Staying safe is one of the most important things when traveling. When you’re solo traveling it’s even more important and there’s just a bit more to keep in mind. If something bad happens to you, there’s no family member or friend to help you out so preparation is the key here! It’s not the happiest things to think about, but you gotta do what you gotta do. So, here are my tips on staying safe while traveling solo.
Let people know where you are
This is one of the most important things to do, letting people at home know where you are. It’s not something you want to think about, but if something bad happens to you, knowing the places you’ve been will be critical information. You don’t have to update them about everything and anything, but as soon as you depart to a different city let somebody at home know this. Also, make sure that your parents/ friends know which hotels / hostels you’re staying at.
Have scheduled contact moments
My mom wasn’t the happiest when I told her I was going to travel solo in Cambodia, but hey, I’m a big girl right ;). We agreed upon contact moments every other day. It could be as much as ‘hey, I’m still alive.’ These moments are just to make sure that everything is still okay and nothing happened. No worries at the home base! Make sure you let people know if you’re going to be in areas without phone reception, to prevent your mom sending out an entire rescue team while you’re just chilling in the sun.
Carry essential information with you
Phone numbers to block your bank card and phone sim card. The adres of your countries’ embassy in the country you’re traveling. Your insurance numbers and phone number from the insurance company. Phone numbers from your parents (in case you don’t know them by heart). The adres of the hotel you’re staying at. These are all the basic things you should carry with you at all times. In case you get robbed it’s important to immediately block everything, finding somebody with a phone isn’t that hard. Finding a place where you can go online and search how to block your bankcard can be a whole lot harder! Make sure you also have an online backup together with photo copies of your bankcards, passport and hotel / flight information.
Have identification on you
Carry identification on you, in most cases this can be (a copy of) your passport. If you’re planning on big hikes, motor bike tours or when you’re traveling in some tougher areas. You might want to consider an identification bracelet or necklace. When something happens to you this will help your rescuers lots! Next to that carry an ICE number (write down on a paper, or carry in wallet) with you so people know who to call when you’re in need. If you have some critical medical information about your health, be sure to carry that with you as well!
Trust your instinct
Yes, pretty basic, but trust your instinct. If you feel like your taxi driver is this weird guy taking a massive detour, just get out. If you don’t trust the people working at your hotel, leave and book another room! Be careful and don’t trust people to easy. On the other hand, don’t be to scared of meeting the wrong people and not talk to anyone. Your instinct will tell you when to trust somebody and when not. I had moments when I wanted to get away from a person as soon as possible, but I also hang out with a local driver and his friends for a few nights, because I just felt it was ok.
Divide your valuables
Don’t carry all your valuables together, because it’ll suck when you get robbed. Separate your money, carry a bit in a wallet, but also put money between your socks and in your toiletry bag. Also, don’t carry your debet and credit card in the same wallet. Try to make sure that if you get robbed you still have some back up money and another card to retrieve money with :). Traveling with two wallets is also a good idea, carry one with just some money and some expired cards, carry another one with your real cards that you hide well!
Watch your belongings
Yes, I know, I know, obvious. But even if you think you’re watching your belongings you might be wrong. Stuff was stolen out of my room when I was asleep, they opened the window and grabbed my bag that was underneath it. Falling asleep on trains and busses can also be tricky, because before you know it you wake up with your bag missing. Going to toilets can even be a struggle, because it’s not always possible to leave your bag somewhere safe. Always check if your hostel has a safe that you can lock your stuff in, or travel with a Pacsafe to secure your stuff. It’s just easier to lose your stuff when you’re traveling alone!
Ofcourse it’s not possible to prevent bad stuff from happening, just make sure you’re prepared and you did the best you could to prevent the worst 🙂
What are your tips for staying safe while traveling solo?
image by Laura Austin