Safety is the prime concern and hurdle for anyone thinking about traveling solo. After having a good amount of experience in solo travel, I am sharing, in total, 25 safety tips and precautions to take while traveling alone.
Since this is a broad topic, I have divided it in three parts. This is Part 2 of the post and contains safety tips no. 9 to 16. For safety tips no. 1 to 8, do check out my previous blog post 25 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers – Part 1.
9. Carry sufficient cash
Always carry sufficient cash. India is a developing country where majority of transactions in day-to-day life still happen in cash. The amount of cash to be carried for the trip depends a lot on the kind of place/city you are visiting.
If you are doing a short solo trip of only few days or couple of weeks, it is better to carry cash than debit or credit card. You would not want to spend your time in an unknown city looking for a working ATM.
Sometimes, even visiting an ATM might put you in the jeopardy as people would know for sure that you are carrying cash taken out of ATM.
However, for a long solo trip, carry both cash and card; in fact, carry more than one card for emergency and contingency purpose.
10. Go with your gut feeling
It is no secret that humans, especially women, have a strong sixth sense. And such gut feeling becomes extremely prominent when you are by yourself.
In case of any emergency or a distress call, you don’t get so much time to actually think over; you just get seconds to decide. Most of the time, in situations like these, your sixth sense will show you the way out.
If you don’t feel right about a person or a place or a path to take, just trust your instincts and do what your gut feeling tells you.
11. Travel light
Unfortunately, lot of non-seasoned travelers travel with a lot of luggage. Only have as much luggage as you can carry by yourself, without the help of any other person or trolley.
No matter how long your trip is going to be, don’t carry more than one luggage and one handbag/purse/laptop bag. Less luggage means more freedom.
The more luggage you carry, the more distracted you will become while trying to manage and carry it, which obviously is not a good state while traveling solo.
12. Drink within limits
Solo trip is actually not an ideal trip to indulge in alcohol. It is always difficult to determine how much is too much. The best scenario is don’t drink at all.
But, in case you do, be very careful with whom you are talking to while and after drinking. Also, be extremely cautious about who is trying to get you drunk.
Just follow the basics like – drink within limits, don’t accept any drink from a stranger, drink only if the bottle or the can was opened in front of you, never leave your drink unattended even for a minute.
13. Keep important documents safely
Since you are traveling alone, take good care of your belongings and important documents. Always carry few extra copies of your travel related documents like identity proof, passport, driving license, booking confirmation, tickets, etc.
In fact, since most of the documents are available in soft format, email scanned copy of those documents to yourself.
Use locker facility, provided by hotels and hostels, to store your valuables, instead of just leaving them in your room. In case, you are not comfortable in leaving your valuables even in the locker, keep them in your waist bag, instead of purse that can be easily snatched or pickpocketed.
14. Carry and use maps
Get comfortable with using maps, either a hard copy or on your mobile phone, even before starting your trip. This is especially important for women as they are often stereotyped that they can’t read maps properly.
The moment you reach your destination/city, find out where exactly is your place of stay, where is the market, where are the other places of interest, how far they are from each other and from your place of stay, how much time will it take to reach them.
Having such information also helps in knowing if the charges quoted by the cabs/autos drivers are appropriate or not. Uber/Ola is available only in few cities in India, and generally, cabs/autos drivers tend to quote much higher rate to tourists.
If possible, carry a hard copy of the map for emergencies, like in case your mobile battery dies.
15. Avoid empty lanes or roads or short-cuts
Irrespective of whether you are visiting a tourist-friendly place or an off-beat destination, avoid taking empty roads or lanes. Even if you get lost somewhere in the city, make sure you stay in well-lit public areas.
In the hurry of reaching your destination, never opt for a short-cut which is deserted. Even I am guilty of doing the same mistake in Dalat, Vietnam. I had rented a motorbike to explore in and around Dalat. While returning from one of the waterfalls (which was around 45 kms away from the city) I opted for a shorter route shown on google map. That was my mistake.
Instead of taking the longer well-connected highway, I went to a single deserted lane when suddenly my motorbike stopped, and my heart-beat shot up. The self-start of the motorbike had given up. Thankfully, I knew how to kick start it and after couple of trials, it worked. And off I went, literally flying on the motorbike to cross that inside lane asap. It was my luck that nothing happened, but anything could have happened out there.
I was most vulnerable during that time. I learnt my lesson and never again did I do the foolishness of taking the short, but deserted, road.
16. Do not share your personal information with strangers
Do not tell everyone, too soon, that you are traveling alone. No matter how friendly a person might appear, be extremely cautious about the extent to which you share your personal information like your home address, office name, schedule, itinerary, etc. Take time to trust anyone.
Sometimes it could be tricky to avoid any direct question about your personal information; in that case, try to make your answer as generic or broad as possible, without disclosing the specifics.
Have you ever faced safety threats during your solo travel? How did you face them? Do you have any other safety tips to offer? How do you ensure your safety when you travel alone? Tell me in the comments section below.