Traveling alone can be one of the most exciting and enlightening times of your life. Many people love the idea of solitary travel, getting away on their own to think and relax and traveling alone is becoming very common. To avoid any unpleasant surprises or incidents while traveling alone there are things you should consider before you embark on your explorations.
When Traveling Alone Always Keep in Touch with a Close Friend
Even though you are traveling alone, you shouldn’t be the only one who knows about your trip. Check in regularly, and by regularly, I mean at least daily, with a friend or family member at home who could set the proverbial alarm bell if you fail to call at a certain time. Always let the designated safety checker know where you are going, and with whom.
If you are being accompanied by a new friend, it is a great idea to include a photo of the individual when you relay your whereabouts to your friend at home. This is where the infamous “group selfie” and social media comes in handy.
Don’t Be Distracted while Traveling Alone
There are many things to look at and lots of details to remember at when you are traveling. Don’t let the glamour of a new place or the details of making plans and getting settled make you forget your cautious side, though. Stay focused on where you are going and who is around you. Make sure you touch base with the “locals” so people see and remember you. Check with the front desk at the hotel to make sure they see you coming and going. Make yourself friendly in restaurants so those you meet can remember when and where they last saw you.
Don’t Become Intoxicated or High
This seems to be a good rule of thumb even when you are alone in familiar surroundings, however when you leave the country this is even more important. When traveling alone, it is not the right time to get intoxicated or high. Don’t have more than one or two drinks, and don’t even consider taking any illegal substances. This has led many a solo traveler into a situation where they are taken advantage of, robbed or worse. Whether you are a man or women, when you are out of control your are a target.
Plan for Disaster
It seems counter intuitive to plan for disaster, but when you travel alone, you need to always have a “plan B”. Before you go on your trip, sit down with friends and family and brainstorm the possibility of everything that could go wrong. Think about what you would do if your credit card was stolen, or your passport. Have a second copy of important documents in a separate place from the originals in case the originals are lost or stolen. Have a list of emergency numbers, as well as, the phone number for your country’s embassy. Take more money than you think you will need, in case of any emergencies. It is unlikely any of these things will happen but better safe than sorry. This particular point actually applies to folks traveling alone or in a group. Always prepare for things to happen.
Know Key Phrases in the Local Language
Even if the country you are visiting has many English speakers, it is not likely that absolutely everyone knows English. Always assume that you will need to know at least key words and phrases in the country’s main language. Learn phrases such as, “Where is the nearest telephone”, “I need help” and “Do you speak English?” Because you are traveling alone, it is especially important to be able to communicate with those around you, in order to escape potentially bad situations.
Know Something about the Culture
Be aware of the customs and culture of the country you are visiting. Every part of the world has different rules about what is acceptable and what is not. Things that you may never question in North America may be considered offensive or even a crime in other countries.
Simple things like chewing gum in public and having certain body parts uncovered can be a big mistake, depending on where you are visiting. If you don’t want to risk offending those who live in the country you are traveling in, or perhaps even be imprisoned… study the culture of the country you are traveling to and do your best to fit in and obey the rules.
When Traveling Alone Definitely Use a Travel Agent
If you are planning to do some traveling alone, it is a good idea to work with a travel agent. They can be an important ally to help you if something goes wrong along the way. Let your family know who your agent is so that if they don’t hear from you she can give them info on your itinerary. Travel agents can also assist with issues in the itinerary and relieve traveling stress.
Traveling alone is an adventure and a great joy to many individuals. Be prepared, and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the excitement without knowing what do to in an emergency situation. Consider the details of your safety so that your travels can more likely be free of any major complications.