How To Protect Yourself While Travelling Solo

People walking on the streets of Europe

Disclaimer: The article is a general guide that suggests tactics and products you can use to decrease the risks of being in danger while travelling solo. Since we cannot mention all of the restrictions and technicalities of different countries and airports, be sure to check what products are legally allowed in the country you’re visiting and also what can be carried in your carry-on and what has to go into your luggage. 

With borders opening up, people are starting to travel again. While some prefer to voyage with their families, some go alone. Travelling by yourself can become a rewarding experience, but even so, there is no reason to forget about the safety and potential dangers that can come your way. To keep our travellers safe, we want to share tips on how to behave when you are alone in a foreign country and discuss a couple of products we found useful in our travels. Our suggestions are not limited to solo travellers; people who travel in groups also will find some useful information here.

Two lost tourists (a boy and a girl) ask for the direction from a man while holding a map in their hands.

Know the approximate way to go to your destination.

Nobody expects you to remember the way to your chosen destination in its entirety; nevertheless, try to check and analyse it in advance to feel more comfortable in foreign surroundings. If your phone dies, wifi does not work, and you don’t know the language, only your memory will get you out of this situation.

Pretend you know where you are going.

It is easy for natives to notice tourists, especially if they are lost. Confusedly looking around, constantly checking their phone for directions, tourists stand out in the crowd and can attract the attention of some shady people. To avoid that, even if you feel confused, try to calm down and find a place where you can safely check your phone for directions. Confidently walk there and pretend that it is the exact place you needed to get. The best options would be the hall of the hotel or cafe. That way, you will not draw as much attention and, if you are still confused, you can check your location with the workers.

A woman is writing something in the notebook with a pen on the table.

Write out important addresses and phone numbers on the piece of paper and always have them with you.

As we have mentioned above, many unpredictable things can happen on your way to your destination. One of them could be the sudden death of your phone and the inability to charge it on the road. Even though the possibilities of it happening are slim, it can happen. To be prepared: take a pen and paper, and write down emergency phone numbers, as well as the address of the destination to be able to call or get where you planned to without any trouble.

Research the places you should NOT go to.

There are always non-touristic places that even natives tend to avoid. If you don’t like to challenge your luck, search for them in advance. They are not that hard to spot, and google is filled with articles that list them.

A crowd of people walking in different directions somewhere in the financial district.

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Yes, we sound like parents right now, but don’t stare at your phone when you travel alone. In general, it is not the best idea, but it is especially dangerous when there is a lack of people who can help you if something goes wrong. When you walk on the street or take public transport, be aware of who is doing what, who looks dangerous and who pays too much attention to your humble persona. Indeed, some may be just interested in you, but it is better to be cautious.

Wear things with hidden pockets.

You won’t believe how easy it is for some people to slide their hands into your jeans pocket or coat and steal your wallet or phone. That is why it is always a bad idea to leave important documents in unzipped pockets. However, zippers cannot often save you from some professionals, so it is even better to leave valuables in hidden pockets. Fortunately, the market already understands the significance of pockets like that. From scarves to mini bags, you will find plenty of garments equipped with hidden pockets, so go shopping and have fun!

Woman packing her suitcase

Below you will find a few products we found convenient to keep you safe while travelling. Please be mindful of what products are legally allowed in the country you’re visiting and also what can be carried in your carry-on and what has to go into your luggage. Be sure to check airlines’ restrictions first before buying and packing these devices.

Pepper Spray

Good old paper sprays have been a self-defence favourite for a while now. While it is a pretty straightforward device that allows you to spray an attacker to their face and cause them temporary eye burning, you should be aware of its potential drawbacks. On a windy day, the direction of the device’s gas is unpredictable. Thus, potentially, if the wind is coming towards you, everything from the spray will spread, well, in your direction. That is why you should be mindful of when you are using it and how. Note: Pepper spray is banned in some countries – so being caught carrying it could get you in serious trouble!

Loud whistle 

Even though whistles cannot damage the assaulters, they are a great way to attract attention and slow down the attacker. The strong piercing sound is usually more successful at drawing attention than just screaming. Moreover, while shock may cause your voice to stop function, breathing will always be with you.

Portable Door Lock

You never know who has the key to your hotel or the apartment you lease. Just in case, we suggest you have a portable door lock that allows you to close the door from the inside. This device can help you prevent somebody from entering your room from outside, even if they possess the key to your place.

We hope you will not need to use any of the products we mentioned, but we always say it’s better to be safe than sorry! We wish you a safe trip full of laughter and awe-inspiring experiences.

Read more: The Best Holiday Destinations for Solo TEFL Teachers/ Travellers

The post How To Protect Yourself While Travelling Solo appeared first on The TEFL Academy Blog.

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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