Wherever you are, but particularly at airports and terminals, keep a hawk's eye on your possessions. Whatever you do, never leave your luggage unattended or with a stranger (however friendly they may seem).
Always be careful about flashing valuables such as your camera and only carry a small amount of money in your wallet. Keep the bulk hidden away with the rest of your essential documents either in a money belt, or a hotel safe.
Body language speaks volumes and can alter your whole experience. Walk confidently with an air of purposeful alertness and dress in clothes that blend in with the crowds and you're less likely to be hassled. Avoid unfolding a map at night this can make you look lost and vulnerable. Phone home regularly or set up a blog on STA Travel blogs so family and friends know that you’re OK.
Never forget you are a guest in someone else's country, so dress and behave accordingly. Neat and conservative attire is more likely to prompt a respectful and friendly response from locals. Always learn some key phrases of the language - they'll be really useful.
Abide by a country's code - and this may mean not sunbathing topless however inviting it seems, or wearing shorts and sleeveless tops - and you'll have a much better time. Be aware of religious dress codes such as covering your head, removing your shoes, or walking in a certain direction round a temple.
Carry your money in a variety of ways – cash, travellers’ cheques and a credit card so that you can access your money worldwide and won’t be caught short if you run out of cash. Get a STA Travel cashcard which allows you to hold up to £5,000 in a secure on-line ‘eccount’. You can then move your money safely onto your card by text, via the internet or by telephone. For carrying money, take a wallet for loose change and day to day spending and a secure money belt to be worn under clothing for your valuable documents and money.
Avoid trouble spots - if you're heading to any areas of potential unrest, check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice Unit on 020 7008 0232 for the latest situation or visit their website.
STA Travel can also book 1 day Safety Courses, which teach people how to prepare for their gap year and how to deal with problems they may face.
Now more and more people of both sexes are setting off to explore the globe on their own, and remote, far-flung lands are becoming accessible to anyone with the inclination to get up and go. The benefits of travelling alone mean you can leave when you want to and be as flexible as you like. However, it's worth remembering that even the negative aspects of travel - the nightmare journeys, illness, theft, and bug-ridden accommodation - have their pay-offs. They make for unbeatable tales in travellers' hang-outs the world over - and in years to come staid dinner party guests will giggle over outrageous happenings you bravely coped with in distant corners of the earth. Just use you common sense, keep your head and you'll have the time of your life!
When you're travelling with someone else, there's a tendency to be introspective. On your own you're more likely to make friends with local people, get invited to a family's home, and become immersed in the culture. When travelling alone you can choose to travel solo or hook up with fellow travellers - you only really need to be alone when you want to be alone.
Everyone loves a good story - and travelling solo will give you plenty of mileage.
You must always be aware of the disadvantages of going solo. There will be times when you are lonely and it's often easier to have a partner to keep an eye on the luggage while you go to the loo or join a mile-long queue for a train ticket.
Also it can also be more expensive when you're not sharing rooms and travel costs, but again - you're bound to meet friends along the way.