I travel alone. The recent #viajosola hashtag has been popping up on Twitter, on Instagram, all across social media as thousands of women stand by their decision to travel solo.
And it's a great reminder that the vast majority of solo travellers, thousands upon thousands, do so without problems every year. Because staying safe is one of the big concerns for single travellers, whether it's anxious friends and family before you go or the understandable worries of first-timers.
Instead of ruining your trip by worrying about the risks - or worse, not going at all - try these safety tips for solo travellers.
1. Common sense rules
Start by following the same rules you would at home: don't flash wodges of cash or expensive jewellery and cameras around, don't get so drunk you can't find your way home and stick to public places with people you've just met.
2. Do your research
Are there particular areas to avoid? Are you likely to attract extra hassle if you're dressed a certain way? Plan ahead so you know as much as possible before you arrive - the internet and guidebooks are a goldmine of helpful tips from people who've already visited, from cultural expectations to where to stay, as well as tips for female solo travellers.
3. Arrive early
While flexibility is one of the big bonuses of solo travel, it's worth planning ahead for your first day in a destination. Try not to arrive at night or after dark, work out how you'll get from the airport or train station to your accommodation (and consider pre-booking), and book your first night's stay as well. Even if you don't want to commit in advance, it's worth having a rough plan in case you're held up, so you're not scrabbling round for trustworthy taxis and a decent hotel.
4. Have a back-up
Never keep all your money and cards in one place, and make sure you always have something spare for an emergency - just in case. The same goes for your paperwork. Keep a copy of all your travel documents, ideally in cloud storage such as Dropbox so you can always access them, although copies emailed to yourself would also work.
5. Watch your drinks
You're here to have fun so no-one's suggesting you have to be tucked up with a good book by 8pm every night. But if you're on your own, getting slightly too tipsy isn't the best idea. And even if you're sticking to soft drinks, keep an eye on your glass.
6. Trust your instinct
If your gut is telling you something's not right, listen to that voice. Learn enough of the local language to say 'no' or 'stop', even 'leave me alone', but be prepared to get somewhere safe if you need to rather than worrying you might seem rude.
Cathy Winston is editor of 101 Singles Holidays
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