A 26 year-old school janitor that had the worst case of wanderlust. Most of his nights were spent on Instagram, getting awestruck by the millions of travel images posted by random people he would befriend online.
But although Simon had dreams of venturing into the unknown, one thing was for sure, he was scared. He had heard and read one too many horror stories and that became his mental block. Solo traveling isn’t at all difficult but there are obstacles.
So we turned to Brian Peters, who agreed to give us some tips about what to watch out for while traveling alone. As the publisher of No Debt World Travel, Brian came through and here are his top tips.
Sit back and let it happen – Men tend to rush in without thinking. Take the time to sit back, watch how a culture functions, see the opportunities that are presented and let things develop.
Try not to be intimidating – You may not be as approachable as you think you are. Western men tend to be much larger than those in other parts of the world. So, especially if you’re a big guy, try to be gentle. Smile, speak calmly and remove sunglasses so that people can see your eyes.
Keep drinking and drugs in check – It’s important to stay in control at all times. Drinking, drugs even being really tired can cause you to respond with less restraint than normal to a difficult situation. Getting into a fight, whether by your provocation or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, can be a big problem in another country. Having your wits about you to manage a situation well is important.
Risk taking can be a thrill, but don’t push it. – Everyone needs to know their limits. A quick scuba course may prepare you for a shallow dive but not a deep one. A motorbike may be easy to rent in Thailand but it’s not the place to jump on and learn if you’ve never ridden one before. It’s a basic look before you leap message.
Keep the gadgets to a minimum – No one wants to lose things but it does happen. Try to carry only the gadgets you need and try not to carry really expensive ones that will attract attention. They add weight and more things to keep track of.
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Protect yourself from pickpockets – Wear pants with a zipped pocket inside the front pocket for keeping valuables. It’s not as good as a money belt but it’s way better than any other pocket. It will reduce the chances of having your wallet stolen.
Take a small roll of duct tape – What guy doesn’t like duct tape. Take along a small roll to fix a suitcase, improve your first aid kit, tape up a privacy screen, entertain locals with your duct tape figurines…
Wrap it up – Have condoms on hand. There was a study on backpackers in Australia which saw that men contracted diseases at a higher rate than women.
She loves you / She doesn’t love you – Finding love on the road is complicated. Being outside your culture makes it difficult to accurately interpret a woman’s response to you. If you get serious it’s also difficult to know whether the love will survive everyday life when you’re not traveling. It’s also important to consider that there may be other motivation for developing a relationship with you. Take your time in any new relationship.
Know that you, too, are vulnerable to muggings – Men sometimes think that women have to worry more about solo travel safety than men but one set of statistics I read says that men are just as likely to be mugged or robbed as women. However, you can use the power of eye contact to your advantage. Prolonged eye contact by a man is considered an act of aggression. Not so for women.