Holiday Safety for Female Solo Travellers
Many of us escape the January blues by booking a bargain post-Christmas holiday.
However, solo holidays are becoming a huge trend. Some people travel alone to find enlightenment, to get away from the stress of everyday life, to backpack...the list is endless.
Now, there's no law against travelling alone. In fact it can be empowering and exhilarating, but there's still risks.
For all you solo holidaymakers out there, here are our top tips for staying safe in a whole new place.
1) Do your Pre-holiday research
This is a big one and I'm not just talking about find out where the best places to shop and eat are. Don't just check tourist websites, check local news sites. Whilst most places appear beautiful on the brochure, the one true way to get to know them is to visit their local news websites. Find out if there's any political unrest in the country, which has been leading to demonstrations, what are the prominent crime areas, have any tourist spots been a victim of any unrest...All of this research can contribute towards an individuals holiday safety.
By checking out the local crime statistics, you can judge on what areas you'll feel safe to visit and where you should avoid.
If you planning on staying in a hostel or a hotel, check out a few review sites, such as tripadvisor, first to see if any of them have had issues of theft or assault. Find out what security they offer etc...
Also make a note of any emergency numbers you may need whilst out there e.g local hospitals, police etc...
2) Have a Pen-pal!
This is a biggie for solo travellers.
Always make sure you have someone at home, who you can text or e-mail at the end of the day to let them know your safe. Make sure you give them all the details of your trip; flight times, hotels.
For extra security, pre-arrange a time you'll e-mail or text. By doing this, if you fail to get in touch with your designated pen-pal, they can try getting hold of you or your hotel. If something has happened, the local authorities can be alerted quicker.
If you have any idea of what you might be doing with your day, let your pen pal know rough plans, so again if something does happen, at least your movements can be roughly traced and verified.
Whilst this may sound extreme, at least you know you've always got someone at home watching your back.
3) Buy your own drinks
Yes, it is flattering when someone offers to buy you a drink, but can you truly place your safety in a strangers hand?
Spiking someone's drink is a discreet and often used method to make someone vulnerable and susceptible to assault and theft. By purchasing your own
drinks, not only can you control your units, you know 100% what's been put in that drink. Never leave your drink unattended
Zora O'neill from RoughGuides also recommends learning the local language for 'no, thank you' and the local gesture for no to sway unwanted attention.
4) Keep spare money and phone separate
According to travellingalone.co.uk, a British tourist is robbed every 31 seconds on average. That's more than a million per year.
In this situation, purchasing a jacket with a inner pocket can be the perfect solution to this safety issue or purchase a money belt which can sit snuggly under your jeans or trousers. Keep your main money, phone and any credit cards concealed.
If carrying around a holiday bag, don't keep huge amount of money or any ID in that bag. Also keep a decoy wallet; stick a small amount of money in it, with a few old receipts. If someone demands your wallet in a threatening manner, hand them this one.
5) Stick to Public Transport
The idea of hitch-hiking can add to the romance and freedom of a solo holiday, but is it worth putting your personal safety at risk for?
Public transport can be a nightmare, no one is arguing with that, but it is safe and routine. You can plan your routes by checking out local time tables. If there is a spot which isn't accessible by public transport, check out local tourist groups on social media or in a travel agents. Trips to tourist spots are always planned somewhere.
6) Stay Fit and Healthy
Nothing makes you more vulnerable than sickness, especially when you're alone.
Make sure the water supply is drinkable, if not, invest in bottles of water or even purifying tablets for your drinks flask. Staying hydrated is crucial to maintain holiday safety. A dehydrated body is a vulnerable body. Thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables before consuming and carry anti-bacterial hand gel around with you.
Things to invest in: Money Belt, Personal Attack Alarm, Decoy Wallet
Things to research: Accommodation, Local Travel, Crime Statistics
Hopefully these tips have been useful and made you appreciate holiday safety with a fresh outlook. They're not here to zap away the fun. Solo holidays are empowering and can mark a persons journey on their way to independence.