Traveling alone can be such a liberating experience and you can learn so many new things about yourself. But solo travelers, especially females, can also be more vulnerable and make for easier targets. That said, it is in your own best interest to take a few precautionary measures to protect yourself while traveling alone.
Here are some important tips to consider:
Be wardrobe smart
Choose your outfits wisely. Apparel that marks you as a tourist should be avoided. Research the destination you are visiting to make sure you understand dress codes, behaviors and mannerisms. For example, in some regions, dressing more modestly and conservatively will draw less attention to yourself and help you to blend in.
Pick the right flight
Taking a flight that gets in at 2:30 a.m. may be cheaper, but do you really want to arrive in an unfamiliar city for the first time when the streets are dark and empty? I have always suggested to my clients, especially those traveling alone, that arriving in daylight allows you to be less tired and more alert.
Also, if you need to make any changes to your reservations, it’s more likely that a hotel manager will be on duty during the day to make any adjustments.
Reserve the right way
When booking your stay, chose a reputable hotel and request a room on floors between 3 and 6 that is away from elevators and stairs. Thieves will have one less opening to get into your room but, in case of a fire, they’re still not out of reach for most fire engine ladders.
Always have backups
Scan or photograph your passport, itineraries and credit cards. Email them to yourself and to a family member or friend. Have some extra money stashed in secret places like your cosmetics bag or a pill bottle in case your wallet goes missing.
Scan for scams
Be aware of potential scam artists, especially when you first meet someone. We’ve all seen one of those movies like Ransom or Taken, so use your judgment when making new friends while on the road.
Don’t be so eager to tell people where you are staying and be aware of those who may be listening to your conversation. Whether you’re filling out a form that asks for the address of where you’re staying, asking for directions or just making conversation, guard the location of your stay. Telling a white lie to strangers is perfectly OK in this case.
Be careful of cabs
Avoid unofficial-looking cabs even if they are cheaper. Calling an Uber or Lyft is better than taking an unlicensed cab. If you do take a taxi, be sure it is licensed and don’t share a ride with a stranger.
Show some modesty
Yes, we all want to look sharp and stylish while on vacation, but it’s best to leave your expensive jewels at home — even if it’s of the costume variety. You don’t want to seem like an opulent target.
When checking into your hotel, do a sweep once you enter your room and make sure it is unoccupied. Check closets and look under the bed, too.
Peepholes are your friend
Don’t open your door unless you check your peephole first, especially if you did not order room service or request any other services.
Lock it up
Make sure the door locks work. When leaving your room for the day, leave the radio or television on. Also, it’s okay to use the “do not disturb” sign if your room has already been cleaned.
It’s fine to decline
While dining out, being offered food and drinks from strangers may be flattering, but it’s safer to just decline. If you do accept the gesture, evaluate the situation very carefully before you partake. Trust your intuition and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Donna Wong is the owner of allureplus travel, a premier travel provider and destination specialist. Her dedicated and trusted team offers travel services worldwide for individuals and groups.