Travelling solo can be incredibly exciting and liberating, but it’s also risky. If you’re travelling with a friend or partner, you have someone to rely on, and you can keep an eye on each other. If anything bad happens, you have someone there to support you. Solo travel has many perks, but you definitely need to be cautious. Here are nine mistakes that you should avoid if travelling by yourself.
Don’t think you have to stay in hostels
It’s easy to resign yourself to the idea that you have to stay in hostels to make solo travel affordable, but there’s no reason why you can’t stay in a hotel on apartment. Book your accommodation in advance, so that you can keep your eyes peeled for good deals on solo hotel rooms or affordable Airbnb rentals.
Don’t forget to let someone know where you are
Don’t get swept away in the excitement of a solo trip; remember to let someone know where you are at all times. Keep family and friends back home regularly updated every time you go on a day trip, move accommodation, or travel to a new place. You could also alert the receptionist at your hotel if you are going out for the day, just in case something happens.
Avoid early morning or late night flights
Avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable position where you’re hanging around outside the airport in the dark. Book flights that arrive in the middle of the day, and avoid early morning or late night arrival times. You’ll feel much safer and get your trip off to a better start if you arrive to a bustling airport, where you can weigh up your options before heading to your accommodation.
Don’t forget to store emergency cash
Always have cash stored on your person, in a hidden bag compartment or jacket pocket, or even in your shoe. If you are robbed, lose your purse or unexpectedly run out of money, it’s important to have back-up money on your person, especially if you are traveling on your own.
Don’t be scared to talk to people
As long as you feel safe, use your solo travel experience as an opportunity to meet new people. Don’t be scared to talk to people and to use your trip as a way to meet new friends. If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, talk to the people in the reception or communal areas. Make conversation in a café or a bar. Speak to locals and get their tips for where to go and what to see.
Don’t forget to enjoy time alone
However, don’t forget that there is a reason why you embarked on a solo trip. Enjoy the freedom of your own company, whether that means eating alone in a restaurant, wandering around a gallery on your own, or exploring a city at your own pace. The beauty of solo travel is that you can do whatever you want, all day long, without having to compromise with others.
Don’t get drunk
Remember, there’s no one to look out for you, and you can’t always trust strangers. Having one or two drinks in a bar is a great way to loosen up and meet new people, but we would strongly advise against getting intoxicated either on your own or with people that you have just met.
Don’t ignore potential dangers
Read up on any potential dangers of your destination before you travel and do your best to avoid them. If there are neighbourhoods that are notorious for being unsafe, avoid them as best as you can, especially after dark. Don’t flash money, cameras or jewellery in destinations that are rife with robbery. Be aware of rip tides, dangerous local wildlife and other potential risks.
Avoid booking accommodation in dodgy areas
Before booking, look up your hotel on Google street view, read reviews and research the area you will be staying in. Even if it means paying a little bit more, stick to areas that you know are safe both during the day and at night. The most important thing when travelling solo is that you have a safe place to retreat to, so your accommodation should feel safe and welcoming.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.