Traveling solo can be one of the most liberating experiences for many people. However, during times of political unrest, it’s crucial to take extra precautions for your safety. Here’s a guide to help solo travelers stay secure while exploring new destinations during times of turbulence.
Understand the Political Climate of Your Destination
Before embarking on your solo trip, make sure you research the political situation of your destination. Stay up to date with the latest news and try to get a sense of how safe the place is. If there are any violent protests or demonstrations going on, it might be best to postpone your trip or visit another location. It’s crucial to be aware of the political climate, and whether it is safe to travel. You could end up in a worse-case scenario by landing yourself in the midst of political unrest. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the political condition of your destination before embarking on your journey.
Get Travel Insurance
Solo travelers should always have travel insurance, but it is especially important during political unrest. Anything could happen during political unrest, especially in cases of political violence, terrorism or civil resignation. These events can lead to severe injuries, and it’s necessary to have coverage for medical expenses, lost luggage, or cancellations. Better to be safe than sorry, travel insurance could be a lifesaver, quite literally. It gives you peace of mind, knowing that you will be covered in case of any emergency; hence, it is essential to have one before travel.
Stay Informed About Protests and Demonstrations
If you are planning to travel during a time of political unrest, it is important to be aware of any protests or demonstrations that may be taking place. Find out where they are happening, and avoid those areas if possible, as these gatherings can turn violent, and chaos can take place. Being informed can help you stay prepared, and you could avoid potential damages made by the protests by staying away entirely.
Consider a Tour
While traveling solo can be freeing, it can also be risky during times of political unrest. Joining a group tour might be the right decision for you during political unrest. Guides typically have a vast knowledge of the political climate and places to avoid when it’s unsafe. Having a guide around can make you feel safer and less anxious about the situation while having fun with the group. Solo traveling isn’t for everyone, so a group tour could be a fantastic option during this time, and keep you safe.
Blend In with the Locals
Trying to blend in with the locals by dressing modest can help you not attract attention to yourself as a foreigner in unfamiliar territory. You must avoid wearing anything that will make you stand out as a tourist; for instance, wearing different clothing than the locals like jogging pants or tennis shoes. Dressing modestly can make you undetectable to any outsiders, and you can roam around without the danger of getting targeted.
Don’t Publicize Your Plans
Talking about your travel plans in public, with strangers or posting them on social media can make you vulnerable to being targeted by criminals who know you’re alone. Posting your itinerary or travel plans can lead to thieves knowing where you are and when you’re not, making you more exposed to danger. Avoid talking loud on your cell phone about your whereabouts as it could potentially alert the wrong people. Keeping your plans private can help keep you safe and out of danger’s way.
Stay in Contact with Family and Friends
Before going on your trip, ensure that someone back home knows your travel plans, including where you will be staying, and how to reach you in case of emergency. Checking in routinely can help reassure your loved ones that you are safe and have not met any problems. If something were to happen, they can alert authorities or arrange for assistance to be given to you.
Have a Backup Plan
Political unrest may take place unexpectedly, and it’s important to have a backup plan in case of a threatening situation. In times of panic, losing important documents like passports or IDs is not unusual; hence having photocopies of essential documents and a plan in case of emergencies can save the day. Identifying safe places to go during unrest, like hotels or embassies, is also an essential backup plan in case of need.
Be Prepared for Delays and Closures
Due to political unrest, transportation systems can have limited hours or might sometimes shut down. Making sure you have a backup plan for food, water, and medication in case of any unexpected delays or closures can help reduce the stress of getting stranded. Packing the essential and being prepared can help you avoid unnecessary stress and worry in unfamiliar locations.
Trust Your Instincts
Often, trusting your instincts is the best way to stay safe during political unrest. If something feels off or uncomfortable to you, trust your intuition, and remove yourself from the place. Avoid wandering into uncharted areas, especially during the night, or accepting invitations from strangers. Your instincts are there to help keep you safe, so listen to them because it’s better safe than sorry.