Tips to stay safe while traveling solo
My daughter, who is 21 years old, just traveled to Mexico with a different friend. Even though she has been traveling with me for years, I of course felt compelled to give her my counsel. According to our most recent Safety Study, the majority of women factor safety into their planning. However, since online safety and harassment are a growing concern, I’ve added some social media etiquette advice to my list of safety advice in addition to general safety advice.
Some of our most seasoned solo travelers will assure you that it is never too late to begin traveling alone. I didn’t take my first “serious” solo travel until I was divorced and in my early 30s. I began by lengthening business trips and getting more accustomed to traveling alone. I can still picture myself feeling like everyone was gawking at me as I ate my first single meal in Italy. Contrarily, it was an excellent experience, and the waitstaff and other visitors were quite gracious. We didn’t have social media back then, and sometimes I miss the sensation of being anonymous.
The experience of traveling alone for the first time can be thrilling as well as overwhelming. Here is a checklist to get you started; for more information, visit our page on solo safety.
First-time Solo Precautions Checklist
Prior to leaving:
1. Acquire self-defense abilities. By developing our self-defense abilities, we can do more to defend ourselves. Take a self-defense class or go online for webinars if you can. Learn to run, yell, punch, and control your adrenaline. We must learn how to defend ourselves because we can’t always rely on others to assist us. (You can view our VIDEO of the training sessions we conducted in the spring here.)
2. Prepare a fallback strategy. Where will you stay if your test is positive? Are there any available rooms at the hotel or resort? Should you look for an Airbnb? Make sure you have travel insurance, of course.
3. Enroll in the travel program of your nation, which enables you to maintain contact in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. Enroll in the STEP in the US (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). Changes and updates to travel warnings are made available to you in Canada through Registration of Canadians Abroad.
4. Actions to take in an emergency Not all nations have a 911 call center. Learn the emergency contact information for the nation you will be visiting.
5. Things to bring: Always bring a carry-on and pack minimally. Visit our Tips page for packing advice for all types of travel.
Inappropriate attire Find out what is appropriate in the community. Leave your pricey bags and jewels at home. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by flaunting your iPhone. For further information, see our “What to Wear” section, which offers sartorial advice for hundreds of nations.
Utilize safety tools: Bring a whistle or personal safety alarm; when a pin is removed or the button is pressed, they emit a shrill, loud noise. Take a rubber doorstop or wedge for the door to your hotel room. I always bring mine when I travel.
7. Confused as to where to go? There is no such thing as a “safe” destination, but these are the ones that women in our most recent Safety Study suggested. It may be simpler for beginners to select a location where they may use the language. Be careful to do your research and look to other women for advice (like the ladies in our exclusive Facebook group) before traveling. Avoid depending on Google.
:Check out: (Third) Law of Gold
10 suggestions for arriving safely
1.) Inquire for two room keys at a hotel. Refer to a “spouse” or “boyfriend,” say hello and farewell when you leave or enter the hotel room as though someone else is in the room if there is someone else in the corridor as you leave your room.
2.) Employ a buddy system: Always bring at least one friend and hang out together during gatherings. Make sure you depart from the party as a unit. You are accountable for one another and can work together to ensure that the other arrives home safely. Don’t forget to choose a “sober partner”.
3.) Be aware of your return plan: Know your strategy for returning home safely, whether it involves walking, taking a hotel shuttle, or calling a vehicle. Before heading to the party, make sure this is established and agreed upon. On the basis of these plans, you can also time your leave.
4.) Manage alcohol sensibly (or don’t drink at all!). Drink throughout the day if you must, not at night. If you’re hanging out with buddies, you can alternate being the photographer.
5.) Even if it comes from a couple and not just one person, be wary of insincere flattery. (If you haven’t seen Serpent on Netflix, I highly suggest it because it’s based on a true tale!)
6.) Share your plans and your return date with friends (and, of course, your parents).
7.) Exercise caution when using social media: Don’t disclose too much personal information when posting. Don’t, for instance, mention the hotel or Airbnb where you are staying. I never publish hotel or homestay images while I’m there; only after I check out. We disregard the online presence of others (especially if your instagram profile is public). Finding an address, and for that matter, locating your residence, which increases the chance of a break-in, doesn’t need much effort. Photos and posts can be geo-tagged, which means they will automatically display your position if you have data connected. If necessary, check your settings and remove the location. When you are safely back home, you can easily add it back.
According to a recent Léger study performed in Canada in June 2022 on behalf of Allstate Insurance, 29% of respondents who are active on social media publish information about their vacation either before or while traveling. The percentage increases among those ages 18 to 34 (46%) and those who want to travel away from home this summer (36%). Of all the respondents, 10% post in advance of their trip to discuss their travel plans, and 24% post while they are traveling to let others know they are away.
8.) Avoid walking back to a hotel alone at night. Take a taxi or a buddy at all times. Contrary to popular assumption, I think Mexican cab drivers are highly reliable.
9.) Traveling for sex: Before using a dating app like Match to meet people, read this article about disclosing personal information online. Keep on the platform at all times. Avoid using Whatsapp or text messaging since they put you at risk.
Although having sex while traveling can be enjoyable, there are hazards involved, including those related to STDs, physical abuse, and even sex trafficking. Be explicit about consent, which is most crucial. In many languages, “No” signifies “No.” Many of the advice presented here, from drinking to recognizing unwanted flattery, is meant to assist you in maintaining your awareness. If you do engage in sexual activity, use protection, let someone know where you’re going, and be aware of the possibility of attack. Before entering a hotel room, be aware of the local customs as not all cultures respect women equally.
10.) Bring a drink with you at all times in a clear plastic cup with a lid: People tend to set their drinks down far too frequently, which can present an opportunity for someone to smuggle something into the drink. NEVER let your beverage get away from you.
Reference: By Carolyn Ray, Editor