Solo travelling doesn't always have to be so scary. It's a time to breathe, a time to relax and a time to focus on yourself. Solo travelling is a time to sit in peace and effectively plan your goals and career aspirations. While many of us cant wait to get a break 'from the norm' solo travelling is one thing people either haven't considered or are too afraid to do. Here are my 15 Top things to AVOID when travelling solo. (and if you've decided to take the plunge and travel solo... WOOHOO!)
1.) Avoid travelling around the country or island at night
Get up early have breakfast, and give yourself more than enough time to explore the whole area you had planned to. Go sightseeing, shopping, and spend your evening on the beach watching the sunset and the waves crash in the ocean. You don't want to waste any seconds of the day- you got to make the complete most of it.
2.) Don't be too hasty to make friends
Yes- we would all like to meet new people and make more friends, but ultimately, not everyone can be trusted. Be limited in the information you disclose (if it's personal) and don't travel to anybody's house/ AirBNB. It's just not worth it. If you have decided to meet up with new friends, make sure someone knows where you are/ where you're going (even if they're in a different country from you!) Ensure it's in a public space like a cafe or a museum during the day.
3.) Don't take drinks from strangers
Not even at your hotel bar. They might be staying in the same hotel as you, but they're still a stranger. You can ask for a bottled drink and watch the bartender open it in front of you. Never leave your food or drinks unattended, not even for 2 minutes.
4.) Avoid travelling WITHOUT sunscreen
If you've forgotten it, oh well, you'll end up paying double the price you'd probably pay for it in your home town- but nevertheless you still need it! I once saw a store that were selling sunscreen for £10. I had the exact same thing, which I had paid £4.99 for from London. Sunscreen can be very expensive and the natives know that tourists need it when we are abroad, and even in London too. You should always wear it, you don't want to end up burned how I was on my travels to Mauritius, so don't forget to bring it!
5.) Avoid Travelling Without Insurance
Why would you want to take such a risk? You can never be so sure about what is going to happen. Always travel with insurance, even if you are travelling from the U.K to Europe, or somewhere very near to your destination. Accidents happen, luggage gets stolen, and flights can always get cancelled. Protect yourself, protect your money and ensure you purchase insurance before you travel.
6.) Avoid carrying 'wads' of cash
Although some places only take cash (these are mainly very remote islands) many places accept cards. Debit and Credit cards can easily be frozen, replaced and managed quickly- so if you do happen to lose it, you won't be completely broke! It's safer, and if you are unfortunately robbed, you might even be able to be reimbursed (in some cases) from the credit card company, if your cards have been fraudulently used.
7.) Avoid using your camera in every tourist hotspot
Although, this might sound like a little bit of a kleshay - I must be honest. I did this in New York, before a group of guys seemed as if they were plotting something against me. I quickly snapped my photo, put my camera away before swiftly moving to another location away, where I felt more comfortable.
8.) Avoid travelling to places you haven't researched
Just because a certain place is the 'in thing', it doesn't mean you should just book the flight because you can! It is very important to do your own research , so that you know where is deemed safe, what to do and what things to avoid when you arrive. You'll need to be able to know the laws of each country and all of it legalities.
9.) Avoid travelling (En- route ) empty handed
When boarding long haul flights, going on long road trips etc, even though you get a meal included, it is recommended to bring additional food and snacks if you can. I believe it is a good idea to bring a complete packed lunch- but hey, that's just me! (No liquids) but do bring food to stop your stomach from cramping up and filling up completely with air. Depending on the airline, the breaks between the meals and snack can be very long and far apart, and you'll usually be starving depending on the light time and the airline you are flying with.
10.) Avoid travelling without medication
If you are travelling abroad, I would always recommend bringing medication. Whether it's paracetamol, Ibruprofen or Immodium, I guarantee that you'll most likely need one or the other. You cannot always rely on the local supermarkets and chemist because they may not have the exact medication you needs, and their closing times may vary. We couldn't find Immodium anywhere over the weekend in Mauritius, and this effectively lengthened the diahorrea time! On the Weekday morning, one lucky chemist was at our rescue.
11.) Avoid using the hotel safe
You may totally disagree with me, but it's something I'm never comfortable doing after hearing and experiencing several problems. There are a lot of thieves that not only operate around tourist areas, but that work in the hotel. They take advantage of people because they have access to your room and your safe. I have had both friends and family members that have had their belongings stolen directly from the safe. I would advise you to lock them away in your suitcase once you leave your room. Why not opt for an additional case that features combination and or numerical locks where you can lock away smaller belongings.
12.) NEVER EVER share your real-time location online
You might think this is an obvious one, but you can easily get over-excited or carried away with your images and videos. As many of us are motivated by social media, you can easily get caught up in the 'hype'. Even celebrities have fallen victim to this and it has and can result in death. Of course you can share details about where you are, or where your staying and visiting with your family members, but I would suggest doing this privately- not online over social network.
13.) Avoid travelling without hard copies
Ensure you carry hard copies of all your travel documents. This is very important, particularly if they go missing or you happen to lose them, even worse- if you get robbed. Even if you lose your phone and only have documents of your insurance online, you'll want to avoid any of these situations so its important you follow this step. Many people I know always travel WITHOUT hard copies of their documents, but take nothing for granted carry them all just in case! It's always better to be safe than sorry.
14.) AVOID getting drunk
This doesn't mean you cant have one drink, but this is extremely important. It may or may not be obvious, but I want everyone to take it seriously. No, I'm not a party pooper, and yes, we all want to have the times of our lives abroad, but you can do this (and still remember everything) while sober! This doesn't just apply to woman either, it applies to both male and females, and especially if you are travelling solo. That is a complete no-no- even if it's your birth-town.
15.) Avoid attending houses with people you've just met
Again, this might be an obvious one, but you can easily offend someone by turning down an invitation. However, it's important to understand they where's and why's you shouldn't do this. You cannot trust anyone you've just met. Trust is based on a number of factors, and your safety should never be compromised. Sorry to scare you, but it could easily be a set-up, or a trap. You can however meet people out in the open, at a museum or an outdoor cafe- even at a place of leisure you had on your itinerary. No invited parties, or drink-ups. This is just NOT the way to go.
Have you had any scary encounters while travelling solo? Let me know in the comments below.
Do you have a holiday planned to London? Check out the 10 Best Things to Do in London