Solo travel bookings have nearly doubled since the pandemic – 14% of travelers planned to travel solo in 2019, but now 23% plan to venture alone.
But despite this increase in the number of individuals eager to experience the world on their own, there are still several barriers in place that discourage some travellers.
Personal safety remains at the top of the list of obstacles why solo travelers, especially women, feel they cannot go on vacation alone.
To protect their own safety, one of the most important things to do if you’re traveling alone is to share live locations with others and let friends and family know the routes.
There are a host of mobile phone apps designed to keep you safe by sharing your real-time location with friends and loved ones.
Solo travelers should also take the time to create an emergency plan, know where the local hospital and police stations are, and remember emergency phone numbers for each country.
James Cole, Founder of Panache Cruises, said, “A solo trip often becomes the trip of a lifetime. It’s really liberating to discover all the languages and all the landscapes at your own pace without having to worry about anyone else.
“It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and having the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. You can quickly immerse yourself in unique cultures and go wherever you want.
“The lessons and knowledge you gain from exploring new countries alone can lead to unique experiences and a path of self-discovery.
“But traveling alone to an unfamiliar place can also be destabilizing if you don’t put security measures in place. This is why the most important thing when going on vacation alone is to protect your own safety above all else.
“Protect yourself from tourist crime by researching local scams in each area and keep your valuables close by and completely out of sight.
“Never tell a stranger that you are traveling alone as this can put you in a very vulnerable position and before you go make sure you have all the correct travel insurance documents to hand in case of an emergency.
“The experiences and memories of a solo trip are truly priceless, but it’s crucial to remember that your safety always comes first.”
Panache Cruises Top 10 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers:
- Notify people of the location
Before you go, be sure to let your friends and family know about the trip and be sure to keep them updated on any itinerary changes. Stay in regular contact and turn on live location so someone at home knows where you are at all times.
- Create an emergency plan
Prepare for emergencies by knowing where the local hospital, police station and other useful locations are in each town. Learn key phrases such as “I need help” or “Call an ambulance” in the local language as well as emergency phone numbers.
- Protect valuables
It’s a good idea not to pack anything of sentimental value and only bring what’s really necessary – such as a credit card, local currency, passport and cell phone. Keep them hidden in a secure bag out of sight at all times.
- Protect against crime
Solo travelers should protect themselves from local crime and tourist scams by researching the destination beforehand. Read travel guides, blogs, news sites, and talk to others who have visited the area to learn about potential risks.
- Book solo accommodation
Booking shared accommodation such as hostels is more risky than booking a single room. Many travel providers now make sure to include smaller rooms or cabins for those vacationing alone, such as Oceania Cruises, but it’s a good idea to book ahead to secure a spot.
- Choose accommodation with caution
Check that the hotel or hostel is in a safe location and close to public transport and restaurants. Travelers should also check the accommodation’s check-in times so they don’t waste time waiting in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Travel insurance
Travelers are advised to protect themselves against unforeseen events by taking out travel insurance. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance can help recover damage caused by issues such as weather and natural disasters. Medical insurance can cover unexpected expenses, while baggage insurance can help recover losses due to theft or delays.
- Study the local language
Tourists are encouraged to learn the local language not only to enrich their travel experience but also to ensure their safety, especially when visiting less popular tourist destinations.
- Be respectful of the local culture
To reduce vulnerability and avoid attracting attention, travelers should dress appropriately to respect the local culture. Some countries may require hair to be covered and not too much skin to show.
- Never tell strangers they are traveling alone
Finally, solo travelers should never share too much with strangers or risk becoming a target. Instead of telling someone they are traveling alone, let them know that friends are waiting right in front or behind in the hotel room.