Once you have decided to embark on the adventure of traveling alone and you are clear about where you are going and how, the most important part arrives: planning your trip in detail to guarantee your safety at all times . It is impossible to control 100% of situations and you have to keep your mind open. There will always be something that will not turn out as you expected and you will have to improvise as you go. But if you use imagination and anticipate events, you will be able to prevent the possible unforeseen events that you may have to face and have the necessary tools to solve them.
- 1 Safety tips before traveling
- 2 Safety tips while traveling
- 3 Do not panic
Safety tips before traveling
Take out health insurance
If you are going to travel within Europe, applying for the European health card is enough for you. If you go further, it is totally advisable to take out international travel insurance, especially if you visit developing countries. The most normal thing is that nothing happens to you and you can travel safely, but you never know. It is better to invest a few extra euros in health so as not to find yourself in another country too ill to be able to take care of bureaucratic procedures to get medical assistance.
Take extra money
Never travel with the right money, because money is your best guarantee of safety when traveling alone . You can survive without clothes, without documentation, without accommodation and even without a telephone, but if you are alone and without money, it will be much more difficult (although not impossible). Plan an approximate budget of what the trip will cost you, and always try to have a small contingency fund in case you have bad luck and need to spend on getting any of the above things. Also, contact your bank before leaving to find out if they have offices in the country where you are going and, if they don’t, ask for a contact number for incidents. You don’t want your card to fail and not know who to go to in an emergency.
Print your tickets and accommodation reservations
This small detail can avoid great misfortunes. It is indisputable that it is much more comfortable to use your mobile, but, even if you do, always have a paper copy on hand for safety. You don’t want them not to let you get on the plane or train because your screenshot of the ticket is too pixelated and unreadable by the barcode reader, or to stay on the ground or on the street if your phone is stolen.
Plan an alternate route
It is always good to know in advance the flights from other nearby airports and what land routes are available . Thus, if your flight is canceled or you miss the train but you need to travel at all costs, you will be sure that you can move by investing a little more money and some extra time.
Locate the security forces and emergency services
It is essential that you can contact the police or call an ambulance if something happens to you during your trip. Before leaving, look up the emergency number of the country / city you are going to visit. Also write down the telephone number of the Spanish consulate / embassy of the places you visit: they will be the best ones to help you if you have a serious problem.
That someone close always knows where you are
Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and the details of your accommodation with your family or friends. Also try to contact them regularly using the free WiFi that you will find in many establishments. So they can easily locate you in an emergency.
Safety tips while traveling
- Plan your itineraries before leaving. A tourist consulting maps in the middle of the street can attract unwanted attention.
- Make photocopies of your documentation and your transport tickets. Keep them in a safe place and different from where you have the originals.
- Never neglect your belongings .
- Always carry different credit cards and some cash with you in case one fails you.
- Never carry all your money with you or keep it all in one place.
- Use a padlock to lock your belongings when you leave your accommodation
- Always leave a note at your accommodation briefly explaining where you have gone and what time you should be back. This way they will know that if you do not return within a reasonable period of time, they should look for you.
And above all…
Do not panic
That is the golden rule to handle safely in any situation: stay calm. You can suffer a theft or lose your suitcase and run out of money or documentation, have an accident, get stranded without accommodation or transportation … Anything. But always, I repeat, there is ALWAYS a solution to any problem . Most of the time they are at your fingertips. You just have to be cool enough to find it.
If you are ever stranded and forced to sleep on the street, look for closed spaces where there are people . Avoid parks or portals. The airport is a good option. If you can’t get there, ask for the nearest hospital and try to spend the night in the waiting room . Or, when you can’t, find out if there’s a night bus, explain your situation to the driver, and pay him to let you ride all night. If you get lost, don’t wander aimlessly , because you could accidentally end up in a dangerous area. Sometimes it happens by mistake: if a neighborhood gives you a bad feeling, get out of there quickly by going back the way you came.
Stay calm and trust your instincts always . Don’t let it show that you are in trouble: that makes you vulnerable. Tourists themselves are easy targets, so don’t signal yourself more if you’re feeling insecure. For this reason, do not ask for help on the street . Go into a bar or shop or call the police, especially if your documents have been stolen or lost. Trust strangers, but don’t let your guard down – there are soulless out there, but most people are decent and will try to help you.