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Solo travel can be empowering and life-affirming (Picture: Getty)
It’s a sad reality that women have lots of things to consider and worry about when planning a trip alone.
Recent research has revealed that over 50% of women say they would be concerned about their safety when travelling solo, but there are so many joys that come with taking a trip by yourself. And women shouldn’t have to miss out.
In an ideal world, women wouldn’t have to do anything differently, or take any additional safety measures when travelling alone. But, we are where we are, and taking extra precautions could be the difference between having a solo trip of a lifetime and feeling like you can’t go.
From ensuring you do the correct research about your destination, to making sure your valuables and cash are kept safe, travel experts from Wizz Air have shared their top tips to help solo travellers feel peace of mind while abroad:
It’s important to make sure you do your research before heading out on your first solo trip.
‘Read the reviews of hotels or BnBs you are considering to ensure the location is safe and near amenities such as public transport,’ says Whizz Air’s travel experts.
‘If you are travelling on a budget, it can be easy to ignore reviews in favour of saving money, however you must ensure there are plenty of reviews available, as this will give you a better understanding of where you will be staying.’
They add that if you are a social person, staying in a shared room in a hostel is a great way to make new friends while still maintaining your solo traveller independence.
‘Many hostels offer female-only dorms, offered for the solo traveller and girl group in mind, so it is advisable to seek out places that offer this.’
Keep valuables locked up
Nothing ruins a holiday quicker than having your stuff stolen, so be vigilant to give yourself the best shot at keeping your valuables safe.
‘If you are staying in a hotel room, keep your valuables locked in the safe, usually provided, to give you peace of mind,’ say the experts. ‘If you are staying in a shared room in a hostel then most will provide lockers, so ensure you travel with a lock and keep the key on you at all times.
‘Hotels are also not generally responsible for items in your room, so if you do have anything particularly valuable then it is advisable to leave them with the front desk.
‘A reputable hotel will give you a written receipt that you have left your goods with them, meaning if they do get lost then they will be liable for this.’
Do your research and be smart with your stuff (Picture: Getty)
Let loved ones know your plans
This one is standard practice for most women – let your friends, family and loved ones know a rough itinerary of your holiday before you go, so if they don’t hear from you then they will know where they should contact.
‘If you intend on going with the flow and don’t have a specific plan in place, then at least let loved ones know a rough idea and where you will be staying,’ suggest the experts.
‘We are all guilty of not sending the necessary “I’m home” text, so avoid causing unnecessary stress and allow a trust family member to track your location.
‘There are numerous apps which allow loved ones to know your activity, offering them peace of mind that you are safe. If, in an emergency, they can’t locate you then they will be able to alert the necessary authorities.’
Hide in plain sight
‘To avoid drawing attention to the fact you are a solo traveller, avoid dressing like a tell-tale tourist and, instead, dress as simply as you can,’ experts say.
‘In fact, you should take note of how locals are dressed to help you curate your outfits. If you notice locals covering certain parts of their body, for example, then you should do the same. Not only will this help you blend in, but it also means you don’t risk seeming disrespectful.’
In order to blend in, the experts at Whizz Air also suggest not waving your expensive valuables about.
‘A pickpocket will spot your fancy camera or your new smartphone and instantly see you as a target,’ they add.
‘While travelling with a phone or a camera can be unavoidable, there are ways you can conceal these high value items. Avoid storing your camera in a dedicated camera bag and instead keep it in a simple and unobvious bag.’
Give yourself a backup
If you are unlucky enough to get mugged while out and about, another expert tip is to carry a dummy wallet on you to hand over – and keep cash hidden on your person.
‘Flat money belts which are strapped underneath your clothes can store cash, cards and any valuables, or for a budget method you can get creative,’ they say.
‘Use a tampon applicator as a makeshift wallet to keep cash hidden – it is exceptionally unlikely a robber will be looking to steal a tampon.’
Small, simple precautions can make a big difference to how you feel (Picture: Getty)
Buy a local SIM
As of December 31 2020, the EU rules on roaming charges no longer apply in the UK, meaning the amount your phone operator can charge you to use your phone in EU countries is no longer capped – which could see your bills skyrocket.
‘As each mobile operator has a different cost for roaming charges, you must check before travelling to see how much using your phone on holiday could cost,’ say the experts.
‘Being too concerned about using your phone, in case of high bill prices, means you are putting yourself in danger as you are unable to contact anyone if you feel unsafe.
‘When you first arrive, consider investing in a local PAYG SIM card to use while abroad and make a note of loved one’s numbers and the emergency numbers of your destination.
‘If you intend on doing a lot of travelling this year, then you should consider upgrading your current phone tariff to allow data roaming, as this will save you more money down the line.’
Let your bank know
If your bank notices a seemingly random payment from a local bar in Spain then they may flag this as suspicious activity and freeze your card. This could lead to some seriously sticky situations.
‘In an increasingly cashless society, having your card and account frozen is possibly the worst thing that can happen while on the first day of your holiday, and can leave you in a vulnerable position,’ say the Whizz Air expert.
‘With this in mind, make sure you bring enough cash to keep you going in case your card gets frozen, lost or stolen, and keep the cash hidden to avoid losing this too.
‘Let your bank know prior to going abroad to avoid any misunderstandings and having to call up your bank while on holiday. This can be done by calling them up or many banks allow you to set a holiday on your account online.’
Choose your destination with intent
The beauty of solo travelling if it is the perfect opportunity to be totally selfish. This is the perfect time for you to really and truly do you.
‘We have all had to compromise while on a group holiday and do something we perhaps wouldn’t have chosen to do ourselves but didn’t want to seem like a party pooper,’ add the experts.
‘Think about what you look for in a holiday; do you enjoy long hikes or exploring a bustling city, or perhaps you just want to lay on a beach and finally read that book.’
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