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Solo jet-setting is on the rise – here’s how to stay safe

A 2024 study found that 58.3% of millennials worldwide are willing to travel alone with solo travelling being more popular among females at 72% compared to 28% men.

Naomi Bhuda, Inland Regional Sales Manager for ANEW Hotels & Resorts says there is a misconception that solo travellers are single.

“For most women, solo travel is just another way to travel. They enjoy the freedom and flexibility, getting away from routine and responsibilities, and carving out me-time to relax and practice self-care.  It is also empowering and liberating – a space within which one can challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.” 

Naomi says, in addition, solo travellers also include digital nomads who combine travel and remote work, offering them the flexibility to explore new places whilst being connected professionally.

She says if you are thinking of travelling solo for the first time, choose a destination close to home. “This way you will feel more comfortable exploring on your own without language barriers or cultural differences that could raise a lot of uncertainty on your first trip.”

Naomi says, considering female solo travellers raise personal safety as their biggest concern, up from 64% to 70%, arming yourself with some key safety measures is paramount. Here are her top tips:

1. Meeting new people

    One of the best ways to meet new people is by travelling solo. However, never divulge that you are indeed travelling alone. If asked outright, rather give the impression that you are part of a group.

    Bonus tip: Sharing your solo travel all depends on the circumstances. A fellow traveller on a day tour asking is very different from a taxi driver or random person approaching you. Trust your instincts and respond accordingly.

    2. Get to know the area

    After check-in go for a short stroll within the immediate vicinity of your accommodation. Apart from some fresh air, you will be able to familiarise yourself with the surroundings as well as the general safety of the area, especially if you are planning to venture out later that night. 

    Bonus tip: Look for restaurants that offer early dinner discounts or live entertainment and make a mental note to take them up on the offer!

    3. Choose your accommodation wisely

    Select well-reviewed and reputable hotels with good security measures. Avoid sharing your room number loudly during check-in.

    Bonus tip: Consider hotel chains with loyalty programmes for added benefits based on frequent travel.

    4. Location matters

    Choose properties close to your destination with close proximity to business centres, malls, and quick access to reliable transport. If possible, arrive and check in during daylight hours for a safer environment.

    Bonus tip: Make use of self-check-in hotel services for control over your check-in time. 

    5. Local support

    Ask your friends and family, before you head to your destination, the contact details of someone they know who is local. Not only can the person give insight into top places to visit or avoid but also serve as a backup should you need them if a problem arises.

    Bonus tip: Meet up with the local connection and gift them something from your hometown. You might uncover a new friendship!

    6. Stay connected

    Keep your phone charged and have emergency contacts easily accessible. Consider carrying a portable charger or a power bank for extended use.

    Bonus tip: Choose hotels with uncapped and strong Wi-Fi that operates during load-shedding.

    7. Reputable transportation:

    Rely on reputable transportation services, especially when arriving in the evening. Avoid unmarked taxis and choose service apps with good reviews.

    Bonus tip: Inquire about the hotel’s shuttle service for ease of travel and reliability.

    8. Keep your valuables secure:

    Choose hotels with new and reputable safes to store important documents, digital equipment, jewellery, and extra cash.

    Bonus tip: Store one of your shoes in the safe to ensure you don’t forget your most prized possessions when checking-out.

    9. More valuable tips:

    • Load your bank card onto your phone for efficient and seamless transactions.
    • Double-check locks on windows and doors before settling in.
    • Exercise caution when opening the door to your room for anyone. Always verify the person’s identity and utilise your door’s peephole, if available.

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