Adventure vacations for singles. Don’t sit on the sidelines just because you are a solo traveler. Check out our tips below for safer adventure travel.
Adventure is great, but no one wants to end up in the clutches of a brown bear! After an elephant-back safari in the Okavango, I found myself falling in the Zambesi River where the crocodiles were feeding at sunset!
When the whole world has been faced with a seemingly endless war with COVID-19, plans for, or just dreaming about, a great adventure can be a real relief. While I think of myself as somewhat risk adverse, I started a lifelong love of adventure travel from my teenaged years. Early on I went solo hundreds of miles in the United States seeing colleges alone. My best trip was alone in Boston. I checked myself into a Sheraton Hotel garnering a free upgrade to a suite! I marveled at what I was supposed to do in my very own living room nestled in fabled Cambridge. I had my first ride on a subway, sampled lobster decked out in the traditional bid and had a great evening at a double feature laughing my way through a sequel to the “Pink Panther”. While with such “preparation”, I did somehow manage to be accepted at a well- regarded college, it did wonders to launch my lifetime addiction to solo travel, the mor remote the better!
In any case, I have not thrown all caution to the wind. My adventures and misadventures abroad have helped me develop a myriad of lessons learned. Here are just a sampling for my fellow travelers to consider.
Adventure Vacations for Singles: Safety on the Go:
1. Local surface transportation:
Always watch out at transportation hubs where there is easy access in and out. For example, train stations and subways, unlike airports, lack security and provide great opportunities for a stealth attack in and out by local pickpockets.
I was surprised to have this very experience on a sunny winter’s day at noon in a major European train station. I was traveling to Vienna for touring but also for a business meeting. I was dressed in my best and hauling a designer roller bag. As I approached the incoming train, I was surrounded by a rush of “passengers” dashing ahead to board. Recognizing that European trains were very punctual, I ran to avoid missing my train.. The next moment I jumped as a woman grabbed me from behind in a “Heimlich Hug”. I quickly recovered only to find my first class train ticket and overseas plane ticket were gone. At least, I still had my passport, money belt and wallet. I quickly learned, however, that when the train learned, I was in a pinch. I was required to buy a new ticket at two out of three borders for cash only! I had Euros, US dollars and credit cards. Since the latter could not be used on the train, I never knew if I might find myself summarily removed from the train at an upcoming station. Gone were my visions of sipping red wine in the dining car while channeling past days of Agatha Christie.
The best time for “entrepreneurs” to empty your pockets for you is during scheduled sightseeing events. Think the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. How about those plazas all over Europe with enchanting mini-“Big Ben’s” that have hourly chimes with moving figures. While all eyes are focused upward, there goes your purse!
Backpacks are a real boon to pick pockets. The Internet seems to have made this easy. A long standing scheme has been for pairs to work together. One bumps or otherwise engages the victim. The partner comes up and swipes the wallet, purse or backpack without being noticed. When I traveled with a local ski club in both Spain and Argentina, I learned about this first hand. A group member was twice confronted with a “helpful” stranger who warned him that a mischievous bird had left its “calling card” on the back of his jacket. While everyone looked overhead for the angry bird, the wily pickpockets were able to swipe another wallet.
Adventure Vacations for Singles: In Case of Emergency:
3. Outdoor dangers from animal attacks:
After my near “feeding: of enthusiastic crocs in Zimbabwe, I learned to be a little more watchful. A Washington friend actually lost a family member to a marauding lion in Kenya. I watched at Yosemite while a ranger had to emphatically shoo tourists away from a plodding bear. They may look cuddly but save the up close and personal viewing for the zoo.
Here in my home town of Washington, DC, some time ago, a neighbor lost a young family member who was killed by a lion in Kenya. While this is rare, I recall when I visited Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, there was a notice that warned that: “At night after 8 PM, lions and wild animals have been seen in the village”.
4. Medical emergencies:
In 2020-2022, there has been much focus on the danger of diseases, such as the Coronavirus, at home and abroad. I once was surprised when I arrived at a long weekend off the coast of West Africa to find I was in the midst of an unpublicized cholera epidemic.
However, beyond diseases, even the healthiest young traveler can have a skiing accident. One neighbor on Junior Year Abroad broke an ankle stepping off a curb. Another friend on business was scratched by a stray cat in a Mideast outdoor cafe and ended up starting rabies shots abroad. PS-As I just discovered, because of the expense involved, most local doctors don’t carry rabies vaccine so it requires a hospital visit.
5. Hiking alone:
Avoid hiking alone in remote areas. If you sprain your ankle and need help. you may find your cellphone doesn’t work!
Remember hypothermia can strike even in the summer so wear layers and take lots of water.
For more on safety, see:
3 Tips for Staying Safe on a Road Trip
Safety Tips for Bear Encounters
10 Solo Hiking Safety Trips
Safety Tips for Female Solo Travelers
Cruising Safety for Solos