6 ways to achieve peace of mind when travelling solo

Use nifty technology and a little common sense to ensure you make the most of your solo travel.

Solo travel can be incredibly rewarding
  • Katrina Lobley
  • March 2019

Travelling solo? There are easy ways to make sure you’re trip runs smoothly and safely when you’re on the road in a foreign place so leave your worries behind and start planning your perfect trip.

Have three ways to access funds

It might sound overly cautious but solo travellers must be prepared to overcome the unexpected hiccup of a credit card being hacked, lost, pick-pocketed or swallowed up by an ATM. If you’re left relying on one piece of plastic, the rest of your trip will feel precarious indeed. Tuck an emergency stash of cash in a clever place, such as a secret pocket or bra cup and consider investing in an anti-theft backpack.

Make new friends

Look up from that smartphone and go on a charm offensive – using old-school social skills to strike up a conversation might lead to a dining companion for your next meal or an insider tip. When dining alone, if no-one interesting is around, just grab a counter seat to chat with the bartender or prop yourself at a window to people-watch. You can also use solo table time to delete unwanted pictures on your phone, read a book or plan the next day.

Make friends with bartenders to score expert local tips
Quickest way for a solo traveller to get expert local tips? Bartenders!

Download a virtual chaperone

Safety app bSafe allows designated friends and family to track your journeys. If you feel in danger, send them a distress signal along with your current location. Triggering an SOS also switches on a video recording and if you can’t tap the SOS button, a spoken phrase will also activate the alarm. The Watch Over Me app works in a similar way.

Use safety features on ride-sharing apps

Ride-sharing services such as Uber have transformed the way we get from A to B. In 2018, Uber – available in more than 600 cities globally – added a raft of safety features to its app. In Australia, riders can tap the Safety Toolkit shield icon in the bottom right-hand corner to access features including emergency help. You can also share your trip details with up to five friends.

Most ride-sharing apps have handy safety features
Most ride-sharing apps have handy safety features

Be smart with accommodation

Forget forking out for expensive hotel rooms – book a private room at next-gen hostels such as the Byron Bay YHA or Rambutan Townsville and you can enjoy the company of other travellers as well as your own space. For female travellers heading to Japan, check out Tokyo’s female-only hotels Nine Hours Woman Kanda, Akihabara Bay Hotel, Centurion Cabin and Spa and Nadeshiko Hotel.

Keep in touch with home

Blanching at global roaming rates? Grab a local SIM card upon arrival (check with your service provider that your handset is unlocked before leaving home). If you’re using public Wi-Fi, phone home for free using apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Plan ahead and download maps in advance for offline use from Google Maps, Maps.me or the Here WeGo app.