You wanna make sure you avoid these big solo travel mistakes on your next solo trip! There is an element of uniqueness to solo travel, in that the way you travel when you’re alone is different to when you travel with other people. One major difference is how you go about keeping safe and minimising risks. Ensuring you don’t make these mistakes on you’re next solo trip will mean that you’re travelling safer – allowing you to enjoy your travels even more!
Solo Travel Mistakes Before You Leave Home
1. Psyching Yourself Out & Not Going at All!
Before your first trip (and even the ones after!), travelling solo can seem quite daunting. While there absolutely are risks (as there are with basically everything in life), solo travel is much more fun & exciting than this post may make it seem. Even though there were little slip-ups, I still think travelling solo is the best thing I’ve done for myself.
You’re almost definitely going to be that mix of nervous/excited – or maybe just straight-up nervous – before you go! Let that nervousness push you forward! Whatever you do, don’t give up your travels because you’re scared of travelling alone. That’s the got to be the biggest of the solo travel mistakes you can make!
Solo Travel Mistakes On the Ground
2. Telling People You’re Alone
This is a solo travel mistake I made a couple of times on my first solo trip – I was just so excited to be travelling solo that sometimes I forgot about the risks of basically blurting out “YES I AM COMPLETELY ALONE IN THIS COUNTRY THAT I’VE NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE!!! I’M TOTALLY ALONE AND I DON’T KNOW MY WAY AROUND HERE AND I DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE!!! SUPER ALONE!!!”. While nothing bad ever came of these little slip-ups, as soon as I’d blurted my next thought would be Oh… shit. I probably shouldn’t have said that.
While most of the people you meet have absolutely zero bad intentions, you just don’t know. Being alone does have its risks – if people know you’re alone it can make you a bigger target for crime. Never feel bad for lying about a group of friends back at your hostel, or a boyfriend waiting for you at a train station, or parents who you’re meeting for lunch. If a would-be criminal thinks you’ve got someone around who will notice you’re gone and raise the alarm, you become less of an easy target. Also, fake boyfriends/husbands are way more likely to make creepy men back off than you flat out saying no. It’s total bullshit, but it’s the world we’re in right now.
3. Not Lying About Your Plans
As a kind of continuation from that last point, lying about your plans is another way to get creeps to back off. A stalker-ish guy who was trying to fuck me/date me/marry me was basically interrogating me about my plans – he wanted to show me the sights of the city, or whatever. My response? “Oh, I can’t, I actually fly out tomorrow morning to go back home, and I already have plans with my friends for the rest of today and tonight.” This was all bullshit, of course. I was travelling solo, not leaving Lisbon for another 2 days and I was flying to Amsterdam, not Australia.
Another solo travel mistake you can make is feeling bad for lying. You do not need to feel bad about lying in these kind of situations! You’re lying to keep yourself safe, not to do anything malicious.
4. Not Keeping Your Stuff Safe
When you’re travelling solo, you don’t have another pair of eyes to watch over your stuff. When you’re out and about, you need to keep watch on your bags and any valuables you have with you. I find that the best bags to take are ones with zips or latches, and that sit more to your side or front. When I’m carrying my bag around, I like to keep the zip where I can see it as well, just for that extra element of security.
Also remember that whenever you’re taking stuff out of your bag to keep it all in your sight and within your reach. Don’t go leaving your wallet lying around for anyone to swipe as they walk past!
Tip: Use an Anti-Theft Bag
I’ve been using this one from Travelon!
It actually looks nice and is not the kind of bag that screams I’M A TOURIST! ROB ME!
5. Not Trusting Your Gut
If someone is giving you bad vibes, use the tips above to get yourself away from them! While it’s absolutely important to be confident and open when you travel, one of the biggest solo travel mistakes is being overconfident. You need to maintain some level of cautiousness to keep yourself safe!
6. Not Interacting With Anybody
That being said, don’t get so overcautious that you spend the whole time being a totally unsocial mute! Travelling solo doesn’t mean you have to be completely alone 100% of the time. Talk to people! Whether they’re locals or other travellers, chat to them. You’ll drive yourself mental if you don’t!
Make plans with new friends! Maybe you want to take a day trip out of the city, so ask them if they’d like to come along too. Go on walking tours and pub crawls organised by hostels – you’ll meet some awesome people this way.
These are 6 solo travel mistakes that I’ve made in the past, and since learned from! Solo travelling is an overall amazing experience, but you’ve gotta make sure you keep yourself self.
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