Picture a solo traveller in your head. Are they young or old? Wealthy or on a shoestring budget? Single or married? The truth is solo travel is on the rise across all major demographics and  its important to think about how to stay safe

While young backpackers still account for the majority of solo travellers, new research shows all kinds of people are now setting off on solo sojourns. According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2015, solo travel has more than doubled amongst affluent travellers in the last two years (32% up from 14% in 2013).

Those 45 years and older are also opting to go it alone, with 18% travelling solo compared to 16% in 2013.

With solo travel on the rise across all major demographics, its important to think about how to stay safe.

There’s are lots of new gadgets designed to offer greater security and peace of mind but it’s also important to remember the tried and trusted ‘street smarts’ to help you steer clear of trouble.

That’s why we’ve combined both!

Here are some new gadgets and a few tips we’ve picked up to help keep you safe while traveling alone.

Be smart with your luggage

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Street Smart Tip:

Make sure you can carry your luggage on your own (comfortably)

If you’re fumbling with excess luggage or are worn down from carrying overweight bags, you likely aren’t paying close attention to those around you or your personal belongings. Try to travel lightly, or at least make sure you can manage toting around your own gear.

Tech Tip:

Use a smart luggage tag to keep a close eye on your bags.

The CalypsoTag uses Bluetooth with a smartphone app to let you know if your luggage is in (or goes out of) sight. It’s perfect for tracking down your bag at baggage claim and will alert you if someone tries to take it.

 

Be smart about where you stay

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Street Smart Tip:

Don’t tell people where you’re staying

One of the best parts of solo travel is meeting lots of new people – but not everyone can be trusted right away. Try to avoid mentioning exactly which hotel you’re staying in or just pretend you can’t remember its name to help protect your privacy in case your new friends suddenly become a bit too friendly.

Tech Tip:

Up your protection against any intruders with the Howsar Quick Lock.

It’s cheap, lightweight and can be put into place in a few seconds. It’s good for doors without locks and adding an extra layer of security for any that may not be up to snuff.

 

Be smart about where you meet people

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Street Smart Tip:

Meet at public landmarks.When making plans with new travel friends or local guides, suggest meeting at a public landmark instead of your or someone else’s accommodation. It puts you in control and helps ensure the location you’re heading to is familiar and in view of others.

Tech Tip:

Use the world’s first international SIM card to make sure you’re always in touch

SIM cards are usually tied to network carriers in the country you’re visiting, but if you want to make sure you’ll be connected wherever you go, try ChatSim. It connects with all of the major chatting apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and LINE to give you unlimited chatting for one fee. You can even add on voice calls to make sure you can always get in touch.

 

Be smart and trust your gut feeling

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Street Smart Tip:

Learn to ‘read’ situations and trust your instincts

The best street-smart advice of all is to trust your gut, especially when you’re in a new place. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, get out of the situation. If you sense you’re being scammed or misled, there’s no need to start an argument, but be direct and clear with what you’re doing next.

Tech Tip:

Use clothes and accessories with hidden pockets to tuck away cash

It’s good to have a bit of cash stashed away in case you get pickpocketed or swindled out of money. For the ladies, there’s this undercover bra stash that creates a hidden pocket for money right on your bra. There are also travel scarves and other accessories with similar features.

 

Be smart about how and where you party

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Street Smart Tip:

Be careful around booze

Of course, going out and experiencing the nightlife in other parts of the world is a lot of fun and a big part of the travel experience for many, but as anyone who’s had a big weekend will tell you, it also leads to lost belongings, injuries and poor choices. We won’t tell you what to do on this one, but be smart!

Tech Tip:

Use a wrist strap to protect your smartphone

Going out at night often means lots of photos, which means your smartphone is a primary target for pickpockets and drunken mishaps. Avoid the dreaded phone drop by using a wrist strap.

Have you ever travelled on your own? Share your safety tips in the comment section below!