Common Sense Rule #8: Never argue with a man holding a loaded AK-47
Having solo-travelled extensively on six continents, I’ve always maintained that travel is perfectly safe and more enjoyable if you use common sense, and aren’t afraid to be a little social. In my experience, people would rather help you than hurt you.
That being said, sour apples that can spoil any cider, and some regions better suited to solo leisure travel than others. Solo travellers might be picked out for all manner of mischief, like a stray animal who wanders from the safety of the pack.
I’ve met solo female travellers who have been harassed in taxis, although I’ve also met plenty of solo female travellers who have managed fine in some pretty challenging countries. Some guys fall in with the wrong crowd, or might be targeted as oblivious drug mules. I’ve been drugged a couple times (never accept a Flaming Lamborghini from pretty flight attendants in Hong Kong, let’s leave it at that) but once again, the kindness of strangers helped me emerge unscathed. It might be safe to travel in parts of the countries and regions below, although it’s well worth doing your research about conflict zones, hot spots and the latest political turbulence. Hopefully, with improving political and economic stability, this list of volatile places to avoid will grow smaller, not longer.
The reality is that, depending on the type of person you are, you shouldn’t travel alone anywhere OR it's best to travel alone everywhere. While some travellers need a tour bus, others might be particularly resourceful in the event of conflict. Some travellers might enjoy a little adventure, others less so.
I can certainly testify that supposed hot spots like Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, New Delhi and Bogota are wonderful places to visit, provided you don’t end up in the wrong part of town, and especially with the wrong type of company. Every year, thousands of solo travellers visit the countries above without any incident, amazed at the people and experiences they encounter. Weigh up the risks, take precautions and use common sense. When it comes down to it, paranoia is one of the worst weapons the modern traveller should worry about.
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After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.