There are lots of pros to travelling solo. Independent travel gives you the freedom to start ticking items off your bucket list. In part-two of top tips for travelling solo safely, we're going to show you that with a little preparation, you can enjoy the best of independent travel, and minimise the risk.
It's somewhat counterintuitive to try to blend in, especially with all the peacocking people do nowadays. But if you rock up to Salvador de Bahia in a blue velvet jacket, you’ll stand out like Christ the Redeemer at a Sunday market! The notion that tourists are an easy target for opportunist thieves is an unwelcome stereotype. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t partially true. Like animals in the wild, your ability to blend in will minimise any risk. As Ambrose once said, when in Rome do as the Romans do. Here's how you do it:
- start by doing some research about your destination(s);
- learn as much as you can about the conditions, the people and their religious customs;
- pack and plan your outfits accordingly.
If you're not sure what to expect, err on the side of modesty. Once you've arrived, observe the locals, take mental notes on their dress and behaviour, and try to go with the flow. It isn't exactly common sense, but that's because common sense ain’t common at all. Beware of behaviours that scream ‘tourist!’, like wearing your camera around your neck; standing on a street corner with an unfurled map and a confused look on your face; or wearing sandals and socks simultaneously. The trick is to channel your inner chameleon. Blend into your environment and then catch the local delicacies with your really long tongue.
Make copies of your important documents
If you’ve ever lost a wallet or daypack in your life, you’ll know how absurdly difficult it can be to get replacement cards and documents without the cards and documents you’ve already lost. To reduce stress and avoid distress, make copies of your flight tickets/passport/driver’s licence/credit cards/travel insurance and any other important documentation. This way, you’ll always have access to the information you need, and you’ll have a much easier time ordering replacement documents. Just remember not to keep the copies with the originals!
Keep in touch
If you’ve ever travelled with an Instagrammer (or anybody born after 2000), you’ll have seen them take pictures of absolutely everything. Millenials ritually share their holiday snaps with their beloved followers on social media, and this is an efficient way to report back to the folks at home that everything is ok.
Before you leave, set an update baseline with your family and stick to it. As a rule, it’s sensible to connect to the mothership every 2-3 days. This is regular enough for your folks to be able to help if something does go wrong, but not frequent enough to bore them stupid.
When you’re living like a turtle; carrying your worldly belongings on your back, security is vital. Buy a good, durable bag or pack Quality luggage will accompany you around the world and back, keeping your gear in one piece.
Always make sure your bags are secured. In an age of enhanced security protocols, airport security staff often cut locks off bags, leaving your valuables unsecure. As a solution, purchase TSA approved locks. They’re super secure, and if the customs officers do decide to search your bag, they can be removed and reattached without damaging the lock.