Personal Safety While Travelling Alone
Thankfully, the vast majority of people in the world simply want to get on with their lives. Live and let live! However, in the journey of life, we may come across people who want to cause trouble or do harm.
Though we can't control the behaviour of others, we can control what we do, and make sure that we stay as safe as possible when travelling around.
Keep in Touch
Make sure that you always take your fully charged mobile phone out with you whenever you travel. Your phone could become invaluable, whether to help you in a dangerous situation, or to call for help if you witness something happening to someone else.
When travelling to an unfamiliar place, log the local emergency numbers for that area, or country, into your phone. At worst, you'll just need to delete the number when you are safely back home. At best, that number in your phone could save a life.
If you are unsure of the emergency number where you are, ask your host or hotel concierge. A list of international emergency numbers is available here.
Walking - Plan and use your Gut Instinct
- Plan your journey. Think about where you are going, and how long you might take. Consider checking whether you have any other transport options, in case your plans change while you are walking.
- Use your gut instinct. Does the path ahead look obscured, unsafe, desolate or badly lit? Always walk in the middle of the pavement. If it just doesn't feel right, act upon your feeling.
- Try to use well lit, busy and open routes.
- If you can, walk alongside oncoming traffic - the cars can see you and you can avoid unwanted attention from drivers driving slowly beside you.
Catching a Taxi
- Always book a taxi in advance if you cannot do this, make sure you have local numbers of trusted taxi companies on your telephone.
- Only use trusted taxi companies that employ registered drivers.
- When you book your taxi, ask for the description of the car so you know who is coming to collect you.
- When the taxi arrives, ask the driver who they have come to collect - they should have your name from your original booking.
- It is nice to chat to a friendly cab driver, though you should be careful not to give any personal information away.
- If you ever feel uncomfortable in a taxi, trust your gut instinct. Ask the driver to stop and let you out in a busy area.
Using Public Transport
- Research timetables and fares before you travel. This will help you to avoid standing alone at bus stops or train stations for too long.
- Make sure that you have enough change in your pocket to pay for cheap journeys - don't show off large amounts of notes.
- When it gets dark, stay in well lit areas and near to alarms, CCTV cameras and station staff where available.
- If you have been working, be sure to hide any passes that may identify your employer, or your name.
Always have an emergency kit in your car - this could include a warm jumper, a bottle of water, some snacks, a torch, spare change and an emergency phone charger. If you are female, you may not want to leave your car, despite needing to go to the toilet. One option is to invest in a 'SheWee', or you could pack some towels into your emergency kit, along with some carrier bags. In an emergency situation, you could go to the toilet on the towels, then bag the towels up in the plastic bags.
As well as your emergency kit, you should always;
- Plan your journey, and crucially, plan where you will park. Always park as close to your destination as possible. Consider what street lighting may or may not be available, if you plan to arrive or depart after dark.
- Drive with your doors locked and keep your windows open only slightly when driving.
- When parking in a multi storey car park, try to avoid having to walk a long distance to and from the entrance and exit. Reverse into your parking space so you can make a quick exit when you leave.
- Always have your keys to hand when approaching your car, and be aware of your surroundings.
- When you get to your car, make sure that no one else is in it. This is a crucial thing to remember, even when you have just filled up with petrol.
- If you are unlucky enough to breakdown, check your surroundings carefully and only leave your car if it is safe to do so.
- If you become the victim of road rage, and a driver exits their car to confront you, lock your doors, close your windows and keep your engine running. Reverse to get away, if you feel hemmed in.
Suzy Lamplugh was a 25 year old estate agent. Suzy disappeared in 1986 after she went to meet an unknown client. She disappeared while she was at work. To date, Suzy has not been found.
Suzy's parents Paul and Diana believe that she - like many people – was simply unaware of the possible dangers that people can face. Paul and Diana founded the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a charity that highlights the risks that people may face.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust - Street Safety
Top Tips - Stay Safe
- Always take a fully charged phone out with you
- Try to let someone know where you are going, and when you hope to be back
- Plan ahead and consider your safety while walking, taking public transport, catching a cab or driving
- Trust your gut instinct - if something doesn't seem right, do something about it.
Lastly, if you go on a night out with friends, make sure that none of you are left to go home alone.
Stay safe out there.