July 15, 2024
Machu Picchu Peru / bwb-images
Machu Picchu Peru / bwb-images

Travel Safety and the Solo Traveler

I recently wrote  Travel Safety – Death in Istanbul, an article prompted by the death of a young woman who was traveling alone in Istanbul. In it I provided some general travel advice to enhance safe travel.  Clearly I was not the only person who was struck by this woman’s death.  Recently I have read numerous commentaries on the subject.  Many readers have offered their own thoughts and observations as comments on articles such as those written by NBC. The woman’s tragic death seems to have sparked quite a reaction of emotion as well as an outpouring of opinions on one topic – Solo Travel.

The conversation has quickly devolved into two camps – one camp reporting that solo travel, especially for women, is stupid, crazy, unwise, risky, dangerous, etc and should be avoided – the other camp defending solo travel, for women and men, downplaying the risks, and emphasizing the positives of solo travel.  In other words, as with perhaps far too many things in the world today, thinking has quickly polarized into an “either – or” type of process.  Either a thing is “good” or it is “bad”  Either solo travel is great, growthful, not dangerous and should be embraced by all — or solo travel is full of danger and risk and should be avoided.  I’m not really sure where this polarizing tendency comes from.( I think perhaps it has something to do with our basic competitive natures and a desire to “win”.  Sort of like our love of sports.  No one likes a tie.  No one really relishes a compromise, middle position.  But I digress…….)

With My Friends at Lake Titicaca Peru - Alt. 12,628 ft / bwb-images
With My Friends at Lake Titicaca Peru – Alt. 12,628 ft / bwb-images

Let’s try facing it realistically – putting aside our own preferences, biases, etc.   Solo travel is, by itself neither “right” “nor “wrong.”  Nothing is 100% safe and nothing is 100% dangerous.  Some solo travel can be safe and some can be dangerous. There are no absolutes.

The decision to travel solo is a very personal decision.  And each person’s decision is going to be based upon their own unique set of experiences, responsibilities, capabilities, and preferences as well as the location where their solo travel will take them. The really important thing here – the point that speaks to the issue of the Safety of Solo Travel –  is for the traveler to do a really, really, good job of assessing their own personal circumstances and the conditions they will likely encounter on their travels.  This assessment may lead one person to decide that solo travel is not the best option for them, while others may decide that solo travel is a perfect fit. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that the same person may decide in some circumstances they will travel solo while in other situations they may travel with others.   Again – no absolutes. Adjust with the circumstances.

Solo travel can truly be great.  It works for men and for women. You might enjoy these articles on the subject by two ladies who travel solo. But keep in mind that solo travel is a very personal decision.  Are there risks?  Of course – everything has risks.  Are their benefits?  Absolutely!  It’s truly the cost / benefit thing.  And it’s something each traveler has to decide for themself.  Just remember – it’s important to be honest with yourself and thorough in making your decision and plans.  And it is equally important to be aware and attentive and prudently cautious on your journey.  Use good judgement and travel safely.

And with that I will get down off my soap box.  If it sounded too much like a lecture – my apologies.  But I do love travel and I feel strongly about issues related to travel.  I hope I can in some small way help others to discover the wonders of travel and to be able to enjoy safe travel.

Be Aware & Travel Wisely …………… And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trakker