Safe and Sound

Solo travel can be thrilling, but safety should be the priority. Read this post for advice on preparation, using technology, and listening to your gut when solo traveling.

Safe and Sound
Photo by Axel Antas-Bergkvist / Unsplash

Whenever I plan a solo trip, I often tell my parents, my friends and my family ahead of time. The reaction always tends to be mixed, but somewhat celebratory. I can't blame them. While solo travel can be incredibly exciting and invigorating, it can also be quite nerve-wracking for those who care about you. After all, you are venturing into unfamiliar territory all by yourself, with no one to rely on but yourself. The threat of crime is something that looms over all of us, and it's only natural to want to protect yourself. However, just because you're traveling alone doesn't mean you have to compromise on safety. There are actually several effective ways to ensure your safety as a solo traveler without driving yourself crazy with worry. Travel advisories are essential for planning your trip ahead or redirecting you to an alternative destination. Trusting your instincts can be a lifesaver, and finally, modern tracking technology can provide reassurance to your loved ones. Ultimately, your solo adventure should be an unforgettable experience, but in the best possible way!

A Travel Advisory Is In Effect

Whether you're embarking on a journey within the borders of the United States or venturing abroad, it is crucial to always be well-prepared. Travel advisories are regularly issued, providing important information about various parts of the world. These advisories are not solely related to criminal activities or unrest; they can also be prompted by recent weather events. That is why it is essential to stay informed by regularly checking the news and weather updates, especially in anticipation of any upcoming weather events. Additionally, conducting thorough research about the destination you plan to visit is highly recommended. Different times of the year may offer more affordable options, but it is important to understand the underlying reasons behind these price variations. For instance, if you are considering a trip to Florida or the Gulf Coast in late August or early September, it is crucial to be cautious about potential hurricanes as it is the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic. If you are planning to stay in a city, it is advisable to research the surrounding area, and Google Maps street view can be an invaluable tool in this regard. When traveling to another country, it is essential to check for any travel advisories and stay updated with their news. By doing so, you can minimize the chances of unexpected surprises or the need to alter your plans at the last minute. I'll give you an example, even during the pandemic, I managed to embark on a few solo trips. In my state, there were Covid guidelines that required residents to quarantine after visiting certain "high-risk" areas or states. However, by exercising caution and visiting lower-risk states, I was able to travel to Colorado, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania (specifically Pittsburgh) without the need for a two-week quarantine. Nevertheless, I remained vigilant and avoided close contact with others for a few days afterward, just to be safe. The key is to stay informed and adequately prepared for any situation that may arise.

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Listen To Your Heart

Have you ever done something and later regretted it? Like, you had this gut feeling that it wasn't a good idea, and turns out, you were right? Well, your instincts are pretty smart, my friend. When you're traveling, trust your gut and use your common sense. If something feels off, stay away from it. Imagine walking down a dark street at night, would you feel safe? Probably not. Same goes for other situations. Stay alert, but be kind to others. It's okay to have a chat with the bartender or a fellow traveler at a bar, but you don't have to spill your life story if you don't want to. And if you're waiting for an Uber or Lyft, make sure you're getting into the right car. These may seem like common sense tips, but there are always people out there looking to take advantage of others. Don't let your guard down. And remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially when you're traveling. Oh, and don't forget to take off those earbuds and soak in the atmosphere of your destination. It's not only a great way to experience it fully, but it also helps you blend in and not stand out as a target. This trip is all about you, so trust your instincts and enjoy the journey. You'll be just fine.

Road House (1989) | Patrick swayze, Funny pictures, Patrick wayne

Don't Track Me, Bro!

I personally hate tracking, but I understand it's a necessary evil. I use it when I absolutely need to, and will consider using it more with close friends and family. Otherwise, it's what texting is for! If you're more comfortable with it, there's plenty of ways to loop in your family and friends, and may be excellent tools for you:

  • FlightAware: This tracking tool is undoubtedly the most comfortable option I would choose, considering it provides access to public information. A few years ago, one of my friends introduced me to this website, and I have been relying on it ever since. The website offers a plethora of features, but its standout feature is the ability to track flights in real time. While having the flight number is ideal, you can also search for flights based on the departure and arrival airports. Additionally, you can search for flights by airline. As I mentioned earlier, being prepared is crucial, and FlightAware can help you anticipate airline delays by tracking the origin of the incoming plane. FlightAware also has a highly recommended app that I suggest for friends and family.
  • Life360: This app is widely recognized and is compatible with both iPhone and Android phones. It allows you to easily track the whereabouts of your family or friends. In addition to identity theft protection and roadside assistance, it offers emergency assistance, phone tracking, and digital safety features. You have the option to choose between free or subscription-based services. This can be particularly beneficial for families with diverse phone models.
  • If you’re an iPhone or Android family, you can turn on the “share my location” feature to share with select friends and family members. This is phone specific, and also does not work in all areas.
Cell Phone Addiction Memes | Fun

Final Thoughts

If you're considering visiting a particular area, it's always a good idea to check travel advisories. Not only will they help you avoid any potential unrest, but they can also provide valuable information about weather conditions. Trust your instincts, they are there for a reason. If something doesn't feel right, it's important to listen to that inner voice. And lastly, our phones have become an integral part of our lives, so why not use them to our advantage? There are various ways to utilize tracking features on our phones to enhance our safety while traveling alone. As a man in my early 40's, I still make it a point to text my mother whenever the plane takes off or lands, whether it's a connecting flight or the final destination. It brings her peace of mind, and there's nothing wrong with reassuring someone you love that everything is going smoothly. Sometimes, I even update my mother during the trip to keep her in the loop. Apart from that, my close friends are usually well-informed about my whereabouts. This not only makes them feel involved in my journey but also adds an extra layer of security. Additionally, I occasionally share interesting "stories" on my personal social media accounts. So, while embracing the excitement of solo travel, it's crucial to prioritize your safety every step of the way.