Travelling alone can be an exhilarating experience. Here, how to stay safe if you go.

Travelling alone can be an exhilarating experience. You can go where you want, when you want, without having to consult anybody. Exerting your travel independence can change the way you think about yourself – and the way you see the world.

But you also need to be careful.

"Any traveller going anywhere needs to exercise caution," says Diane Redfern, founder of Connecting Solo Travel Network (CSTN), the online research and resource centre for single and solo travellers. "It's just that solo travellers are that much more vulnerable. That goes for both men and women."

Here are Diane's top tips for safe solo journeys:

1. Understand the destination: Do your research beforehand and learn about your destination, its customs, laws and the lay of the land. "Forewarned is forearmed," as Diane puts it. She recommends always buying the most up-to-date-guidebook on your destination and bringing it with you. (But use it discretely once you're there so you're not easily identified as a lost tourist – and a potential target.)

2. Have a safety net in place: Start by always leaving your travel agenda with friends and family back home. In the event you lose your money, passport or credit cards, have a back-up plan. Photocopy all your documentation before you leave. You can bring one copy with you and leave a duplicate copy at home. You can also minimize your chance of losing everything at once by keeping credit cards, money and documentation on different parts of your body, as opposed to in one place, like your purse or jacket pocket. If you plan to use ATMs to get cash and find they won't work for you (it happened to Diane in Turkey) have an alternate way of accessing cash.

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