Preparing for Take-Off
Travel can be a little intimidating and stressful, as we all have a fear of the unknown. This is even truer for those who choose to travel solo.
Whenever venturing out on our own, we must always remember that safety for solo travel and solo adventures begins before leaving home. The preparation we do prior to departure can often make or break our trip.
In order to calm you and to help you feel more at ease when travelling solo, I have assembled a list of tips to assist in preparing for take-off which hopefully will make the thought of travelling solo a little less intimidating.
…… AND WE ARE OFF
Before Your Flight
- Research, research and more research. Research is the key to safety as a successful solo traveller
- Choose a destination that is within your comfort zone and budget
- Arrange travel/health insurance before departing to your destination
- Scan passport, credit cards, health card, travel insurance documents, flight tickets. Email all of these documents to yourself so that you have everything on your phone, as well as to a trusted friend or family member
- Make arrangements to have your mail collected if travelling for an extended period of time
- If you will be gone for an extensive period of time (over 2 weeks), make arrangements to have your house checked periodically
- prepare your home so that it appears lived in (put lights on timers)
- Research tours and attractions. Make a list of all of the “must see’s” and “must do’s” and book your “must do” tours in advance in order to avoid disappointment
- Make arrangements for travel to the airport. I prefer to take a limousine or airport taxi service. The last thing I want to do is drive over an hour home when returning from my vacation
- Research the destination to determine the “safe” and “walkable” areas and book your accommodation in these areas. Always avoid the questionable areas of your destination
- Once you have your flights, hotels and tours booked, make an itinerary which contains the names of hotels, destinations, events and telephone numbers. Give this to a trusted friend or family member, as well as email it to yourself so that you have it on your phone
- Find the contact information for the law enforcement at your destination, as well as your Country’s consulate. This should be stored in your phone and available to you at all times
- Prepare a slip with your name and contact information to put in your wallet, backpack, luggage, carry-on or any other item which you may be carrying. If any of these items are lost, it will be easier to locate you if the item is found
- Exchange currency if required
- Arrange doggy daycare, or any other care needed
- Pack, keeping in mind any cultures which may affect your choice of clothing
You are now ready for take-off!
- Carry your valuables in your front pocket and store your cash and credit cards in various different places. Always remember to carry a minimal amount of cash with you
- Always carry your passport with you. Leave a photocopy of your passport in your suitcase. Always have a copy of your passport stored on your phone in the event that your passport gets lost or stolen
- Be cautious when choosing transportation from the airport to your accommodations
- Follow the culture of your destination. Avoid drawing attention to yourself….dress like a local
- When touring an unfamiliar destination, stay in the well populated areas and avoid alleyways and secluded areas
- Never disclose the name of your accommodation, destination, etc. to strangers no matter how friendly they may seem. Be friendly, make friends, but never provide personal information. Never let on that you are travelling alone
- Do not explore after dark, unless you are extremely familiar with the area, or have met up with a trusted person
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Be alert, do not use your cellphone or earbuds unless it is absolutely necessary. Do not become distracted. Sit and/or stand with your back against a wall or barrier so that you are always aware of your surroundings
- Leave all valuables at home and do not to wear flashy jewelry and/or clothing. Be conservative in your attire
- Be prepared if you find yourself lost. Ensure that you have a map of your destination installed on your phone or carry a map with you
- Never, ever get intoxicated or leave your drink unattended
- Post on social media every day or two so that your friends and family know you are safe. They will also enjoy seeing your photos
- Exude confidence. Walk with a purpose and make eye contact. Always smile
- Be friendly but firm, if need be
- Always have your cellphone fully charged
- Listen to your gut! If a situation doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t. Remove yourself
- Even though it is recommended that you have an itinerary prior to leaving for your destination, don’t plan every second of every day. Leave yourself some free time to relax or just explore your local surroundings
- Try something new that you have never tried before. Whether it be food or an activity or something else, get out of your comfort zone and live! Have fun!
Related: 10 Tips for the Solo Cruiser
Although this Checklist – Let’s Get Ready for Takeoff appears extensive, the key to successful travel is to prepare, prepare, prepare and research, research, and more research. I have now been travelling solo for almost 10 years and I still follow this list each and every time I travel or adventure out on my own. Having a black belt in martial arts has also prepared me for venturing out on my on safely
“Traveling alone will be the scariest, life changing, experience of your life. Try it at least once” – unknown
I would love to hear what your rituals are in preparation of take-off.
Safe and Happy Travels!!!