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Safety Tips for Solo Travellers

Monday 01 July 2024

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Travelling alone is one of those intimidating yet enticing activities that call to the adventurers among us. The idea of having no one to rely on in a strange place can be scary but with proper planning and safety precautions, solo travel can be one of the most enriching and empowering experiences in life. Join CrossCountry as we explore essential safety tips for solo travellers, because who better to explore the world with than yourself?

Research the Destination

Thoroughly researching a destination before travelling gives you more than just ideas for fun activities and sights to see; it also provides really important information about local customs and laws, weather conditions, transport networks, and other essential safety tips. Having this knowledge before setting off can help you be better prepared and safer on the move.

Creating an itinerary is both a creative and practical way to record this information. Include any safety tips you've gathered in this itinerary and share them with a trusted friend or family member before you leave. Once you reach your destination, check in regularly with your contact. This way, even if the goal of your trip is to enjoy some solitude and take a break from busy life, at least one person will be aware of your whereabouts.

We also recommend researching and saving appropriate emergency contacts on your phone. If travelling abroad, this might include the nearest embassy or medical centre. Knowing the best places to go or people to contact in an emergency can help you quickly get the assistance you need and prevent the situation from escalating. For example, if you're hiking alone in England or Wales and find yourself in an emergency, call '999' or '112,' ask for the police, and then request Mountain Rescue.

Choose Reliable Modes of Transport

Whether hiring a car, taking taxis or using public transport, it’s incredibly important to prioritise safety. This means avoiding badly lit, sparsely populated areas when travelling at night and only using trusted means of transport. During your trip, we recommend only opting for registered taxi services, like Uber or Bolt. Hitchhiking is extremely dangerous and should always be avoided.

Taking trains as a primary mode of transportation is usually a reliable way to get around. In the UK, even if trains are cancelled all day, appropriate and official measures will be taken to get you to your destination, like a rail-replacement bus service. Staying safe while on the train is super important too and something CrossCountry take very seriously.

You can learn all about on-board safety in our safety and security policy, including how to report anti-social behaviour, our CCTV policy and how we endeavour to keep you safe while travelling with us. There are also plenty more resources to be found on our website, including:

A person walking past a CrossCountry train at Manchester Piccadilly station.

Find Safe and Secure Accommodation

It’s always best to book accommodation that is trusted and already has plenty of verified reviews. Always check that the accommodation you are planning to book has clearly defined security measures, including evacuation routes, surveillance cameras and proper protocols for medical or other emergencies. Plus, ensuring there is 24-hour reception or secure access points helps to avoid getting stuck without shelter.

There are also products available to help guests feel safer in their rooms. For example, doorstop alarms can be wedged under the door and will raise the alarm if anyone attempts to enter, and portable door locks can provide an additional layer of security over the existing locking system. When leaving your accommodation, keep valuables out of sight. Some hotels offer in-room safes, so if you do plan on leaving valuables in the room, consider choosing a hotel that provides this.

Be Aware and Alert

Being mindful of your surroundings doesn’t mean you need to enjoy your trip any less. Staying alert is especially important when you’re by yourself. Heighten your situational awareness in unfamiliar places by avoiding distractions like looking at your phone too much or listening to music through headphones. These measures also help in keeping your belongings safe. We recommend using a crossbody bag that you can keep in front of you or a lockable backpack. Avoid placing anything of value in the outer pockets.

Be cautious of strangers too. Though it’s great to meet people on the go, it’s possible to be friendly and remain sceptical. Pay attention to your instincts, if something feels wrong and you start to feel uncomfortable or in danger, it’s always best to remove yourself from the situation. Group tours are a great way to provide safety in numbers while still allowing you to meet new people.

Prioritise Health and Wellbeing

To enjoy your trip to the fullest, it’s essential to stay healthy. This means always staying hydrated, especially in warmer climates and ensuring you maintain a balanced diet. In some destinations, it may be best to avoid tap water or street food – so be sure to do your research before eating or drinking anything you’re not sure about.

Packing some high-SPF suncream and insect repellent when spending time outdoors can help you stay comfortable and keep your body safe from dangerous UV rays and irritating bug bites. This is especially true in regions like the Scottish Highlands during summer, where the high populations of biting midges can be particularly bothersome. A strong bug spray is often the best defence against these pests, helping you avoid discomfort and potential allergic reactions from bites.

Packing a basic first aid kit is a great way to cover all bases in terms of personal safety. Plenty of stores offer premade kits but if you prefer to build your own, here’s a helpful checklist:

  • Adhesive plasters
  • Blister plasters
  • Insect bite and sting relief
  • Tweezers
  • Instant ice pack
  • Sterile wipes
  • Wound dressing
  • Bandages
  • Eyewash
  • Microporous tape
  • Burn gel sachets
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • Heat-retaining foil blanket

It's important to note that while a basic first aid kit can be useful for safety purposes, its contents and usage should be personalised to your own needs and specific travel plans. Consider getting in touch with a medical professional to customise your kit based on your own health conditions, destination, and planned activities.

If you’re planning a solo trip in the UK, don’t forget to book Advance rail tickets via our website or the CrossCountry app. Before you travel, make sure to check scheduled train times to find the best journey for you. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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