Traveling alone at night can be dangerous, especially if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. You never know who might be out there or where you might end up. But if you can follow a few safety tips, you can significantly lower the chances of something bad happening. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you’ll be traveling a night.
Bring a Buddy
The old saying goes “There’s safety in numbers” and this is certainly true when you’re travelling at night. Having someone along with you provides several advantages. First, you are less likely to get accosted by a stranger, since you have some backup with you. Second, you have another pair of eyes who can keep a watch for anything dangerous. You also have someone there should you get injured, or if anything happens to your cellphone. While it’s possible to keep yourself safe on your own, you’re much better off if you can find a companion or two.
Have the Right Tech with You
Technology can often improve your trips, especially when it comes to keeping you safe. One of the most obvious things to have is your cellphone. With a modern smartphone you have a flashlight, GPS, and phone all in one. Using maps will always be an option, however, a handheld GPS device is a better good idea when going to unfamiliar places. The prices of every model vary depending on their features but according to navigation expert Greg Roberts of GeoSetter.com, it is well worth it. You can use it should get lost, if your car breaks down, or if you have an emergency. Along with your cellphone, it’s also a good idea to bring along a mobile charger. This will ensure you have a way to charge your phone if you’re going to be away from an outlet for a while. Finally, consider having a way for friends and family to track your location – either through a separate GPS device or through an app on your phone.
Should anyone bother you on the streets, it’s good to know a little self-defense. You hope it never comes to that but knowing some self-defense could just save your life one day. Find some local classes in your area that teach self-defense and see what they have to offer. Choose a form of self-defense that appeals to you, such as Jiu Jitsu, which according to Elite MMA, a Jiu Jitsu Houston location, “employs effective techniques that enable even a smaller, weaker individual to defeat a stronger opponent.” If you don’t have time for a class, at least bring along some pepper spray when you’ll be out late.
Research the Area Beforehand
A good practice to get into the habit of is researching the places you’ll be going before you get there. For example, if you know you’ll be walking around a city at night, you could do some research into the area. What streets should you avoid? What’s the fastest route to get to your location? What are some local landmarks you can keep an eye out for? If you get lost, and your GPS loses battery, you’ll want to be able to find your way back. Knowing the area beforehand will help you do this and ensure you don’t stumble into any rough neighborhoods.
Stick to Crowded Areas
If you can’t bring a buddy along on your travels, you can try to mimic the same effect by sticking close to crowds. Sure, it’s sometimes fun to get off the beaten trail, but not at night. Again, there is safety in numbers, so your best bet is to stay near people. If you’re walking alone night, and you have the option of walking down a deserted alley or crowded boulevard, go with the boulevard.
Know Where to Go for Help
When researching the area, you should memorize where you can go for help. Where are the nearest hospitals? The local police stations? Even knowing where the banks are is a good idea. Learn what streets these locations are on, and even write them down if you can. That way if you get lost, or something bad happens, you’ll know the quickest place you can go to for some assistance.
Keep Your Valuables Hidden
Finally, if you’re walking around with anything expensive, you make yourself a target. Keep things like your watch, jewelry, camera, and phone tucked away in your pockets or bag when you don’t need them. If you’re carrying a wallet in your pants, remember to keep it in the front pocket, as the back pocket is more likely to get picked.
Take Every Precaution
All of the above precautions may sound like they’ll dampen the fun, but they at least keep you safe. It’s better to make it home in one piece than not at all. By keeping the above tips in mind you can keep yourself and your group safer, and thereby enjoy your trip more. Be safe!