Travel is always exciting. Whether it’s a road trip in England or a round-the-world flight taking in several countries. I always love the feeling of a map in my hand, a ticket to an awesome place and a camera in my bag.
But what if you decide to take off on your own? What can you do to make your experience enjoyable, but also as safe as it can possibly be? Of course there’s the old adage that there is safety in numbers, but sometimes you get the travel bug and you’ve just got to go.
I think the first thing, regardless of what the movies say, is be organised. This isn’t Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There, where you can just swan up to a safe, clean hotel and expect to get a room. You need some kind of plan as to what you’re going to do once you arrive in a city. There’s usually three important, obvious and yet frequently overlooked, things that you need to remember: Where am I going to sleep tonight? What am I going to eat tonight? And do I have enough money left to get out of here when I need to? I know they sound like the most obvious things in the world, but when you’re travelling alone they’re very important. When you’re with someone else you might be able to get away roughing it in a park, but on your own you probably don’t want to risk it unless you’re the next Bruce Lee.
Another tip, once you’ve found your safe place to stay is don’t put all your money in one place. This applies to everybody, whether you’re travelling alone or not. Keep some money on you, sure, but then keep some in a space place in your hotel room, and a little bit more in a pocket in your bag. That way if something adverse does happen and you lose some, you will have something to go to for back up. This applies to debit/credit cards as well – keep one somewhere secret and safe so that if worst comes to the worst you’ve always got something to turn to.
A further tip for travelling safely is to check out the customs of the place you’re going to. This especially applies to the ladies – if you’re going somewhere where you’ll be expected to wear a headscarf, do so, try and blend in a look as little like a tourist as possible. Even if you’re going to place where you wouldn’t expect to have to do anything different at all, say America, be careful because if you decide to do a bit of cheeky topless bathing, you could get arrested for indecent exposure. I know that sometimes it can be difficult to be up to speed with all the tips and tricks of that country, but usually a guidebook will tell you the essential things you need to know – just don’t stand on a corner reading it! Then you will stick out like a sore thumb…
Another tip that I picked up when I was travelling and this one is specifically for the ladies, is that if you’re going to a country where you feel it might be necessary (use your own discretion here!), you might want to wear a wedding ring. Sounds crazy right? Apparently not; if you invest in a cheap gold band to go around your finger then you might divert a lot of unwanted attention, or at least give yourself a solid excuse to divert it if it arises. Obviously don’t go flashing expensive jewellery about, but lots of guidebooks and travel blogs recommend this dependent on where you’re travelling.
Just remember; be organised. Travelling can be a lot of fun but there does need to be an aspect of safety and of a plan. Aside from your own personal safety, having a plan helps you to make the most out of a destination! There’s nothing worse than rocking up and having no idea what the place can offer you. So be prepared, be savvy and most of all be safe – you don’t want your trip of a lifetime to come crashing down around you – travelling can make the best memories and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.