Traveling as a young adult, particularly as a teenager, can be a freeing experience. However, it can also be chaotic and even dangerous if you aren’t prepared for it. No matter where you’re traveling to or for what reason, it’s essential that you are as prepared beforehand as you are during. There are a few key elements to traveling alone as a young adult, especially if you’re traveling alone.
Here are some quick tips to help you stay safe and enjoy your trip.
Do your homework
The last thing you probably want to hear is someone telling you to do your homework but when it comes to traveling at any age, it’s imperative that you do. Researching your destination can help you plan out what you’re going to do on your trip as well as anything that would be helpful to know. You might find out that the only way to get around where you’re going (other than walking) is to take a motorcoach, of which, adults and young adults accounted for a little under half (49.9%) of passenger trips taken via motorcoach in 2012. You can also figure out what the climate is like there to help you pack and what types of lodging they have available.
Pick the right lodging
Where you stay is particularly important while on your trip. Some areas are less than tourist-friendly while others welcome tourists. You’re going to want to find the latter. You are also probably looking to save a bit of money when it comes to where you stay. Looking at home-sharing sites such as Airbnb is a great way to find a wonderful place to stay while saving some money. It can also be safer too since hotel and motel fires cause roughly 15 deaths and 150 injuries each year. If you do plan on staying at a hotel or motel, be sure to find one with cheap nightly rates and plenty of accommodations.
Don’t trust everyone you meet
You don’t have to pepper spray every random person you meet on your trip but it’s important to keep your wits about you. Some people try to exploit tourists or steal their belongings, so there are a few safety tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t leave your things lying about unattended
- Don’t take any drinks from strangers at bars
- Use the buddy system if you can
- Don’t accept rides from anyone or go back to anyone’s home or hotel room
- Don’t tell strangers where you’re staying
- Be sure to lock all of your doors and windows at night
- Keep your cell phone on you at all times in case of an emergency
- If you’re alone and someone starts to follow you, get to a crowded area and call the authorities
Not all drinks have to be “drinks” either, 54% of Americans who are over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. Accepting a coffee from a stranger could be just as dangerous as accepting any other type of drink, so be friendly but be aware.
It can be exhausting having to worry every second of your trip and that can take the fun right out of it. While it’s important to be safe and exercise caution, it’s also important to have a good time. Be adventurous and try new things. Although don’t eat everything that’s offered to you, each year, one in six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated foods or beverages according to the CDC. Other than that, don’t be afraid to do things you normally don’t do or to be the person you’re not able to be at home. Traveling is a freeing experience, so embrace it.
If you feel like you’re stuck at home and can’t find a way out, just plan a trip. You’re young and you have your whole life to worry about what’s next. Take a few days to focus on the here and now. You can always go home if you find out that traveling isn’t your cup of tea.