When travelling alone, it's really important to stay safe. When you're in a new place with no one to look out for you, it can be a little bit daunting, and risks are a bit more severe. But you shouldn't be put off solo travel – it can be one of the most rewarding ways to trot around the globe thanks to the freedom you have to do exactly what you want, and it's pretty easy to take a few simple precautions to make sure you stay safe.
It makes sense to do a little bit of extra planning when travelling on your own – you can't rely on another person to help you out if you've forgotten something. If you're backpacking rather than holidaying, make sure to book accommodation in advance when possible, to avoid having to wing it when solo – ending up in a sketchy situation is far riskier when alone than with someone else.
Pack light, too – there's no one else to help you carry your stuff! One bag on your back, and one in your hands, at the absolute maximum. Be careful with valuables, as you can't rely on a travelling partner's phone or stash of cash – splitting your cash up between your pockets and bags can avoid the whole lot getting stolen, and carrying a backup phone could help you out in a tight spot.
Speaking of phones, rather than taking a brand new iPhone on your normal contract, invest in a cheaper, unlocked smartphone and pick up a new SIM in every country you go to – it's cheaper than facing roaming charges!
Learn to communicate
Picking up a bit of the local language is all the more important when travelling solo – most importantly, learn how to say "no" in a variety of ways. A polite "no, thank you!", a more stern "absolutely not", and a local negative hand gesture will be essential in avoiding any unwanted attention as a solo traveller. Don't let yourself be pressured into situations you are not comfortable with.
Spotting other solo travellers is a great skill that you'll pick up with time, and it's a great way to find some company, or learn about local spots you might have missed. Fellow travellers are usually happy to chat, but don't feel like you have to stick with them – if they ask to join you for longer than you're comfortable with, don't feel like you have to say yes.
Without wanting to put anyone off the fantastic experience of travelling solo, you are more vulnerable when alone than you are with another person. Avoiding dark alleys, taking an official and licensed taxi rather than braving an unfamiliar subway at night, having emergency numbers stored in your phone and written down elsewhere, and generally keeping your wits about you may seem like obvious tips, but it doesn't mean they're not still essential. Be careful out there, and happy travelling!
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