Traveling in groups or even with just one companion could sometimes get irritating. You need to agree on your itinerary, and you have to stick to it if you don’t want an argument to break out in the middle of your trip. It’s good if you have flexible companions who would share the same travel habits as you or would at least understand you if you suddenly want to stay in bed. Otherwise, try traveling alone.
Solo travel has its downsides as well as perks. Of course, among the perks is making your itinerary and being able to disregard it when you feel like doing something else. You could extend or cut short your vacation as you wish. Also, since you don’t have your trusty buddy to share opinions with while going island hopping, you will be forced to interact with new people, even if it’s to ask them to take your photo.
The downside is obviously the security issue. Most dangers, truth be told, are all in our minds. Unless you’re going to an area under conflict, avoiding mugging, trafficking, and other forms of attacks could be done if you exercise common sense. For example, going to some remote place with people you barely know just for the thrill of it is risky. With or without a companion, that kind of attitude could get you in trouble. Nonetheless, here are some basic tips on how to travel alone safely.
Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
Plastic bracelets or jewelry are the best to adorn your outfits when traveling. You’d still look fashionable without attracting the interest of muggers. If you’re traveling for a friend’s wedding or some formal events and you feel that you need to wear expensive accessories to fit in, wear them only to that occasion. On other days, keep them in your hotel’s safe box. If you’re planning to travel around after, consider using handcrafted jewelry that isn’t made of expensive materials.
If you’re scared of people hitting on you, wear a wedding band. If they still hit on you despite this, you would know what kind of people they are.
Place as little money in your wallet.
Using a card is impossible for all transactions, especially if you’re traveling to remote areas of a country. You will need some cash on you. Use inconspicuous things to store your money. Don’t put it in a bag that could easily be snatched from you. You could put it in the lining of your jacket.
Allocate a budget for bank transaction charges and carry enough money for three to four days. It’s better if you withdraw small amounts of money from time to time rather than bring a large amount of cash with you.
Don’t be too wary of locals, even if they look suspicious to you.
Remember, it’s not your territory. Instead of helping you when you find yourself in danger, you might be left to your own devices.
Aside from being rude, you don’t want to look scared and defenseless. You might even inadvertently attract the ire and attention of local bullies or criminals.
Never accept drinks from a stranger.
This is a basic traveling protocol. If you’re traveling alone, it’s best not to go to bars at all unless you intend to tour the bars in some city. Look for group tours that offer a bar-hopping experience if you really want to try it. There are also tours of local breweries and wineries. It’s better to go via the tour agencies than risk getting tipsy on your own.
Hitchhiking should be your last option.
Backpackers the world over are so fond of hitchhiking. It’s the cheapest way to go around. But it’s dangerous even when you’re doing it as a group, more so when you’re traveling alone. The hype because of the movies is indeed greater than the statistics of crimes committed against hitchhikers. But still, it means crimes had been committed and that the danger is real.
There are circumstances when it’s safe. For example, you have met some locals who were vacationing at the resort you were staying in, and they offer you a ride going back to the city. Even then, make sure that it’s not a modus operandi. It’s still best to pay your fare. A few dollars saved is nothing compared to your security.
Maintain communications with a friend or a relative.
No matter how well-planned your trip is, you need to make sure someone knows when something goes wrong. Inform them when you’re going to a place where you couldn’t get in touch with them for some time and set a schedule when you should be able to go online again.
Traveling should be an enjoyable experience. It also needs some level of an adventurous spirit. If you get anxious when you see people who don’t look like you or when you see places that don’t look like your neighborhood, traveling with companions wouldn’t do you any good either. You would be uncomfortable most of the time. You might be better off just going on a staycation. Book yourself in a hotel near you and sleep to your heart’s content.