By: Vera Nagtegaal, executive head of online comparison website Hippo.co.za
Travelling with a partner or in a group is considered the norm since most people prefer not to venture into unknown territories alone. Thanks to platforms like Instagram, we’ve all been bombarded with images of “babymoons”, “baecations” and “buddymoons” at some point.
However, the major trend for 2019 seems to be the “mobilemoon”: going on a trip with your cellphone as your only travel companion.
Vera Nagtegaal, executive head of online comparison website Hippo.co.za, explains that people who choose to travel alone, need to take extra precaution when embarking on these journeys.
“It is important to ensure you are protected, but also that your belongings are kept safe, especially digital devices, since you are a lot more dependent on these whilst on your solo trip.”
According to a recent Expedia survey, 33% of American travellers would rather take their cellphone on a trip than travel with a companion.
However, solo travel is not only undertaken by the digitally-obsessed, but also by students embarking on gap years, retirees exploring the unknown, or professionals that travel alone for work purposes.
Nagtegaal says that despite the reasons for a rise in solo travel, technology has made it easier to become self-reliant.
Whether travelling for work, adventure or self-discovery, people generally carry expensive tech devices with them. These could include high tech cameras, laptops or iPads and mobile phones. Travelling alone does however pose many risks, especially when carrying costly digital devices.
“The unfortunate reality is that setting out on your own does make you somewhat vulnerable,” Nagtegaal points out.
“You may lose your way in an unfamiliar environment and struggle to understand the foreign language when looking for directions, should your device fail or need recharging. Women are especially at risk when using public transport, while staying in more economical accommodation and while exploring a city at night alone.”
According to Nagtegaal, being exposed to these risks makes travel insurance as important as the devices that will be taken on the trip.
“Depending on the specific product, travel insurance will cover you financially in the event of unforeseen illness or injury, if there is a cancellation of any part of the journey, and in the event of theft or loss of your passport, cash or luggage.”
She says that there several travel insurance options that could be compared to determine the ideal product to suit your needs.
“Business travel insurance provides financial cover for unexpected events when your job requires you to travel internationally. For travellers over the age of 70, senior travel insurance options are available, while youth or student travel insurance packages are ideal for youngsters between the ages of 16 to 30 who are likely on a budget. This would cover any emergency hospital costs, injuries, missed flights and even damage to their property or liability to a third party”.
Nagtegaal advises that travel insurance is something that should be in place as soon as you are ready to travel.
“If you are travelling without a companion, knowing you have cover in place in case anything happens to you, will offer peace of mind.”