Travelling alone is inherently dangours, but also very rewarding at the same time - the FCO recommends that no one should travel in foreign countries alone, but do agree that plenty of people each year actually do so.
If you have never before traveled alone, it is natural to feel rather daunted. We each go through life trying not to be afraid, comfortable within our envelope of security. The idea is to stretch that envelope. Keep stretching it until there is no envelope at all, and nothing separates you from your world.
To travel fearlessly, we obviously must avoid danger. Life involves risk whether you travel or stay at home, but there are ways to minimize a traveler’s risk - standard precautions we should all take.
Avoid places with terrorist activity or violent street crime directed toward tourists. Research the safety of your destination at
Great Britain: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Web site: www.fco.gov.uk/travel
Travel with the address and phone number of your country’s embassy at your destination. Call if you need help or advice.
Don’t look like a tourist. Do not sport white athletic shoes, waist packs or camera bags. Dress conservatively and a bit more formally than you would at home. Avoid expensive or designer clothing, luggage and jewelry.
Make at least a tentative itinerary and leave a copy with a relative or friend. Phone home or send e-mails with periodic updates.
Be discerning about whom you tell you’re American, and do not advertise your nationality with lapel pins or flag imprinted clothes.
Be selective about whom you tell you’re alone. Normally, you can trust people with this information but, when in doubt, say you’re with friends or a tour group.
When you register for a hotel room, do not let the desk clerk announce your room number within earshot of strangers. If they do, ask for another room and explain why.
Be careful about giving the name of your hotel to strangers. When you meet someone you’d like to see again, arrange a public place to meet.
Before you go out with a new friend, get some information about him or her - preferably a business card and home phone number. Leave this information with a member of your tour, a member of the hotel staff, or just leave it in your room. Your instincts will tell you if this person is safe, but leave evidence in case your instincts are wrong.
Limit your alcohol intake to what you can easily handle without becoming impaired. To avoid being drugged, keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended.
Ask your hotel staff to mark your map with the location of your hotel and any areas you should avoid. Ask if it’s safe to use public transportation after dark.
After dark, try to walk on well-lit streets with other people around. If you find yourself in a questionable area, duck into a public place to check your map or call for a taxi.
When you are out and about, be alert, not fearful, and not caught up in daydreams. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
Despite all the safety tips, I assure you the world is a safe place. Traveling alone will restore your faith in humanity. Wherever you go, guides and helpers will be there when you need them. Wander, and know that you have friends all over the planet. You just haven’t met them yet.
Any British national who gets into difficulty overseas can seek help from the nearest British diplomatic mission 24 hours a day. Where there is no British representative in a country, British nationals may instead contact the nearest EU Mission in that country.
The first thing you should do if anything goes wrong is to contact your relatives and friends at home. They can then take appropriate action within the UK. The same advice should be taken if a natural disaster occurs during your visit to a foreign country.