I have already shared the perks of travelling solo, and the darker stories from my travels, which I strongly encourage you to read and share your own experiences in the comments’ section. Over the years I have learnt the ways to make my travels safer and smoother so my mum does not have to go a little bit more grey each time I fly somewhere.
Prepare your trip schedule and check how you are going to get to your accommodation.
Know Who To Ask For Help
When I need help or information when I am lost I tend to approach families with kids, or females.
Simply yet effective, never admit you are on your own. Pretend that you are traveling with a group or someone else and have to meet them at certain hour in a specific location.
Keep your accommodation details for yourself as well as private details that might indicate that you maybe wealthy. Remember that to be considered as a wealthy person in some countries you do not have to have a yacht or a mansion. Your old iPhone, or second hand Mulberry bag can be one of the indicators to a thief.
Someone/Somewhere Feels Dodgy
Do not ignore your internal alarm bells. It might be nothing but do you really want to stay to check? Trust your gut feeling.
Know Your Limits
If you know that at home three cocktails is one too many do not try to push your luck in a new place, where you do not have friends to take you safely back to your accommodation. Have fun but stay alert of your surroundings.
Know Where You Going
Appear to have a purpose and try not to appear lost. It is hard but there is not an easier target that a tourist with three large bags in the middle of a poorly lit street.
Be Nearby People in Trains/Buses/Tramps
Avoiding empty carriages will not give you 100% guarantee that you will not be robbed but, you are less likely to be attacked when part of a group. As with knowing who to ask for help I try to stand nearby families and females.
Let Your Family Know Where You Are Going
Give your mum, dad, sister your schedule and let them know if something changes. If something goes wrong they will be the first one to work with police.
Check In Times
Regular contact with your friends and family especially after arriving at place or leaving it.
An old fashioned thing that does not need batteries but can save you a two hour walk by showing you a magic shortcut to your hotel.
Do not rely 100% only on one device, such as a mobile. Batteries die, screens get broken, or sometimes your phone might be stolen.
Have an external battery charger.
Have a folder with physical copies of your schedule, accommodation details, tickets etc.
Something to grab quickly that works effectively when you are in a danger. Anything from pepper gas to hair spray or a whistle.
Try not to stick out like a sore thumb whilst looking like a tourist.
Have a look what others are wearing and follow it. I am not saying that you have to start wearing traditional Eskimo clothes just because everyone else is, but it helps if you do not want to look like an outsider.
Most websites say to wear just one however I do not wear them at all. When I listen to music even with only one headphone I tend to forget about the world around me. Being in the clouds as I call it makes me an easier target so I just do not do it.
One with you and another one just in case the first one is stolen.
Do not keep all of your money, bank cards, and documents in one place.
Leave Your Tiffany’s Bracelet at Home
Showing off expensive items works for thieves better than flies for fish. Leave your Rolex at home.
A cheap silver band will indicate that the chances are high that you are not travelling alone.
It’s simple who would you be more likely to rob, someone with a scruffy backpack or someone with a Louis Vuitton bag? Keep your bags in between your legs or with one strap over your arm. It makes taking it away from you a little bit harder.
AirBnb & Couchsurfing
Only stay with hosts with lots of reviews and always have an alternative accommodation in mind. Seven reviews are not enough and I can tell you that from my own experience.
Do Not Be Stingy
Know when to save and when to invest more in accommodation and transport. Location of your hotel plays a big part in your safety.
This is one of the times when to spurge a little bit more money and to avoid a public transport. Especially if you are traveling to a place you have never been before and are carry a few bags with you.
Have an amount you do not intent to use but is good to have just in case something happens.
Leave the TV On
Best sign that your room is occupied even if it isn’t.
Leave Do Not Disturb Sign
Your room might not be tidied up but a least no one went through your things.
One of my favourites when I travel on my own and when places I am staying at do not have a metal chain on the doors. I do feel uncomfortable knowing that everyone can come into the room while I am asleep so a rubber doorstop gives me comfort that at least I will have a chance to wake up in time.
If you cannot help it and want to visit somewhere potentially with a higher risk, check out a group tours. For example walking tours are great to explore less safe places in a group of likeminded travellers. I took part in the crime group tour one in Boston, check it out here.
Get to know them here!
Share in comments what else can help to have safer travels.