Traveling solo is for me the best way of traveling. On the road, in a big city, wild jungle, paradise beach, cold mountains or a village in the middle of nowhere, there is so much to experience. More and more women around the world trust themselves increasingly to travel alone and like me fall in love with this way of being on the road.
Being cautious is always a good idea, especially if you travel alone and to a new country without knowing the language. I thought about 12 rules (yes, I have broke almost all of them, that’s why I advise you to be careful) as a quick reminder for those of you that already travel alone or are thinking about this. Anyway, this is a reminder for every traveler. I know you’ve probably already heard about some from your mom or best friend 😉 but really think about this, follow the rules and avoid trouble.
Have a healthy trust in people and situations
Traveling always involves some risk. If you are afraid and have no trust you won’t experience any fun. Sometimes you just have to trust your intuition. Have a healthy comprehension in people and situations you encounter.
Don’t walk alone after dark
Especially in areas where there are not so many people on the streets in the night, or if the area is generally unsafe. Take a certified taxi, or even better, ask somebody to walk you home. A friend, diving or surf instructor, a guide… plus, if this person is a guy, he will feel super masculine!
For my open water diving course in Colombia I was staying in a village where it was quite creepy to walk alone after dark and I’ve heard from the hostel manager about some people being robbed. I asked my diving instructor to walk me to my hostel. He was more than happy to do that and also since that day we had better connection and understanding for each other, which is so important when you dive with somebody!
Keep your belongings with you
I know you’ve already heard about this. But this is a very important rule. Avoid having too many pieces of baggage with you and too many things – that makes it easier for potential thieves. Know where your things are so that you don’t panic when you can’t find your phone in the bag.
Don’t show off
In some countries in the world, like Colombia, it can be risky showing off what you have. Don’t parade with your knew Iphone, precious jewelry or a huge reflex camera, especially in a busy city center. I was warned many times when I was walking around in the centre of Medellín with my Nikon and didn’t realize I was putting myself in the danger. I’ve heard some time later about a tourist having serious trouble because of showing of expensive things.
Have your phone charged and with a local sim card
So that you can make a call in case of emergency. Or call a taxi, trusted driver, find your friend in case you didn’t meet as arranged. Remember to charge your phone or always have a power bank with you.
Have a backup money and back up credit card
I always keep some extra money and additional credit card in another bag. This is not the money to spend (but money you can use in case of emergency or if you don’t follow the rule No. 3, 4 and 7 ;-). Also it is not very difficult to lose a card in Asia! It happened to me already twice. Think about this as a backup. Also, it is always good to have some cash with you in case there is no ATM in the near.
Don’t leave your bag alone when dancing in a bar
Again, this is a thing that you’ve probably heard a hundred times about. But it is good to be reminded. Some girls that I met while traveling and went with for a drink wanted to stay a bit longer than me and party. They got drunk (see rule No. 9!), one of them left her bag unattended. Result – lost passport, purse, money, lots of stress and additional costs.
Don’t leave your drink alone in the bar
So that nobody can put something in your drink. It’s not so likely, but it happens. Better to be careful and avoid the real trouble.
Don’t get drunk!!!
Please. Really, don’t get drunk when going out alone, or with people you don’t know so much. You don’t want to be on your own somewhere in the middle of the night and not be able to react and think sober.
If possible, avoid hiking alone if you are not 100% sure about the track
Women don’t have usually that strong sense of orientation like men. In this case, I’m a typical women, always going in the wrong direction if I don’t pay attention. Getting lost in the mountains or in the jungle by the end of the day (I’ve been there) is not fun and can be very dangerous. Check the track, take a compass, or better, some well-oriented companion.
Take only a certified taxi if possible
Or call Uber. In some countries in South America it may be dangerous catching a taxi from the street in the night. It is less likely to be robbed of kidnapped in an random taxi than some years ago in Colombia or some other countries in South America, but the risk is still there, so be careful.
Plan your trip
And avoid having to wait somewhere in the middle of nowhere with all your baggage, for a bus that maybe never comes. Plan your trip so that you start and arrive to a safe place in appropriate time.
And last, but not the least – have fun and enjoy your trip! Keep your eyes open not only to potential dangers but also to all the amazing experiences.