25 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers
Traveling solo can be exhilarating – but it can be a little frightening, too. These 25 solo travel safety tips can help keep you safe when you travel by yourself.
- Be aware of your surroundings, the neighborhood, and what’s going on around you, especially on crowded streets in popular tourist areas.
- You need to keep track of your stuff, so watch your bags and belongings. Don’t leave bags unattended while on a train or checking into a hotel.
- If you wear a backpack and are standing in line or in a crowd, wear it backwards (with the pack area on your chest). Don’t put phones and documents in pockets that can be easily accessed. Backpacks made of slash-proof material are another good idea.
- Spread around your money, credit cards, passports, prescriptions, tickets, and other important documents. That way, if something gets lost or stolen, you won’t be completely broke. Make copies of important travel documents and keep them in multiple places.
- Watch for pickpockets and thieves when you’re crossing a street or are walking across a bridge. Don’t get pulled into scenes with street performers where you may become part of the act.
Also read: 13 Best Places in the World to Travel Solo
- Tell friends or family where you’re going and leave the same information with someone you trust where you’re staying, such as a hotel concierge.
- Avoid the in-room safes in your hotel; they can be less than safe. If you need something to keep your valuables safe in your room, consider buying a portable travel safe made of slash-proof material.
- When taking mass transit, know where you got on and where you’re going to get off. Plan your route in advance – and buy your tickets, too, if you have the chance. Download the app for the transit system where you are or consider a more generic option like the Transit app.
- Pack extra prescription medicine and prescriptions, and know your drugs’ generic names. Make sure you have backups of all meds.
- One of the best ways to stay healthy while traveling is to avoid getting sick in the first place. The pandemic tactics of aggressive hand-washing and social distancing can work great to help you stay healthy when you’re traveling, too.
- Don’t drink local water – not even to brush your teeth. Be picky about what you buy from food stalls and local markets, too.
- Memorize a few key phrases in the local language. Things like “please,” “thank you,” “slow down,” “stop,” and “where is [place]” are always useful.
- Carry a map. Don’t worry about how it looks. Don’t be concerned that it’s branding you as a tourist. It’s much more important that you know where you are and where you’re going. If you need directions, talk to local resources you trust – like your hotel concierge. They can also tell you areas to avoid.
- Be alcohol-smart. Don’t drink and drive, ride a scooter, or swim.
- Be smart around ATMs. Use machines in open, well-lighted areas. Withdraw cash during the day. Don’t let anyone “help” you with the ATM.
- Load up your phone with a few apps before you leave.
- Google Translate can translate printed material in any of 38 different languages – and it works just by you pointing your cellphone camera at the text you want to translate.
- GeoSure shows you the safe areas of a city on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. It’s particularly useful for LGBTQ travelers.
- BSafe lets friends or relatives track your movements and sends out an alarm if you need help.
- The State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program helps the local embassy and consulate know who’s traveling in their area, and gives them a way to contact you – or for you to contact family or friends – in an emergency. Just note that you have to re-enroll for every trip you take.
- If you’re concerned about being perceived as alone and vulnerable, talk loudly about meeting your spouse or some friends shortly.
- Dress in line with local customs and mores. Choose muted colors and avoid flashy jewelry. This will help you blend in with crowds and look less like a tourist.
- Choose bags with long straps that you can place between your feet and step on. Bags with reinforced straps can help avoid “cut-and-run” incidents.
- Never let anyone in your room unless you’re absolutely certain they’re who they purport to be – and exercise caution even then.
- Don’t specify your gender when you book your room. They shouldn’t have to know, and you shouldn’t have to supply that information.
- Stay somewhere between the second and fifth floors of a hotel. The first floor is more break-in-prone, and fire trucks’ ladders often have trouble reaching beyond the fifth floor.
- Ask to change rooms if you lose your key.
- Finally, make sure you insure your trip with Generali Travel Insurance. We have plans to help protect you, your health, and your possessions when you travel. In addition, our 24/7 Travel Assistance Services can help in difficult travel situations. Get a quote today!