Traveling alone in urban areas can be a thrilling experience, but it can also be scary, especially if you’re not familiar with the place. As a solo traveler, your personal safety should always be your top priority. In this guide, we’ll share some tips to help you stay safe on your urban adventure.
1. Get Familiar with the Neighborhood
Before leaving for your trip, it’s essential to do your research. Check the crime rates and security measures in the areas you plan on visiting. Get familiar with the streets, alleys, and landmarks, so you always know your way around. Also, look up places you should avoid, especially at night. Knowing the areas to avoid and keeping a mental map of the area will give you a sense of direction and help you to navigate safely. Additionally, you can even talk to locals and ask them about the area’s safety and whether there are any upcoming events or festivals that you should know about.
2. Blend In
Avoid standing out as a tourist or solo traveler. Dress and act like a local to avoid unwanted attention. This may include learning basic phrases in the local language, adapting to local customs and traditions, and blending in with the locals. Moreover, avoid wearing flashy jewelry, too much makeup and not carrying expensive gadgets openly. People will assume you’re worth mugging, and you’ll be a potential target. The key is to blend in and not draw attention to yourself by standing out.
3. Keep Your Valuables Safe
Keeping your valuables safe should be one of your main concerns while traveling. Invest in a secure backpack, anti-theft purse, or money belt that closes securely to deter pickpockets. Don’t carry all your cash and credit cards with you—just enough for the day. Also, avoid leaving your things unattended or in your hotel room. If you’re staying in a hostel with shared spaces, always pack your items away in a locker—it’s a more secure way to keep your items safe. Additionally, it would be wise to keep some of your valuables in different places rather than in one location. If you lose something or if it’s stolen, you’ll still have access to some of your belongings.
4. Make Use of Technology
Technology can be a great asset to ensure your safety. Download safety apps that can help you, such as sending an alarm or alerting authorities. Safety apps such as BSafe, Find My Friends, and Guardly are just a few examples of safety apps that can help you while you travel. However, these apps should not be the sole solution to your safety needs. Also, some countries may limit the use of these apps, so it is best to check on that before traveling. Moreover, you can also share your location with friends and family so they can keep track of you. Always keep your phone charged to ensure you can get help whenever you need it.
5. Stay Alert
Keeping your senses alert at all times is critical to ensure your safety. Avoid walking with headphones on, so you can hear your surroundings. If you are using a map to navigate, stop in a safe area and go over it rather than walking and reading the map at the same time. Moreover, always have an eye out for potential risks such as suspicious individuals, dark alleys, or deserted areas. If you feel like you’re being followed, walk towards a crowded area or a store and alert the store’s security personnel.
6. Know How to React in Case of Threats
Knowing how to react in case of a potential threat is crucial to ensure your safety. Learn some basic self-defense moves or enroll in a course before your trip. Knowing how to walk confidently, making eye contact with strangers, and calling for help can help you if you feel threatened. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to scream, shout, or run away if necessary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
7. Stay Connected with Friends and Family
Let your loved ones know about your travel plans and itinerary. Keep in touch with them regularly, especially if you’re going to visit a new location. This way, they can keep an eye out for you and raise the alarm if and when necessary. Also, make a habit to check in regularly, so they know you’re okay. It gives them peace of mind knowing you’re safe and secure.
8. Use Transportation Safely
Using public transportation is an easy and cheap way to get around when you travel. However, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings while using transportation. Choose a safe seat, such as one close to the driver or in a well-lit area. Public transportation shouldn’t be the only option, especially if you’re traveling at night. Moreover, don’t use unlicensed taxicabs, and if you choose to use ride-sharing services or book your transportation through your hotel, ensure that the service is properly licensed.
9. Avoid Unnecessary Risks
Take care to avoid unnecessary risks when traveling alone. Don’t push yourself into doing things you’re not comfortable with such as walking alone in a sketchy neighborhood, trying extreme sports alone, or drinking too much alcohol. Make informed decisions, and always listen to your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t, and you should trust your instincts.
10. Stay Calm and Confident
It’s essential to stay calm and confident while traveling, especially in urban areas. If you feel threatened, don’t panic or lose your cool. Keep your wits about you and try to find ways to stay safe. Plan ahead of time, and always stay aware of your surroundings. With the right mindset and safety measures, solo travel in urban areas can be both exhilarating and safe.