1. DON’T TELL EVERYONE YOU’RE ALONE
This rule is crucial whether you’re traveling alone in Gauteng, visiting Victoria Falls alone, or going somewhere else.
When trying to organize a group excursion, I let other backpackers in my hostels and guesthouses know that I’m traveling alone, but I make an effort to hide this fact when I’m just wandering around.
Tell a stranger your husband/wife/friend is in the restroom and will come out in a moment if they inquire who you’re traveling with.
Additionally, if you ever feel uneasy, go somewhere really public and even strike up a conversation with someone to make it seem like you’re traveling with them.
2. ALWAYS CARRY YOUR HOTEL’S BUSINESS CARD
It might be challenging to navigate and recall addresses when traveling in a new country.
Even if learning how to use public transportation can help you save money, when it’s late at night or you’re in an uncomfortable circumstance taking a taxi home fast is the best choice.
You can swiftly return to safety if you have your hotel’s business card on hand and can give it to the driver without encountering any language or navigational difficulties.
3. ASK FOR AN MAP WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR HOTEL.
While most visitors request a map when they arrive, you should also request that the hotel staff highlight it so you can know which places are secure enough for you to explore on your own and which you should avoid.
The more you look at it, the more obvious it will be to potential robbers and those trying to take advantage of you that you are unfamiliar with the area, so memorize it and have it with you at all times in a secret location.
4. DON’T STOP IF YOU’RE BEING FOLLOWED
I can honestly state that despite taking countless solo camping excursions, this has only ever happened to me once.
I made the error of getting my bus fare ready before even reaching the bus stop while I was in Johannesburg. The man gave me a frightening gaze before starting to follow me to the stop.
I gave him a knowing glance in the eyes to let him know that I knew he was there, then I walked quickly but firmly to the closest group of people and sat down among them.
To make the possible thief think I knew the group of people talking, I even smiled and waved to them.
5. BEFORE LEAVING HOME, PREPARE FOR TROUBLE
Make copies of your passport, visa, ATM card, credit card, birth certificate, driver’s license, and other crucial documents or ID cards before departing on your trip.
One copy should be left at home with family or a close friend, and the other should be kept hidden from the originals somewhere in your bag.
If something is stolen or lost, this will spare you a lot of hassle.
Before leaving the house, download personal safety apps to your phone for an extra layer of security.
6. BUY PICKPOCKET-PROOF CLOTHING
When traveling, leaving valuables on display makes you a walking target.
In fact, I advise leaving everything can’t avoid losing at home, including your grandmother’s jewelry, your Rolex watch, and that expensive Macbook Pro.
Nevertheless, some goods, such as cash, credit cards, debit cards, and cameras, are necessary when traveling.
Invest in undergarments, tank tops, and jeans with hidden interior pockets to keep your things secure rather than carrying them in a handbag or a pocket that is simple to rob.
7. KEEP YOUR BAG IN FRONT OF YOU IF YOU CARRY ONE
Women’s response is straightforward:
Bring a bag or handbag with a strap that rests on your hip after crossing your body. These can be simply held firmly against your chest.
I advise wearing a backpack as a front pack for males.
Although it may seem absurd, I have had several acquaintances who had their backpack zippers opened by thieves who took their money, cameras, and phones without their knowledge.
Keep an eye on your possessions at all times.
8. DON’T GET DISTRACTED
Distracting tourists from a chaotic or exciting scenario is one of the most popular pickpocketing strategies used by thieves.
Others may even throw a baby at you so you have to concentrate on catching it. Some people may just talk to you or surround you with kids and start high-fiving you.
9. TRY TO BLEND IN WITH THE LOCALS
Leave your Yankee’s t-shirt and fanny pack at home and try to blend in with the locals instead of announcing that you’re a tourist.
You can’t help it if your skin tone and physical characteristics are different, but you can still take precautions to avoid instantly giving away that you don’t know where you are.
Beforehand, conduct some research on customs to avoid offending anyone, and try to wear similar clothing to the people in the community.
10. DON’T ASSUME YOUR HOTEL ROOM IS SAFE
Many people I’ve encountered have had their money, passports, and other valuables “go missing” after assuming they could leave them laying around in their hotel rooms.
Thefts occur whether you are staying in a luxury hotel or a low-cost hostel. Additionally, you shouldn’t always entrust your belongings to the front desk.
One visitor I met left his cash and passport at his hostel’s front desk. They pretended they had no idea what he was talking about when he came back for his possessions.
Utilize the in-room safes and lockers that only you know the combination of to keep your belongings secure.
11. LEARN HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF
Self-defense classes are a good idea for everyone, not just solo travelers.
Violent assaults might happen to you at home or when you’re traveling.
Along with giving you the ability to escape dangerous circumstances, learning self-defense techniques will boost your confidence as a single traveler.
12. LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
When you are so intoxicated that others must take care of you, you put yourself in danger.
This is particularly true if you’re visiting a new place alone.
If you’re at a bar close to your house, at least you’ll see some recognizable people and have friends there to watch out for you.
However, you must always be able to properly care for yourself when you travel alone.
This doesn’t mean you can’t go out for drinks, just always make sure you’re retaining control.
13. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT
The most crucial piece of advice on the entire list is this. Your instincts are usually right.
Get away from someone if you meet someone new and something about them makes you uncomfortable.
Get in a cab if you suddenly develop a terrible feeling in your stomach while exploring a new neighborhood. If after checking in something just seems off, leave the hotel and locate another place to stay.
Never undervalue the strength of your own instincts.
14. KNOW A FEW USEFUL PHRASES IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Although no one expects you to become fluent in a foreign language before your trip—although you’ll undoubtedly have an advantage if you can—knowing a few helpful phrases is essential.
It’s crucial to know how to ask for assistance along with how to order meals, find the closest bathroom, and greet people politely.