Travelling alone can be incredibly rewarding, but if you’re looking to eat, pray, love yourself, it’s important to also keep yourself safe. Oxygen’s Three Days To Live (premiering Sunday, March 5 at 9/8c) documents the 72 hours following an abduction and the harrowing repercussions of being kidnapped. To make sure the events detailed in the show don’t happen to you, it’s important to stay vigilant. Lone travellers can be the target of thieves or worse, so here are eight ways you can take precautions and protect yourself when you’re travelling alone.
1. Do Your Research Before You Go
Google is your best friend when you’re travelling alone, and TripAdvisor your, well, advisor. Use your resources well and research. Know where you’re going, where it’s safe and not safe, and get as much information as you can to best equip yourself to not run afoul of trouble.
2. If You’re Staying In Crowd Sourced Accommodation, Only Stay In Places With Lots Of Good Reviews
This probably goes for Hotels too, but especially for things like Airbnb. READ THE REVIEWS. If there are 150 positive reviews, that’s a good sign you’ll be safe in that accommodation. If the host has bad reviews or no reviews, it’s not the accommodation for you.
3. Don’t Accept Drinks Or Other Gifts From Strangers
This isn’t just a travel tip but a life tip generally. Don’t take drinks you haven’t seen being poured, and certainly don’t accept any kind of gift, ingestible or otherwise, from anyone you don’t know.
4. Stay On The Beaten Path, Especially At Night
You’re travelling to have an adventure, but within reason. Being kidnapped or robbed down a dark alley in a city you don’t know probably isn’t going to be a fun story to retell when you’re giving your family a slideshow of holiday snaps on your return. Stay in places you’ve researched and that are populated, especially at night (add “well-lit” to the list as well).
5. Look Like You Know What You’re Doing And Not Like A Lost Tourist
Bumbling around looking lost with a giant paper map, squinting down the street, screams “I’m new here!”. If you need to look for directions, pop into a cafe and be discreet. Walk down the street with purpose, like you know where you’re going, so as not to make yourself a target.
6. Be Culturally Sensitive
Know the local culture and the customs wherever you go. For instance, wearing a crop top and hot pants in some places is probably going to make you conspicuous. And it’s not that you can’t “wear what you want” (power to you), but that it’s just common sense, and good, respectful human behavior to match the custom of the place you’re visiting.
7. Keep Your Valuables Guarded
An unzipped tote bag with a visible wallet and camera dangling from your hand is probably a good way to get robbed. Wear a zipped, cross body bag and keep it in front of you when you’re walking in crowded places. Backpacks also aren’t a good idea in crowds, and when you’re sitting enjoying lunch, keep your purse on your lap rather than on the table to avoid someone running by and snatching it.
8. Always Let Someone Know Your Plans
Phone home regularly. Let the people at the hotel know your plans for the day so they can start worrying if you never come back. Keep people informed so if you go missing, the search party comes looking for you.