When we were young, we were told stories about how the world is unsafe but when I grew up I realized that the world is unsafe only if you let it be. You can avoid danger and have a memorable trip if you take these simple measures:
- Know your destination – Before you head to any place, do a thorough research of that place. There are various online forums/websites that tell you if a neighborhood is safe or not. For example, when I was in New York, I felt absolutely safe when I stayed at Manhattan than when I stayed at Queens.
- Book your stay in the center of the city – Although many hotels on the outskirts provide cheaper deals, it is better to book your stay within the city limits where the streets are busy and the neighborhood lively. Also, book a stay which is closer to all the tourist places you plan to visit. That way, the higher price of the stay will compensate for the money you will spend to travel long distances in case your stay is booked very far from those tourist places.
- Do not venture out into isolated places – This is the most important tip I have come across in various travel blogs. Never take the risk of venturing out to places that are unmanned. Make sure you’re always cognizant about your surroundings and know when you suddenly find yourself being alone.
- Dress like a local – I know at times we want to wear some of our best clothes and take stunning pictures as a tourist. That works out absolutely fine in places where tourism is quite prominent. In not-so-touristy places, it is best to dress like a local and avoid unwanted attention.
- Update your location to your friends/family every two hours – This is the most practical thing to do when you’re on a solo trip. Keep your loved ones informed so that they can reach out for help in case something goes wrong. If you’re traveling a different country, try getting contact details of a friend/acquaintance who lives in that country and keep them informed too.
- Avoid staying out late at night – Unless the neighborhood has a lively nightlife or is well connected with trusted cab services/public transport, avoid staying out at night. If you still want to head out to seek the nightlife experience, talk to your hotel manager to see if they can arrange transportation for you.
- Get those precious metals and stones off you! – Avoid wearing expensive jewellery when you’re traveling because it can attract mischief-mongers. You will also spend unnecessary time and attention trying to ensure your jewellery is safe.
- If you don’t understand the local language, hire a tourist guide or book a land package – This will not just ensure your safety but will also let you soak the essence of the place you’re traveling.
- Don’t reveal every detail about yourself to strangers – When I was in New York, I had few strangers walk up to me and start a conversation. Although they might have been friendly folks who were just trying to be nice, I was cautious enough to not reveal every detail of my itinerary or even tell them that I was traveling solo. Be as diplomatic as possible and divert the conversation to something like “Ahhh, the weather’s great, don’t you think?”. You’re welcome.
- Carry a fully charged phone and sufficient cash – I can’t stress enough on the importance of carrying these two, always, wherever you go.
Lastly, don’t let paranoia eat your wonderful time. Have a safe and an incredible trip!