Travel experts have revealed that there are more people traveling by themselves than ever, 58% of whom are women.
However many woman have revealed that what holds them back from traveling are fears about their personal safety.
Here are some tips to be street smart and stay safe while traveling solo.
Looks can be deceiving… always remember that when booking a hotel. As the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Before booking a hotel visit a third party website such as TripAdvisor to get another opinion on the accommodation. When visiting cities it’s best to stay in a central location, rather than cheaper places further out.
When travelling alone it’s good to stay at hostels because you can still book private rooms but you’re in a social environment with other travelers doing similar things.
If you’re worried about leaving your belongings in the hotel room, you can deter thieves by placing the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door with the TV playing, so it seems like people are still inside. You can also loudly announce you are leaving as if you are saying goodbye to someone who is remaining in the room.
If there isn’t a safe in the room, leave a little bit of cash in a visible location so they take that and don’t look any further.
Don’t forget to not leave windows open, particularly if there is a balcony and always lock the door even when you are inside. If you don’t trust the lock on the hotel door then use a door stopper to prevent people from entering at night.
Make sure you always choose to get in a marked official taxi, which operates with a metre. When getting into the car take note of the registration details and official documents identifying the driver.
Another safe precaution is to call someone during the taxi drive, telling them where you are, where you are going and the number of the taxi so that the taxi driver feels accountable. If you are unable to make a call overseas, fake it. Pretend that you are meeting someone on the other end so the driver thinks someone is expecting you.
If you’re feeling unsure of whether the taxi driver is taking you to the right place pull up your GPS on your phone and follow the journey along. If available, ask someone at the hotel which are the safest taxi companies in the area.
When out and about, always be aware of your surroundings, the best way to do that, is not drink too much alcohol. The more you drink the worse your judgment gets and you could ultimately find yourself in a dangerous situation.
We have heard that some travelers wear a fake wedding ring while out and about so that men do not approach them thinking they’re single.
When in a country with a very different culture to your own, it is best to do as the locals do. Dress like the women dress and imitate the same level of modesty, so as not to draw attention to yourself. The foreign and commonwealth office says “think about how your clothing will fit in with local customs – what are the local women wearing? Don’t wear expensive jewelry. Be wary of new friends and don’t tell strangers where you are staying, or give out too many details.”
If you want to explore a city but feel nervous, join a tour group! You will learn lots and meet some new people. Ask at your hotel / hostel where you can find a good one.
Always split cash and travel cards between bags, don’t have all your valuable assets in the one bag incase it gets stolen. If you want to hide the cash inside the bag a very sneaky method is to take a tampon out of the applicator and replace it with rolled up notes for emergencies. While at the beach, you can hide money inside old empty sunscreen bottles.
Make sure your daytime bag / handbag is sturdy and has a zip on it. Don’t leave it open on your shoulder – pickpockets are very skilled.
Make sure you photograph all your cards, passport, itinerary and bookings and keep them in an email or somewhere secure online so that it can be accessed from anywhere. It means, if those important documents get stolen you can quickly retrieve the information.