Useful Tips for Traveling Alone

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Traveling alone can be a great experience but the most important concern of traveling by yourself is safety. Without anyone besides you, you are more vulnerable to criminals. Here are some preparations that you can do before you embark on your journey that will make your experience rewarding and safe. 

  • Thoroughly research the area.
    • Find sites that have reviews of the hotel and the neighborhood you plan to stay at to see if it is safe.
  • Plan your day out.
    • By planning out your day, you can get the most out of your trip (I like to have a list of things I want to do with an estimation of how long I plan on spending at each location. It also helps to overestimate your time by considering breaks, food, and the time it takes to get to each location and time spent at the location).
  • Give someone back home your itinerary.
    • This will give them a general idea of where you plan on going and when in case something goes wrong.
  • Regularly check-in.
    • As a good safety precaution, regularly check-in with someone back home over Skype, text or phone call to let them know where you are (I like to update my significant other a couple hours throughout the day just to see how her day is going and let her know what I have been up too).
  • Back up your documents.
    • Take pictures of all your documents and back them up online or through a cloud storage so you can gain access to them if you lose the physical copies. Documents like passport, IDs, ticket numbers, reservations, etc.. (I usually email myself tickets and reservations documents as a safety habit so that I can always access them from any device).
  • Pack light!
    • The less you bring with you, the easier it will be for you to keep track of it and be mobile. In addition, always keep your belongings close and don’t leave them unattended (I carry my backpack and duffel whenever I travel, but I keep track of my backpack the most since it has all my important documents and electronics).
  • Bring locks.
    • Always lock up your suitcase or bags whenever you check them in at the airport and hotel.
  • Leave the DO NOT DISTURB sign on your door.
    • I like to leave the DO NOT DISTURB sign on my door during my entire trip for a couple of reasons: 1. People are less likely to bother you, 2. I don’t see the reason why a maid would need to have your room cleaned daily (Most of the time they already provide plenty of towels).
    • In some case’s I leave the TV/lights on whenever I go out to make people think someone is inside the room.
  • List of phone numbers.
    • Keep a list of important phone numbers with you in the case of emergencies (I like to have a couple phone numbers already memorized).
  • Don’t keep all your money in one place.
    • I keep some cash in my wallet and the rest in my backpack whenever I travel. The last thing you want is to have your wallet stolen with all your money.
  • External phone charger.
    • Always make sure your phone battery is charged up and ready to go in the case of emergencies.
  • Try not to look lost.
    • Don’t pull out your phone or map in the middle of the street when you get lost. Find a cafe or a place to sit down and find out where you are. When you look lost, it makes you look vulnerable and people will try to take advantage of you.
  • Bring a portable door/window alarm.
    • I personally never thought of bringing one along nor did it cross my mind, but I could see why some people would. It increases your safety especially if you are a heavy sleeper.
  • Carry a safety mechanism.
    • Carrying a whistle or mace all work for self-defense, just in case. I don’t have any but will definitely be looking into one soon.
  • Never identify that you are alone.
    • Do not tell anyone at a hotel, cab, or chatting with people that you are alone. If you do tell strangers you meet at a club that you are alone, don’t tell them where you are staying at. This is crucial to your safety and I get paranoid about this myself and just like to tell them that I’m meeting up with someone.
  • Talk to your hotel front desk or locals
    • They can help you get around the area and places you should avoid.
  • Be alert and follow the crowd.
    • Always be aware of your surrounding and check behind you from time to time. The last thing you want is someone following you without you knowing. Also, never go into empty dark streets/alleys. Just follow the crowd and blend in even if it might take you longer to get back. You never want to risk your safety and just be smart about whats around you (When I was in New Orleans exploring at night there were a bunch of dark streets that I was told by locals to avoid and just follow the crowd. It was the smart and safe thing to do).
  • Blend in.
    • Try not to dress like a tourist. I don’t know what else to say besides don’t stand out especially if you’re traveling alone.
  • Drink in moderation.
    • Do not leave drinks unattended and know your limits. Don’t take any drinks from strangers and if you happen to leave your drink unattended, just buy another one. Do not risk it.

Let me know if there are any other useful tips that I may have missed!

STAY CURIOUS, STAY WANDERING

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