Solo travel is liberating and empowering. You can travel at your own pace, wake up at whatever time you like and do only the things that interest you. Here are 10 tips that will help make your solo vacation a safe and enjoyable one.
1) Pack light
As a solo traveller, it’s important to pack light. You’ll be less of a target than someone who has a huge luggage or multiple bags. A light load is also easier to handle when you’re going up flights of stairs or running to catch the bus. Before you leave on your trip, try walking around your neighbourhood with all your baggage. You should be able to shoulder your load for some distance without struggling. If you’re looking for a lightweight and roomy pack that won’t add any unnecessary weight, check out the award-winning Osprey Transporter 40 Expedition Duffel, Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 45L and Cabin Zero Ultra Light Cabin Bag 44L. These workhorses are as tough as nails and built to be roughly dragged across rugged terrains.
2) Compress your clothing
In the name of packing light and packing smart, you can compress your clothing to create up to 80% more room in your suitcase or backpack. Compression sacks compress items by allowing most of the air inside to be pushed out. They are popular among hikers and backpackers, particularly for their ability to compress a sleeping bag into a very small size. Travellers with lots of bulky winter clothing will also appreciate a load that is as compact as possible.
We recommend the Eagle Creek Pack It Original Compression Cube Set, Travel Smart Compress N Pack 4 Pack and Sea to Summit Dry Compression Sack – M . Get different sizes to organize your clothing, with one sack for tops, one sack for bottoms and one sacks for everything else. You can also use them as laundry bags.
3) Carry your valuables with you at all times
If you’re staying in a hostel, they might not provide any lockers or safes. To keep your valuables secure, consider getting an anti-theft backpack like the Bobby Urban Anti-Theft Cut-Proof Backpack, Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Travel Pack and Pacsafe Vibe 40 Backpack. These are backpacks with spacious main compartments and anti-theft features like security clips, slashguard straps, RFID-safe blocking pockets and secure zip tabs. When you’re out exploring, it’ll be safer to carry your valuables with you than leaving it at the hostel.
4) Read lots of hostel or hotel reviews
Read up as much as you can. From the reviews online, you can roughly gauge if a particular hostel or hotel is safe. You don’t want to skimp on your accommodation budget only to have all your valuables stolen. Also, do a search on different neighborhoods and learn about the crime rates. Solo female travellers may wish to stay in female-only dormitories or hostels. Choose whatever makes you feel most comfortable and safe.
5) Keep your emergency cash in a money belt
A lightweight money belt, worn under your clothes where no one can see it, is the most inexpensive way to avoid grab-and-run theft. Remember, don’t keep all your cash in your money belt. Carry enough cash for the day in your backpack or wallet, so that you won’t have to keep dipping into your secret emergency stash. Check out the Pacsafe Cashsafe 25 Travel Belt Wallet, Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt and Go Travel Money Belt Rfid. You can store your cash, credit cards, smartphone and passport in them. They are also metal-free, so you don’t have to remove them when you go through airport security.
6) Don’t flaunt your valuables
Without a companion to watch your back, you are more vulnerable to theft. Always be discreet and keep your valuables as hidden as possible. Before you travel, you might want to spend some time sticking duct tape on your laptop and camera to make them look old and well-used. If pickpockets and scam artists are on the lookout for an easy target with expensive-looking gear, they might not pick you if everything you own looks like they’re falling apart.
7) Carry a handy Swiss Army Knife with you
The smallest items are sometimes the biggest life-savers. A Swiss Army Knife can be used to cut wood for fires, prep meals by the camp stove, attend to first aid needs, pry open jammed doors and pop open wine bottles. You will find this multipurpose tool invaluable when you have nobody to rely on but yourself. We love the Victorinox Swiss Champ 91 Mm, Victorinox Huntsman Camouflage 91 Mm and Victorinox Delemont Evowood 14 85Mm. Think of these hardy pocket knives as your take-anywhere toolbox. They are guaranteed to be your lifelong companion.
8) Only carry the bare essentials when you go out at night
If you are heading out alone after dusk, don’t carry a big backpack as it’ll attract too much attention. Opt for something smaller and nondescript, like the Pacsafe Slingsafe LX50 Mini CroSlingsafe Body Bag, Pacsafe Citysafe CS75 Cross Body Travel Bagand Pacsafe Citysafe Cx Convertible Crossbody. These sensible cross-body bags hold your tablet, phone, wallet and make up (for ladies) comfortably. They also have plenty of security features like slashguards and RFID-safe pockets.
9) Keep family members or friends updated on your whereabouts
It’s always good to keep someone in the loop, so that there’s a point of reference or contact in the case of an emergency. Also, consider having some ‘in case of emergency’ information on your phone’s lock screen wallpaper. A simple list could include any medical conditions, allergies, blood type and emergency contact.
10) Invest in travel-sized toiletries
You’ll not be sharing toiletries with anyone when you travel solo, so it is a good idea to buy travel-sized toiletries that will be just enough for your own use. You can also buy empty travel bottles to store your own soaps and lotions. Humangear M Gotoob 3-Pack 2.0Oz/55Ml is an award-winning bottle made from soft yet rugged silicone, so it’s easy to squeeze out all the contents. A large opening makes it easy to fill and clean, and an ID-window on the collar helps you remember what’s inside. It is airplane carry-on approved, food-safe (FDA), and 100% BPA and PC-free. The Go Travel Cabin Bottles are also a popular option.