Travelling alone is great, but make sure you take a look at these safety tips for solo travellers.

Travelling alone is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you can definitely learn a lot from this solo time spent exploring the world. While it may seem like all fun and games, there are always risks to travelling alone. If you are looking to travel solo, Cover-More has eight important safety tips for you to heed.

Take your time

You may have had this trip planned out for months now, but nothing can quite overcome the shock of being in a new country alone like time and patience. Let yourself get acclimated to your surroundings and not having a buddy or family member to depend on. It is a lot to realize you are fully in charge of all your luggage, your documents, getting from place A to place B and everything in between. But do not worry, you will shake those nerves. Just be patient with yourself and your destination, and try to set aside your first day as time to get used to your surroundings, the language, the customs and just being on your own.

Be aware

When travelling alone, it is very easy to get swept up in the wanderlust and the freedom of being entirely on your own. But make sure your head is not entirely in the clouds and that you are always aware of your surroundings. When you are travelling solo, your best friends are your instincts—follow them. If your gut is telling you something is off, then listen to it. Keep track of where you are going and with whom, and whether it is your hotel or a local café, always know of one or two ‘safe places’ you can go back to if you find yourself in a dangerous situation

Travel lightly

Being by yourself already makes you an easy target for pick-pocketers. With no one else around you, it is easy for them to come up close and grab your bag or ask for your money. Since you are already vulnerable, there is no need to put yourself in an even worse position by showing off all your jewellery and devices. When you are walking around the city or town, only take the essentials with you. If you plan to do some shopping, leave extra room in your backpack for your purchases because walking around with several bags indicates you have money to spend.

Dress down

Dressing flashy is definitely a signifier that you have money and puts you at higher risk for pick-pocketers, but dressing a certain way could also be against the customs of the country you are visiting. Remember, you are a guest in this destination, so make an effort to dress according to the cultural norms. This is especially important for female solo travellers—if you are a woman travelling alone, be sure to abide by the dressing norms and err on the conservative side to avoid unwanted attention. Be comfortable and causal and do your best to blend in with the surrounding people.

Plan as much as you can

One of the greatest parts of travelling solo is that you do not need to abide by anyone else’s schedule but can do whatever you may feel like in the moment. However, while this ‘living in the moment’ attitude is a wonderful feeling, it is not always the safest. Try to create an itinerary you can leave with your family and friends back at home, and then stick to it as closely as possible so if something does happen, they at least have some sort of idea where you may be or what you might be doing.

Do not overdrink

The best way to stay safe is to stay sober. While drinking alcohol is a major part of many cultures around the world, and you will want to enjoy these customs and traditions, it is important to not overdrink. You can have a glass of wine at dinner or with some friends, but be careful not to overdo it. Also, be wary of what you are drinking, only take drinks from the bartender and keep your cocktail within sight—even better, in your hand. Since you do not have a companion to join you on you travels, it is important that you can keep your full senses and observations with you.

Travelling solo is an awesome experience if the opportunity arises. While you can learn a lot from adventuring alone, it can sometimes put you in a unsafe positions. Along with these tips, purchase international travel insurance to protect you from any dangerous situations or unfortunate incidents.

Image courtesy of Flickr user francois schnell; cropped from original