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Is Solo Adventure Travel Safe?


November 12, 2019
Categories: Travel Tips

Kayak the Na Pali Coast.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Hike the Inca trail.

Your bucket list beckons, promising the adrenaline rush you crave after sitting behind a computer all day.

Finding the right adventure companion can be difficult. Even your closest friends may not be into sky diving or mountain climbing. So you wonder: What if I went alone? Would I have a good time? And most importantly, is traveling alone safe?

The short answer: Yes. But how safe depends on how well you prepare. It’s all in how you plan and pack for your trip.

Here are some tips for traveling alone safely:

Planning Your Solo Adventure Trip

Consider an Adventure Guide
Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to figure things out on your own. An adventure guide is a great way to ensure you have a safe and fun trip. You may pay more, but things are less likely to go awry – and you’ll still have a great experience.

When it comes to adventure guides, do your research. Referrals are a great place to start. Adventurers love sharing knowledge and guides are likely to treat you better — or even cut you a deal — if they had a positive experience with your friend.

Don’t be satisfied with a quick glance on TripAdvisor. Ratings are often inflated on popular travel sites. Get creative with your Google search and pair it with words like “scam” or “liar” or “expensive” to see if anything nefarious surfaces. If a price seems too good to be true (for example, far cheaper), it probably is.

Register Your Trip with the Local Consulate
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which allows you to register your trip with the local consulate.

Do Your Homework
Read up on your destination before you leave. Get the latest news so you can be aware of potential political turmoil or weather events that could alter your experience. The U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory page is a great place to start.

Global Rescue members also have access to detailed destination reports for more than 215 countries and principalities worldwide, which include entry requirements and information related to currency information and even common scams.

As you consider what to wear on your excursion, be sure to research appropriate social and dress codes, packing accordingly.

Prepare for Sickness or Injury
Make sure you have all immunizations and know what sicknesses are endemic to your destination. The reality is, if you’re traveling alone, there is no one by your side to tell you if you look sick or to help you if you fall ill. You must look out for yourself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great resource for finding out what vaccinations you need and what diseases to be aware of while you travel. Check out their Travelers’ Health Tool here. We’ve also written about what to do if you get a dangerous illness while traveling here.

If you’re participating in an extreme sport, make sure to ask a guide about the risk for injury. Also consider searching online about injuries that have recently occurred (e.g., Google “Mount Kilimanjaro injuries 2019”). You may learn of an uptick in injuries or deaths (this could be related to weather, for example) — and having this knowledge will help you prepare.

Inform Friends Back Home of Your Schedule
If you’re going to be off the grid, it’s wise to inform a few friends back home of your itinerary. Establish check-in times and make contact as you have reception. That way, if they don’t hear from you when they expect to, they can take measures to track you down.

Overall, when it comes to traveling smart, a little preparation and preparedness will go a long way. Our experts at Global Rescue offered their advice about traveler responsibility in a recent post on the five habits of smart travelers.

Packing for Your Solo Adventure Trip

Make Copies of Your Passport
Carry your passport close to your body and carry copies of your passport in another bag, also with you. That way, you have copies of your most important document on you, even if your passport is stolen.

Global Rescue travel services memberships include travel assistance, including help with unexpected passport and visa issues.

Print Out Your Itinerary and Contacts
Cell service is often unavailable or unreliable on some of the most exciting adventure trips. And cell phones die or get dropped off mountains and into rivers. Make sure your plans are printed, in a plastic bag and on your person. This should also include your emergency contacts and insurance carrier.

Carry a Survival Kit
For those traveling to the remote and rugged bush, a “survival kit” is a must. If technology doesn’t work and you can’t get directions, at least you have a compass. A satellite phone will keep you in touch with others while traveling off the grid. And, in especially dire situations, clean water can be hard to come by. A small filter packed in your go bag could save your life.

Pack a small bag with these basics: a head lamp, matches, a multi-tool (such as a Leatherman or Swiss Army multi-tool), a compass, sanitizing wipes, first aid supplies and a water filter.

Global Rescue experts also have plenty of advice on what to pack in a first aid kit as well as a master packing list for a wide range of outdoor travel.

Have Support in Place if Something Goes Wrong
Even the most thorough planning and packing can’t prevent accidents from happening. This is where Global Rescue comes in.

We are the leading provider of worldwide medical evacuation, field rescue and advisory services. With operations teams standing by 24/7/365, travel assistance and advisory are just a few services included in a membership.

Especially if you’re traveling alone, you need the safety, security and peace of mind to know that we’re there for you when it matters most. Click here to learn more.


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