Roaming through the heart of Geneva on your own may not seem like the scariest thing on Earth but traveling through busy and bustling cities in India or passing a few days in Honduras can present dangers to the solo traveler. There is a notion that girls are more at risk when traveling abroad but honestly I would say that any solo traveler should be cautious when they are in a new place, and one with any kind of increased crime rates. Petty crime is normally the biggest risk but there is nothing petty about being scared stiff and having your stuff stolen whilst you are on the road. Whilst you can never guarantee that you won’t get into trouble, there are some steps which you can take to keep yourself safer.
I am not a massive lover of taking tours but in some places they are very necessary just to give yourself that extra layer of protection. On a recent trip to Chile we decided not to take a tour for a small mountain climb, as we began to walk up the foot of the mountain we were approached by groups of men demanding payment for our being there, this of course wouldn’t have happened with a tour. In some locations a tour gives you the security which you need when you visit attractions.
Keep it Light
If you are somewhere with high crime rates or somewhere that you are unsure about, don’t walk around with all of your expensive gear on. I see some people wandering around with cameras hanging from their necks, jewelry on and all manner of gadgets with them, this is just making yourself into a target.
The real key to avoiding issues is to try your best not to stand out as someone who isn’t from the parts. You need to walk like you know where you are going, if you need to check a map then do so in private rather than in the middle of the street. In terms of clothing try to blend in and where similar stuff to the locals. The more that you appear as though you belong, the less likely you are to be seen as a potential target.
When we are inebriated, even slightly, our judgement can very quickly change and our ability to sense danger is lowered. For this reason it really makes sense to maintain a sober head during your time away, at least until you know the area.
Trust Your Gut
It is really important that you trust your own sense of judgement, if something doesn’t smell right, don’t go there. If you take a wrong turn down a street which doesn’t look great, if you meet someone who wants to take you somewhere but you are unsure, even if you get into a taxi and you don’t trust the driver, whatever it is, you must ensure that you abort if things don’t look good. Trust your gut and stay safe.
Always be sure to keep your eyes open, stay where there are people and follow the tips on this list to stay safe when traveling alone.