Insurance is life. You don’t want to be stuck with a medical emergency abroad and no means to get help. Insurance is the ultimate peace of mind purchase; yes, you’ll try your best to stay safe at all time, but if something goes wrong, at least you have insurance to fall back on.
5. blend in
Tourists are an easy target. Especially single female travelers can attract unwanted attention. The most important thing is to act like you belong. Act with confidence and do as the locals do.
Prepare by doing your research on local customs and the area where you’ll be staying. Remember that customs vary around the world, and some actions that may be considered rude at home can be perfectly normal somewhere else. In any case, if you feel uncomfortable, get out of the situation you’re in straight away.
6. safety is in the numbers
If you want to explore a remote location, it’s best to find a temporary travel friend. You might be fine on your own in a small-town community or a large city, but on a road trip through sparsely populated areas, it’s best to have a travel companion or a group you can join.
7. stay in touch
You might want to experience a trip on your own, but don’t let family and friends back home worry about you. Communicate on a regular basis to let them know where you are and where you are heading next. This also gives you more security, as someone is keeping an eye on you remotely (hopefully without pestering you!).
8. be an early bird
Plan your days well in advance so you do most of the things you want to do as early in the day as possible. That’s so you can avoid being outside at night. There are, of course, many neighborhoods that are safe for solo female travelers at night – and I’m not saying you should stress over having a detailed schedule - but being aware of how long each activity will take can help you keep an eye on the time.
9. keep your travel money safe
Hide your travel money among your belongings so you don’t have all of it on you at all times. Always carry a little extra cash on you when you go out (out of sight, of course), just in case something goes wrong with your card or you need to make a small purchase and the store doesn’t accept cards.
10. provide your own entertainment
Being on your own means having a lot of time, which is ace. But there will be times when you want some entertainment on the road, so make sure you’ve downloaded a few books or movies and series to keep you company (especially for times when the Wi-Fi deserts you). You won’t want to spend every day and every night partying and going on adventures, so plan for the times when you’ll want to chill alone.