“Some journeys can only be traveled alone.” – Ken Poirot
Although today’s world is full of unrest and uncertainty, the interest of people traveling solo is stronger now than ever before. In fact, a May 2018 study by Booking.com of 20,500 global travelers showed that 40% of global Baby Boomers took a solo trip in the last year and a further 21% plan to take one in the future. According to MMGY Global, roughly one in four people say they will travel solo in the next year (2018). Meanwhile, Lonely Planet found that 51% of travelers plan to take their next trip solo.
It’s amazing to see the empowerment that people feel to journey by themselves. After all, solo travel gives people the freedom to follow their own schedule and do their own things, meet new friends and discover something new about themselves. On the other hand, it’s not always as safe as traveling with a group. All travel comes with certain risks associated with being in an unknown locale, but when you are on your own in an area that you’re not familiar with, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure a safe and smooth trip.
Planning Your Safety
Before you step out the door to go on your solo travel adventure, do some research on your destination. Check to see if there are any travel advisories that you need to be aware of. Your government likely has information on any warnings for your destination. Additionally, take some time to understand local customs and etiquette, particularly when it comes to appropriate attire.
Find out whether or not your mobile phone has roaming capabilities at your destination. If it doesn’t, or if the roaming charges are costly, buy an international SIM card if you have an unlocked GSM phone or rent a phone once you arrive. Also, know what the local number is for emergencies and be sure to have that saved on your phone.
Study a map before you leave to gain an understanding of the surrounding area and get familiar with safe and unsafe locations. Reading reviews about the destination from other travelers is a good way to learn from others’ experiences. TripAdvisor is an excellent trusted resource for travel reviews.
Plan your outings in advance and always review your travel route before leaving your hotel. Better yet, why not try a paid excursion? You’ll get the benefit of a professional guide, while also having the opportunity to hang out with a few companions.
Research your transportation options in the area. Figure out how you’re going to get from the airport to your hotel and give yourself plenty of time. If your flight arrives late in the day, or if you’re ever traveling around at night, you may want to avoid using public transit and go with a reliable chauffeured transportation service to be on the safe side.
There is much to learn before you go, so be sure to do some digging before you head out.
Share Your Itinerary
Once you have your travel schedule planned out, make sure to give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend before you leave to keep others apprised of where you’re going.
If you ever veer off the path of your planned schedule, make sure to inform loved ones about your location, your route and when you expect to return. If you’re using a chauffeured transportation company on your travels, you can inform them of any outings that you’re taking and schedule a time to get picked up, so that you can return to your hotel safely.
Take some time to also check in with your loved ones every once in a while via Skype, email or text, so they know that you are safe.
Manage Your Money
If you have a debit or credit card that doesn’t charge you for taking out funds from international ATMs, then it would be best to withdraw small amounts often, rather than carrying large amounts of cash with you. However, there are exceptions if ATMs are hard to find at your destination or if you happen to need more money for a certain purpose.
Keep some money and credit cards in your wallet, and stash additional money and cards in your hotel room in the safe or tucked away in your suitcase. In case you lose any money on you, having some set aside back at your hotel will come in extremely handy.
Tech for Safety
Whether it’s at the airport, in your hotel or at a cafe, you’ll likely be using WiFi during your travels. To keep your information secure, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN protects your identity with end-to-end encryption of your personal data, which on public WiFi, could be grabbed by the wrong people. A VPN also allows you to access websites that are blocked in certain countries.
Additionally, these types of apps are great to have on your phone to help keep you safe:
- Google Maps
- Weather tracker
- Find your phone
- An app that lets you easily book transportation
Carry Your Hotel’s Business Card
Getting back to your hotel is important, but it can be a challenge if you’re traveling pretty far from its surrounding area and in a country where you don’t speak the local language. When you check in, get a business card from the hotel and carry it with you when you head out.
You can also make your journey back to your hotel even safer by working with a chauffeured transportation company, who will keep your hotel information on file. So, you can rest assured that you’ll always have a safe ride back whenever you need one and regardless of where you wander to. You could even request for your chauffeur to escort you back to your hotel room if you are, at all, uneasy or nervous.
If you’re still seeking an extra layer of protection on your solo travels, EmpireCLS can be your security partner when experiences command a heightened need for protection.
In addition to safe, reliable first-class chauffeured transportation, we provide an Airport Greeting service where a professional greeter assists you throughout your entire arrival process, from the plane to your chauffeur.
If you’re traveling to an exotic, unfamiliar locale or a political hotspot and require a greater level of protection, our SecureCar division offers a suite of high-level security options.
Before your trip, the EmpireCLS team confirms your itinerary and relevant contact information, as well as the backgrounds of your transportation team. The program leverages:
- Experienced, English-speaking agents that anticipate, recognize and discreetly neutralize any potential situations
- Specialized vehicles, ranging from sedans to armored SUVs
- Security chauffeurs, trained in evasive driving maneuvers, that remain at the wheel throughout your trip
- Planning specialists that conduct risk assessments, route mapping and due diligence on destinations 36 – 48 hours prior to your trip
Traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to stay in a hotel room to keep safe. Venturing into unknown territories is one of the thrills of travel, but don’t allow yourself to let your guard down and always be vigilant of what’s going on in your surroundings.
And if you need any extra help, the team at EmpireCLS can help give you greater peace of mind, so that you can simply enjoy your adventures.
Curious to learn more about our travel safety and security services? Drop us a line via our contact form or call us directly at (800) 451-5466.