Traveling alone has become a popular trend in the last couple of years. As much as it can be a fun and enlightening experience, traveling alone can also be dangerous. If you’re considering hitting the road by yourself, there are a couple of things you should know first before you step foot into the unknown.
Besides the century-old advice “don’t trust strangers,” there are a couple of things you should keep in mind, such as registering with the state department and planning your trip ahead of time. With that said, here are five tips that will make your solo traveling experience safer and more comfortable.
#1 Arrive During the Day
The general rule when traveling alone is to always arrive at your destination during the day. Being in a completely new and unknown environment is scary in itself. You don’t have to make it even scarier by getting there in the middle of the night. Besides, having some daylight will help you get your way around town more easily and find your accommodation without much stress.
Keep in mind that areas such as bus and train stations can seem terrifying at night. You don’t have to go through such a stressful experience when it’s much easier to arrange your transportation to arrive during the daytime.
#2 Plan Ahead
Planning should be your number one priority when traveling. Not only will you feel safer and more organized on the road, but you will also be able to make better use of your time simply by planning.
The goal here is to plan where you’re going to stay so you know exactly where to go once you reach the destination. Make sure to plan out your activities and have a rough outline of your day if you don’t like planning things to the minute. Doing this will make your solo travel experience way less stressful.
#3 Register with the State Department
For example, one of the things we would recommend you to do is to register with the State Department if you are a U.S. citizen and if you’re planning to travel internationally. The State Department has a completely free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Signing up for this program is quite simple, and it will bring you more peace of mind while you’re traveling abroad.
Once you sign up for the program, you will be put into a travelers database, meaning the State Department would be able to assist you in case of any emergency in another country. If you’re not a citizen of the United States, do some research to determine whether your country offers a similar program.
#4 Lie a Little
Once you reach your destination, you will likely have to engage to some point with other people. As much as you imagine this to be a completely “left on your own” type of experience, chances are you will get into contact with another person one way or another. For instance, if you get into a cab, you will find yourself in a potentially risky situation.
That’s why it’s best to bend the truth a little bit when talking about your whereabouts. If you’re taking a cab to the museum, for example, make sure to let the other person know you are not alone. For instance, say something along the lines of: “Can you take me to the museum? I’m meeting a friend in a few minutes.”
#5 Don’t Forget Cybersecurity
There is more to safety than just being physically safe. As a traveler, you will likely connect your devices to new internet networks, including public ones available in parks, coffee shops, airports, and other similar locations. This can put your data security at risk, especially since hackers often target open and free Wi-Fi networks.
Therefore, make sure to sign up for a reputable VPN service and learn how to use it before you hit the road by yourself. A virtual private network will not only boost the security of your data and devices but will also help you find cheaper flight and accommodation deals. With the right VPN service, you can virtually change your location and access better pricing deals from different countries.
Although we were banned from traveling to most of the world’s countries for over a year, it looks like things are getting better, and we might be able to travel internationally again. However, it is still important to respect social distancing and other safety measures to ensure you and everyone around you is not exposed to health risks. If you’re planning to travel alone, keep in mind that you will have to pay special attention to security, both in terms of physical and online security.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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