When you’re studying abroad, there will be many chances to travel alone. Although I firmly believe in the buddy system, sometimes traveling on your own is necessary or even preferable. Unfortunately, when traveling on a budget, it is inevitable that your usual travel companions might have to skip out on a few trips, or they might not be interested in visiting the same cities you are. If this ends up being the case, don’t be afraid to go it alone. Some of life’s most rewarding adventures are the solo ones. However, solo trips can cause distress and can present challenges. Make sure to keep these six tips in mind and remember to stay safe!
1. Have confidence. Being in a new place alone can be scary and intimidating, but if you walk the walk and act like you own the place, chances are, would-be criminals will believe you! Walking with confidence and direction is an effective method to prevent unwanted attention.
2. Keep your documents safe. Be sure to keep your belongings close to you, but most importantly, make sure your credit cards, passport, etc are secure!Make copies of your documents and credit cards and put them in a separate and secure location.
3. Daytime Arrival. Regardless of if you’re flying, taking the train, or riding a bus, plan to arrive in new places when the sun is still shining. Train stations, airports, and bus stations can be isolated and scary at night; chances are, they’re also in remote locations far away from the city center. Getting there before the sun sets ensures that you’ll be able to get to your destination safely and have time to get settled before night falls.
4. Make friends. Traveling alone doesn’t mean being alone! Most of the time, you won’t be in a secluded place. Usually, you’ll be in a busy city with tons of other tourists. Introduce yourself, make your trip a safer and enjoyable experience, and make friends from all over the world while you’re at it! Staying in a hostel is a great way to do this, especially if there’s a lounge at the hostel or if breakfast is included.
5. Study the culture and dress appropriately. Avoid unwanted attention by learning about the culture – how conservatively they dress, how they walk, talk, and eat… It’s all incredibly important and ultimately, it will help make you less likely to stick out as a tourist.
6. Tell someone that you’re away before you leave and keep in touch! It is so important to make sure your friends and family know where you are and to keep tabs on you. Let them know where you’re staying and when you’ll be back. In case of a natural disaster or major country emergency, it would also be in your best interest to register your trip with the Department of State and click here for a list of US Embassies and Consulates across the globe!
What are your safety tips for solo travelers? We want to hear from you! Check out our Facebook and post on our wall, Tweet us at @SparkySpotlight, or leave a comment down below. Need more safety tips? Check out this post on how to avoid falling victim to petty crime while abroad.
|Study Abroad Spotlight intern Diane Ferrer studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Diane is currently finishing up her B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations as well as earning her MBA from Quinnipiac University. This summer she’ll be studying abroad (again!) in Budapest, Hungary! Learn more about Diane by checking out her Spotlight here! You can also find Diane heading up Sparky’s Instagram account!|