I vividly remember my first solo trip to United States. I had to buy American airline miles to make the inter country traveling a tad less heavy on the pocket. As a student, I also had to stay in hostels and eat cheap. But hey that is in itself a unique and exciting experience. United States is relatively one of the easier countries to explore as a solo traveler. Normally the big cities are safe and transport is easy. But like any other country in the world, there is always a risk and one must exercise caution no matter where they are. As I ventured to other countries across the world, I learned along the way the tricks to handle different situations and ways to behave in general as a solo traveler. After years of traveling alone, I have decided to compile a list of tips for all fellow solo travelers out there.
Always carry photocopies of your travel documents
Make multiple copies of your passport, ticket, identity card and any other travel related document. You may need to submit these unexpectedly at any airport during your travels. And always have a copy of your passport and identity card while you are exploring a foreign city. Although there is no need for them generally but they are essential if you are asked to prove your identity or if run into any kind of trouble. You may even need them if you get lost. Better be prepared than clueless.
Be wary of Strangers
It is always better to exercise caution and care when around strangers, all the while maintaining your friendliness. If a stranger is being too friendly, chances are they are actually nice but then there is also that tiny chance that they are a creep or worse a criminal. So if you ever feel like a stranger’s behavior is off, it is better to be rude rather than continuing to be polite. Walk away at the first uncomfortable feeling. Go with your gut feelings. You must also be wary of conmen and scammers. Don’t trust easily and goes without saying, don’t give out your accommodation location without being absolutely certain that it won’t put you in danger. Having said that, solo traveling is a great opportunity to socialize and make new friends. Do that but not at the cost of putting yourself in danger. Always exercise necessary care.
Be in regular contact with someone back home
A regular contact with a family member or friend back home means that any prolonged absence will be noticeable immediately. This is vital if you get into any trouble. Make sure you instruct your contact to inform the embassy if you are off the radar for more time than normal.
As a solo traveler, it is hardly a good idea to do drugs or get drunk. Any state in which you are disoriented, forgetful and not fully in command of your mind is dangerous and an unnecessary risk. Traveling is for exploring new places, cuisines and cultures. Getting drunk is hardly essential to having a good time.
Opt for Safe transportation mode
Daylight transportation is not a big problem but at night you have to be careful in your choice. I recommend the local buses or the metro where there are many people present. But if it is very late, go for a reliable taxi service which is registered properly as a business.