Travel Safety Tips for the Solo Traveler

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Going on a solo trip can be a great way to get away from everything and everyone when you need an escape. You don't have to worry about what others want to go see, where to eat, or wait around for others to be ready to head out for the day.

Since you're on your own, you have to prepare well for your trip since there's no one else to rely on. Practicing safe habits when you're traveling on your own will ensure you have the best time possible while protecting yourself from potential harm.

Some trip packages include excursions with other people. That could be a great way to travel during the day and provide you some additional level of safety in numbers.

Travel Simply

Carry only what you need, especially when it comes to international travel. When you're going out on a day trip, your essentials should be enough cash to get you through the day, phone, passport, and possibly a map. There are plenty of map apps out there to help you get around. Just be sure to keep a portable charger on you so you have plenty of juice.

Keep Valuables Secure and Distributed

The items you carry should be stored in a way that doesn't attract attention to you. For instance, don't wear a bulky money belt outside your clothes. That is basically telling thieves you would be an excellent target.

If you really want to carry a daypack or an across-the body purse on you, don't leave it loose under a table or the back of a chair. Keep it between your feet or even step on it through the strap if you need to put it down on the ground.

When loading a vehicle, whether it's a bus, taxi, or train, try to load your own bags, or at the very least keep your eyes on them until they're loaded. Your valuables, such as cash, electronics, and passport, should not all be kept in the same spot, so if you end up getting robbed, at least you won't have lost everything. If you do want to carry around a money bag, put it under your clothes and keep your credit card or other items there.

Another good technique is to carry around a "fake" wallet. Make sure it's worn out a bit, and then stuff it with some small bills, coins, and no longer valid cards. Ideally, the account numbers on these cards should no longer be tied to your actual account. If you have bad luck and are robbed, hand over the fake wallet to minimize your loss.

Learn the Culture in Advance

It's important to know a little bit about the culture in the country you are traveling to because it's going to be different from what you're used to. Women especially have to be aware of cultural norms as there are a number of countries that have restrictive rules on dressing.

For instance, it's considered offensive for women to wear bathing suits, shorts, or low cut shirts in some cultures. There's also dress codes for religious sites, and you could be turned away whether you are a man or woman for baring legs or shoulders.

In addition to learning the dressing norms, you will also benefit from learning some language basics. It's helpful for situations where you may have to ask for some help or are meeting with people. There are some gestures that may mean one thing in your native country and the complete opposite in another.

Download a Map

Technology has really made traveling so much easier. There's a good number of apps that can help you find the best restaurants, hotels, and shops to visit. City maps can also be downloaded in advance to help you navigate new cities.

Wi-Fi is widely available at hotels, hostels, and other properties, but it's not always free. That's why you should download your maps before heading out to your trip.

Tell Someone Where You're Going to Be

On a solo trip you are accountable for yourself since no one is waiting for you to show up for lunch. Make sure you let someone know what your plans are for the day, perhaps even another traveler you can trust.

Check in with your friends or family back at home to give them updates on your whereabouts. You can do this by email or text since that will be easier in most cases than trying to call them. Others should definitely know your trip dates so they know when to expect you back.

Attach Yourself to a Group

You're on your own, but you don't have to make it so apparent that you are. Try to appear as though you are with a group when you can. Sit near a group when you're at a restaurant and engage them in conversation. As you're in a line, stand a bit closer to a group and ask a question or two.

Some trip packages include excursions with other people. That could be a great way to travel during the day and provide you some additional level of safety in numbers.

Do a Gut Check

Your intuition is your best guide to making a call on what to do in most situations. Remove yourself from places that you just feel that something isn't quite right. If it's a person who's making you feel uneasy, go towards other people who are away that them.