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Solo Traveler Tips for AirBnb and Uber

As a Solo Traveler You May Want To Use AirBnB and Uber. They Could Be Safer than Hotels and Taxis.
By Danny Kaine

I travel extensively with my job, and I am always conscious of the fact that tourists and business travelers are often identified and targeted at their hotel, and/or followed once they get into a taxi. It is also important to note that as a traveler, you could be targeted from the moment you pick up your bags at the airport, during a train journey, or from when you disembark a boat. It is essential that you remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Usually, if something does not seem quite right, it is not!

Uber is growing in popularity over Taxi's in recent years.

Uber is growing in popularity over Taxi’s in recent years.

TAXI VS. UBER

Up until a few years ago, whenever I traveled to a new city or country, I would try to identify a taxi driver who had a good concept of English, and of course good hygiene. Typically, in a new country, taxi-drivers are a great source of information. They usually know the places to go, places to stay away from, and in some cases, they can prove very useful when trying to find a particular someone (or something).

However, in the past 12-months there have been several incidents involving travelers, typically solo travelers, that were the result of them traveling in a marked taxi. Just by being in a marked taxi, that is, an easily identifiable taxi, especially in countries with high crime rates, each time you stop at a set of lights, slow down in traffic or exit the vehicle, you are at risk of being targeted. So, what is the alternative? Uber. They are now readily available in most cities/countries I visit, and the vehicles they use are unmarked, that is, they blend in with every other private vehicle on the road. Also, a majority of the drivers I have encountered are in fact off-duty taxi drivers, so I get the best of both worlds.

Beautiful ocean view during an AirBnB stay.

Beautiful ocean view during an AirBnB stay.

HOTEL VS. AIRBNB

If you have tuned into a news channel, listened to the radio, opened a newspaper or followed your Twitter feed, you will no doubt have heard about several terrorist attacks on hotels around the world. Most newsworthy, the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso, the Park Palace Guesthouse in Kabul, the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad, the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and the Marriot Hotel and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Jakarta. Many other attacks have happened in recent months and years on hotels around the world. Moreover, other would-be attacks have thankfully been foiled before taking innocent lives.

Although terrorist attacks on hotels are of course possible, being targeted at a hotel is far more likely by petty criminals who want nothing more than to steal your money, passport and/or other valuables. Criminals have admitted following people into hotels and within minutes, after standing behind them at check-in, they knew the name, first and last, cell phone number, room number, how many nights they were staying for, and even if they were expecting a guest to arrive. Think about that the next time you check into a hotel. Don’t make yourself a target.

So what is the alternative? AirBnB. According to their website, they are now in 190+ countries. The booking process is easy, and you get to choose from a variety of different types of accommodations. I like the anonymity of it. I leave the airport, typically in an Uber vehicle I have arranged to meet in a particular location, away from the taxis, and then drove to a private residence. This reduces the risk of being a victim of a terrorist attack, and away from would-be criminals potentially targeting me in a hotel. I am also more comfortable connecting my laptop to a wireless connection of a private residence than I am to a hotel network, where hackers like to target.

To date, I have absolutely no complaints about Uber or AirBnB and purely from a traveler’s point of view, I like that I get to experience some authenticity of the country I am visiting. Traveling in their vehicles, listening to their music, staying in their houses, eating their food, and enjoying the conversations are all very entertaining. One should not be afraid to travel, far from it. Just take the time to do some research. Being forearmed is being forewarned.

Danny is a true nomad and founder of NomadSOS. Originally from the UK, he has visited 36 different countries. He is a former soldier, security advisor and business traveler with 20-years of international experience, including operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict and post-conflict regions around the world.

What other tips do you have to share? Comment below so we can Go! See! Learn!

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Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae is the creator of The Traveling Vixen, which captures her adventures around the world. Her passion is to inspire others to grow by experiencing and learning new things in the world.

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