Although remembering your passport and flight tickets are obviously very important parts of your travel plans, these basic essentials pale into insignificance when compared to the most vital part of any holiday itinerary: your own personal safety.
The recent death of British tourist Stephen Ashton, who was shot dead in KohPhangan, has brought the issue of travel safety into particularly sharp focus. The young man from Purley, Surrey, died in tragic circumstances as he celebrated New Year’s Eve at a beach party on the popular Thai island, when he was hit by a stray bullet from feuding gangs.
While thinking about the worst-case scenario is not always an easy thing to do, it is important to consider the things that could wrong so that you take pre-emptive action to help avoid any difficulties during the time that you’re away.
It is especially important to take extra precautions when travelling alone, as there might not be anyone to help you out should you find yourself in a sticky situation.
Of course, extra safety precautions can mean extra costs, however, there are a few ways to meet these additional expenses. You could try getting some temporary work before you leave, or, failing that, you could try selling a few items that you won’t need while you’re away. The question “should I sell my xbox 360?” may seem a tricky conundrum now, but the right answer will be painfully obvious should you get into trouble on your travels having skimped on certain safeguards.
Even before leaving, you can take steps to ensure your safety by checking out your travel destination on the Foreign and Commonwealth website, which will flag up any immediate dangers, such as civil unrest or natural disasters. If you’re going on your own to any red spots, such as Bogota in Colombia, or the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, then it might be a good idea to think about going with a travel partner.
When you arrive you need to keep your wits about you too, as solo tourists are prime targets for robberies. To avoid this eventuality, it is important to make sure you stick to well lit areas, at least for the first few days, and if you take money with you while you’re exploring your new surroundings, make sure that you don’t keep it all in the one pocket: spread your cash about your person. You can even keep an emergency stash in your sock or under the innersole of you shoes.
Travelling alone is all about freedom and having fun, but it’s important to remember that you haven’t got a travel partner watching your back, so you can’t relax too much. However, as long as you’re careful while you’re away, and take a few steps to protect yourself, then a solo trip can be as safe as going with a group, with half the hassle.