The thought of solo travel can be extremely daunting to the point where you’ll often question why this is even a thing? Solo travel tends to fall outside of our comfort-zones for many reasons – first of all we’re travelling away from our home and what we are used to. Secondly, we’re doing it ALONE!
I think a lot of concerns people have around solo travel is to do with safety. People often ask me:
“Is solo travel safe, especially as you’re a woman? Do you not get scared”
This is a valid question, and to answer this YES – Solo travel can be safe. We must remember that there is danger everywhere, even in our own cities and right on our doorsteps! But what do we do? We take precautions at home to ensure our safety, which includes not walking around late at night, avoiding certain shortcuts when it’s dark etc. These precautions should also be applied when solo travelling, so below I will share a few safety tips!
Solo travel always gives me a confidence boost and it reminds me that I am more than capable of doing anything and having everything I want.The Woman In Transit – 2019
1. SHARE YOUR PLANS WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
Before you jet off and take on this craze they call solo travelling, send your plans and accommodation details to your family/friends. This is so they have an idea of your whereabouts and if it’s your first-time solo travelling I’m sure this will put everyone at ease!
We’re also in that era where a lot of us want to socialise with new people abroad, meet up with people you’re familiar with from social media or a girl/guy you just met on a dating app. Whilst this is amazing you still need to stay alert/vigilant. If you’re not comfortable with letting your parents know about your little dates and meet-ups, please share your whereabouts with your friends or siblings.
2. DO NOT SHARE YOUR HOTEL DETAILS WITH STRANGERS
Pretty much for the same reason you would never give your address out to a stranger back home – there are some MAD people in the world and that’s on period. Whenever someone asks me where I am staying the Nigerian in me arrests my tongue and shares a random area next to where I’m staying (can’t help it!)
3. KNOW YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT DETAILS
In Jesus Name you will not need to use it, but it is very useful to know the emergency numbers for the country you’re visiting for just in case situations. Another good thing to have is your hotel’s business card, as this will have their telephone number, address and sometimes a small map of where the hotel is located – this is great for when you need to get back and you’re using a local transport service and your driver may not speak good English.
4. BE CONFIDENT
Try not to look lost, scared or confused when out and about! Why? Because predators will play on this vulnerability. Lift your head and shoulders up high and walk with a spring in your step as if you personally know the president of that country.
5. DOWNLOAD OFFLINE MAPS
If you’re not good at remembering directions, then it is in your best interest to download an offline map. Before you head out on your journey you will need to download the map of that country (using data) – and once it is downloaded you can use the map anytime without being connected to the internet. This is perfect in case you run out of data or there is no WiFi available.
6. BE AWARE OF THE LOCAL SCAMS
Every country in this world (yes, even yours) is subject to scams and petty crime – this should never stop us from visiting a country. What it should do is make you aware of them, so you’re not caught slippin’. Call me a prick if you ever see me walking down Las Ramblas (Barcelona) so nonchalantly with valuables in my back pocket or my backpack wide-open. I’ve been to Barcelona too many times to know that I won’t stop for anyone on that road unless I need to enter a shop or to buy food.
7. BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE
Repeat after me: I DO need travel insurance!
I know most of us are guilty of clicking “SKIP” when given the option to purchase travel insurance just after we’ve booked our flight because we’re thinking “pshh nothing will happen to me.”
But what if your flight is delayed? Or your bags get stolen? Or sent to Antarctica by mistake? Or you fall ill and must go to a hospital (which might I add, is not free). Without travel insurance, these what-if situations could set you back thousands of pounds. With travel insurance, you’re protected from flight delays and cancellations, hospital bills and much more (dependent on the travel insurance policy you take out).
Tip: It’s cheaper to get your travel insurance from an independent company compared to having it as an “add-on” from your ticket site. Have a search on Google to find the best travel insurance which works for you.
8. KEEP YOUR VALUABLES SAFE
Keep your passport, important travel documents, and spare cash in safe place locked away – whether it is the hotel’s safe, or the mini safe/locker in your room. Also, it is very wise to split your cash and not take everything out with you. What happens if you misplace your purse? Money garn before you know it.
9. TRUST YOUR GUT
Do not ignore your gut feeling. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in a certain environment or with a particular person, give them the ‘Ight imma head out’ line and head right out.