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8 Important Safety Tips For Traveling Alone

One of the most popular messages that I get from aspiring solo female travelers, or travelers in general is "is it safe to travel alone?".

It's an especially scary thought for women, who are often the target of unwanted attention and advances -especially in countries where women are deemed a different status from men.

But I'm here to tell you that no matter who you are, you shouldn't let the fear of solo traveling stop you from doing it. Out of all the countries and states that I've been to alone, I've learned from very valuable lessons and tips that apply to each trip.

Here's eight important safety tips for traveling alone.

a woman looks behind her as she runs through an empty field of grass

1. Research in depth about your destination

Before you book that plane ticket, before you even think about going to that exciting beach or tourist attraction, take the time to delve into the intricacies of the place you'll be visiting, Every step of the way should be a calculated plan.

Knowing beforehand things like what kind of area your accommodation is in, what kind of apps you should download before visiting, and how do I even get from the airport to my hotel are essential questions. Even knowing what the airport looks like beforehand can give you more peace of mind.

a woman writes in a journal about safety tips for traveling alone

Even the simplest of things that are easy to look over like where is the nearest train station to my hotel? I certainly wish I knew this when I took my solo trip to Taiwan and ended up having to drag my luggage for 20 minutes getting from the nearest train station to my hostel.

Beyond that, you should also research about local customs, cultural norms, and traditions that shape daily life in the region. Who knows, you do NOT want to accidentally offend some of the locals in that area. (For example, in Thailand it is considered rude to use your pointer finger to point at someone).

Understanding the local environment goes beyond just safety too; it's about immersing yourself in the culture and respecting the ways of the people who call that place home. Learning these things will not only shape you as a person, but will help you enjoy your trip more and any social interactions you have along the way.

2. Share your itinerary

Do your mother a favor and send her a plan detailing all the places that you'll go so she doesn't stay up worrying at night. I've gotten many a worrisome phone call from my mother on my solo trips before.

Provide either a trusted family member or friend with comprehensive details of your accommodation, including the names and addresses of the place that you'll be staying at, as well as your contact information while there.

It's also best to share your transportation plans, like flight numbers, train schedules, or any other modes of transportation you'll be using to get around.

By sharing your itinerary in detail, you ensure that someone back home knows where you are at all times, which is very helpful not just in the case of an emergency, but just for pure peace of mind.

3. Stay Connected

two women smiling in Maya Bay, Phi Phi Island

Maintaining regular communication with loved ones back home not only provides peace of mind for both you and them but also serves as an important safety precaution.

It's a plus if you can even find a local at your new destination to be your trusted mentor.

By making local connections through tours, active hostels, and through websites like Workaway and Couchsurfing, you can take on your new destination with confidence knowing that you have someone close by to watch your back.

Lord knows I would not have navigated through Kyrgyzstan alone if I did not have the contact info and help of my host family which I found through Workaway.

5. Trust your instincts

This tip is a very underestimated one, but perhaps one of the most critical safety tips for traveling alone. Your intuition is a powerful tool. When something feels off or makes you uneasy, it's essential to listen to that inner voice and take action.

It's also not just your instincts, but a lot of staying safe while traveling is just common sense.

See a dark alleyway in an empty part of the city? Maybe best to stay away. Talking to a stranger and you suddenly get weird vibes from them? Leave. You have no obligation to stay in situations that make you uncomfortable -travel, after all, is supposed to make you feel free and happy.

In addition, it's important to cultivate a sense of confidence in your ability to protect yourself. No matter how paranoid you think you are, have the courage to take preemptive action to ensure your safety. This might mean assertively setting boundaries, saying no to situations that don't feel right, or seeking help from authorities or trusted individuals when necessary. It's important to be open-minded and embrace new experiences while traveling, but it's equally important to stay attuned to your inner voice and prioritize your safety above all else.

Trust yourself, trust your instincts, and trust that you have the strength and resourcefulness to protect yourself wherever your travels may take you.

6. Keep an eye on your belongings

Do NOT carry all of your cash and documents in one place. This safety tip for traveling alone might actually be a great budgeting tip too so you don't spend all of your money on that adorable "souvenir".

a woman carries a bag as she walks along the beach

Even in some of the safest cities on Earth, you must keep a good eye on your things when you are out.

One tip that I learned from my mother is that in crowded places, especially public transportation, keep your backpack strapped to the front of you. Or you can opt for a fanny pack or crossbody bag instead to help prevent potential mishaps and ensure a stress-free journey. Some people even go as far as to invest in luggage locks.

You should also research the common scam tactics in the area. I've heard lots of different stories from my fellow travelers; in some places people will come up to you asking you what color your shoes are and once you look down they attack. My mother said that when she lived in Bangkok 20 years ago, it was common for people to slash large tote bags open with knives.

This example is more due to my inability to say no to convincing salesmen, but in Dubai a pashmina vendor physically dragged me into his store and wrapped the pashmina around my head -an attempt that truly caught me off guard and resulted in me losing $200 on a pashmina that I didn't necessarily even want.

But at the end of the day, you should know. I should've known the type of environment I was walking into and prepared beforehand.

7. Stay in safe accommodations, even if it means spending more money.

It's kind of a no-brainer that where you spend most of your days and sleep at night should be a place where you do not have to worry. Especially when traveling solo, where you choose to stay can significantly impact your safety and overall experience.

Start by researching reputable and well-reviewed hotels or hostels in your destination. Look for establishments with positive feedback from solo female travelers. Websites and travel forums often offer valuable insights and reviews from fellow travelers that can help.

the side of a building with a portrait of a woman on it

What kind of security features does the hotel have? Is there a 24-hour reception desk? Where is the nearest bus/ train station? Is it safe to walk around the area? How far do I have to walk to get to the nearest restaurants?

While it might sound like such a sweet deal to book a cheap hostel on the outskirts of town, I truly think that investing a little more in your accommodation not only keeps you safer but makes you just enjoy your trip more. Take it from the girl who sleep in a sketchy , windowless hostel and left with ringworm.

8. Be aware of yourself

You would think this one also involves a lot of common sense, but it is surprisingly important. You do not want to stick out like a sore thumb. While it's enticing to rattle your fancy gold jewelry or spot your new Louis Vitton bag on your vacation, know that there's an appropriate time and place for that.

Certain things like taking of your jewelry when exploring a new part of the city, keeping your camera in a bag and not flaunting it out in the open saves you from being a target of scammers, pick-pocketers, and my kryptonite; convincing salesmen.

Unfortunately, we as women, will have to change our appearances and dress codes to glide through certain trips easier. No matter how hot it is, wearing that adorable mini skirt is often not the best idea in certain countries.

Being aware of your surroundings is important too. No matter how cozy the long train ride is, it's probably not the best idea to fall asleep on it. While you should have fun on your trip, it's also a good idea to remain vigilant and perhaps scan your surroundings once in a while.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of exploring a new destination, but it's crucial to stay alert to stay safe while traveling.

Safety Tips for Traveling Alone: The Conclusion

I know these tips might seem overwhelming, but you'd be surprised at how it can become second nature to you. A lot of it is truly just using your common sense.

Now go take on the world in confidence!


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