Addressing Solo Travel Objection #1: ten safety solutions.

Solo travel safety

My very fair skin, white hair and backpack marked me clearly as a tourist in Santiago. But, no makeup or jewelery makes me less of a mark.

This is the second in my series on overcoming solo travel objections.

You’ll recall that last week I wrote on overcoming solo travel objection #6 from “7 Things You Don’t Love About Solo Travel”. Today I’m taking on objection #1 – safety.

We have been told that there is safety in numbers. But, just because you travel solo doesn’t mean that you are alone. You can still find safety in numbers. Check out solution #1 and then read on.

  1. Stay in public. This is my Golden Rule of solo travel safety. Public is always safer than private. People observing the behavior of others has been a social control mechanism since the beginning of time.
  2. Think about how you stay safe where you live. Whether you live in a city, town or rural area, there is danger of some sort. You avoid it with knowledge. Be informed about your destination.
  3. Study maps before you arrive so that you know where it is safe to go and where the limits of safety lie. It’s easy to walk one more block and end up in a dicey neighborhood.
  4. Inappropriate dress

    From the film, Cairo Time, the central character frequently dressed inappropriately with bare arms an plunging necklines.

  5. Trust your intuition. If a person or place doesn’t feel right, leave. Be rude if necessary.
  6. Keep where you’re staying to yourself. Your accommodation should be your safe-haven.
  7. Carry your address written in the local language on a piece of paper with you so that you can easily tell a cab driver where you want to go.
  8. Always stay sober, well rested and alert so that your judgment is not impaired.
  9. Adapt to and respect cultural differences – be polite on your host country’s terms as well as your own.
  10. Dress and act with modesty. Don’t flash jewelery, equipment or gadgets of any kind. What you consider cheap could be worth a lot in another place.
  11. Stay in touch with family and friends. Register your travels with your government before you leave. Have a means of getting help quickly if you need it.

And, keep perspective on what’s important: your person, your documents, your money and your stuff… in that order.

By being smart, solo travel is just as safe as traveling with a companion. I hope this allays any concerns you have about safety.



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  • solotraveler

    Very good points – especially the government approved taxis. Not everyone knows this. Thanks!

  • roopary

    One more from me. Arrival time at destination: Please be very careful specially after long hauls like transatlantic. Time differences tend to make you groggy and less alert. Always choose the government approved taxi / cab from the airport on landing or have your host (Hotel / Hostel / B&B) pick you up. Take a day to let your body recover both from the flight and jetlag before venturing out.

  • “M”

    These are excellent tips.  I have a mother with an uncanny ability to transfer anxiety.

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  • solotraveler

    Very interesting. Yes, fear can run interference on our intuition. It does take time to develop and hear our intuitive skills. Thanks Scott.

  • Scott Hartman

    just a thought on Intuition . . . not so much on training, but care and feeding. Intuition is that gear in us, that mechanism, that often goes unnoticed – many times in our day to day lives it’s simply a vestigal organ, i.e. there, but not really necessary.

    While I agree that it can’t be ‘trained’, per se, it can take some time to know when it is Intuition talking, or just our head (Fears, etc).

    I have made decisions based on what I imagined was Intuition, only to find out later that it was Fear talking, and that the situation involved was actually “Safe.” This process of recognizing the difference can take some time, and like many/All(?) lessons, you might fall down a few times. But in time, I found the true voice of my Intuition. A good one to know. :)

  • Spinster

    Short, sweet & to the point. Thanks for the Track 24 Solo website also.

  • Mark

    Thank you Janice for mentioning Track24 Solo. If anyone here have any questions or would like to know more about the service you can contact me directly at

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards,
    Mark Abraham
    Business Development Manager

  • solotraveler

    Hi Lee and Kevin. I’m not sure if it’s the one we all are thinking of but I found another. It’s called Track 24 Solo .

  • solotraveler

    thanks Kevin!

  • Kevin Hawley

    Hey Janice,
    Good article to reinforce some important points.
    Point # 3 you hit on a keyword. Study your maps “BEFORE” you go. Walking around town in circles looking at your map is not blending in or being low key, it’s making you a target.

    #7. Stay Sober, awwww…do we have to? :) Seriously though, even 2-3 drinks can cause you to let your guard down. This is a time when the Solo should have a companion with them.

    #10. Stay in Touch. It has never been easier than now. Skype has come a long way, whether you use a PC or phone, not to mention it’s dirt cheap. If your U.S phone doesn’t working where you are, I go buy what I call a “Throw Away” phone and some Airtime. There cheap, got one at Walmart for $15.00 and it’s all you need to call & say your good to go to your family or for an emergency.

    Hasta Luego,


  • Kevin Hawley

    @ lee, Hi Lee, I know what service you are talking about also, but I do not the website. I do know they have an app. on the Android Phone Market as I had it on my Droid, I would look it up for you but my phone is now in the recycle Bin :( Anyone with an Android can download the app. for you or you can go to the Android Market on the Web. That app. also offers several services such as contacting or referring you to medical care at your current locale. Kinda like a Traveller’s Concierge.

  • solotraveler

    Thanks Ken. I think that’s a good point. We can learn to ignore intuition in our haste to live life. Listening to it with intent is a good idea.

  • Ken

    @Alex – You don’t so much train intuition, as to stop ignoring it. When I was a green traveller 34 years ago, I was going walkabout in Amsterdam. One street didn’t feel right, so I turned around back to more populated streets. Later, I discovered that area was a bad crime spot. Afterward, I always listened to that feeling.

  • solotraveler

    Hi Lee, I vaguely remember such a service but can’t come up with the name either. I’ll put a tweet out tomorrow on it and hopefully find it. Thanks for reminding me.

  • leelaurino

    J, do you know the web site (can remember it just now) that you call in and tell the service where you are going.
    if you do’nt call back at the time you tell the service, they notify your contact person that you have not returned.
    sounded like a very good option for solo travelers. as time goes on i find i am not as adventurous as others think i am.

  • Alex Sanchez

    Absolutely this idea very useful for me. I love traveling. But, I am a little troubled by intuition. How do we train intuition? Please give advice for this one. Thanks a lot.