How to stay safe when you're vacationing on your own.
Traveling solo has its benefits. For starters, you get to set your own pace, you gain a much richer cultural experience and you can meet new friends more easily. But there is one downside: Safety. Traveling alone can make you more vulnerable to scammers, pickpockets and other undesirables. Here's how to stay safe when you're on your own.
Do your groundwork
Research the places you're planning to visit, to find out about any known risks or dangers. As a woman traveling by herself, the last thing you want is to be going to somewhere with a high crime rate, for example.
Plan such that you arrive at your destination in the day -- there's a better chance of public transport being available at this time and you'll have more opportunity to get your bearings before dark. Avoid walking in unknown or badly lit places at night, and don't use unlicensed public transport.
Exercise hotel safety
Ask for a room close to the elevator if you can. This way, you won't need to walk down long corridors that may be badly lit to reach your room. Never let anyone else know your room number. This includes asking reception not to broadcast your name and room number when you're checking in. You never know who may hear this and take advantage of the knowledge.
You might be totally unfamiliar with the area but don't let it show. Many criminals will specifically prey on tourists because they see them as easy pickings. Act confident and you'll be less of a target.
Blend into the crowd by dressing conservatively. Avoid wearing revealing or attention-seeking outfits, jewelry, flashy accessories and other valuables -- even costume jewelry poses unnecessary risk to your safety.
Pay attention to local culture
Different countries have different cultural and social norms. It's always a good idea to brush up on these whenever you travel abroad but even more so if you're flying solo. Even seemingly innocent things like smiling at someone, making eye contact with them or having your legs on display can attract unwanted attention.
Don't let your guard down
It's always nice if you can make new friends on your travels, but they're really little more than strangers. So stay vigilant, use common sense and don't let them handle your bag or money. Another thing to keep in mind: Scammers and pickpockets can be charming and genuine so it's often hard to know who to trust.
Never leave food or drinks unattended
There's always the risk of spiking. Also be wary of accepting snacks, beverages and cigarettes from strangers or new acquaintances.