Travel Safety: 50 Tips for Solo Travelers
Going solo requires special attention to travel safety so I added a question on safety to my solo travel survey. I received 73 responses and lots of great ideas. Here are the top 50 recommendations on how to stay safe when going solo.
(They still apply if you’re traveling with a companion.)
Solo travel safety: before your leave.
- Travel safety begins with research before you leave. Knowledge protects you from the danger of misinformation, unsavory individuals or innocently wandering into an unsafe area.
- Choose your destination carefully. Make sure its safety level meets your personal travel safety needs.
- Schedule your fight to arrive during daylight hours.
- Study the layout of the city and its neighbourhoods – especially the area around your accommodation – before you go.
- Check your government’s travel sites for information on travel document requirements, travel advisories and other recommendations. UK: travel alerts. US: Travel alerts. Canada, travel alerts.
- Register with your government as a citizen traveling abroad. UK, US , Canada
Solo travel safety: when you’re out and about.
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Trust your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right leave.
- Stay in public. A taxi should not be shared with a stranger as it is not truly a public place.
- Don’t tell strangers where you’re staying either in words or actions. Your accommodation should be your safe haven.
- Sleep well so that you are at your best.
- Stay sober.
- Walk with confidence – like you absolutely know what you’re doing.
- Be aware of cultural differences so that you can blend in better. Try not to look like a tourist.
- Be polite. But don’t let being polite compromise your safety.
- Don’t wear jewellery or flashy clothes/accessories that will attract attention to yourself.
- Hold your wallet, camera, cell phone/mobile… close to you.
- Keep your passport, plane ticket and extra money hidden on your body.
- Carry the address of your accommodation in the local language.
- Take a break once in a while and join a group or tour.
- If you see someone suddenly in need of help, get someone else to go their aid with you.
- Always carry a map.
- Know how to access your government’s help in case of an emergency: UK Emergency services, UK Foreign offices, US Emergency services, American offices overseas, Canadian Emergency Services, Canadian Offices Abroad.
Solo travel safety: Accommodation
- Ask for a room on an upper floor.
- If you are a woman ask if there is a women only floor and get a room there if possible.
- Be aware of the alternative exits.
- When you return at night, ask for an escort to your room if you are nervous.
- Use the security lock.
- Lock important items in the room safe.
- When you leave your room, leave the TV and a light on if possible – put out the do not disturb sign.
- Check TripAdvisor.com for a review of your accommodation in case travel safety is highlighted as an issue.
Solo travel safety: Getting around
- Arrive during the day so you don’t have to find your way to your accommodation after dark.
- Study the layout of the city and its neighborhoods.
- Have a small map that you can refer to. Make sure the map is current
- Understand the city transit system, how safe it is, fares, passes and basic routes before you arrive.
- If you are out at night, return by taxi.
- Ask your hotel/hostel/guest home manager about safety.
Solo travel safety: technology
- Keep desirable technology out of sight as much as possible.
- Keep your cell phone on you.
- If possible, have a GPS on your phone.
- Pre-program numbers like your accommodation phone number, your government’s consulate office and 911 if you are in North America.
Solo travel safety: managing your money.
- Use debit cards to acquire money at ATMs internationally.
- Take out small amounts frequently rather than carrying large amounts of cash on you.
- Choose pre-paid debit cards rather than credit cards as they better protect your personal information.
- Leave credit cards for when debit cards or cash are not an option.
- Travelers cheques are still a good standby.
- Keep emergency cash hidden on your body.
Solo travel safety: luggage
- Use a distinctive mark on your luggage other than a name and address tag
- Keep your name and address inside your bag for proper identification if needed.
- Pack light so that you can manage your luggage yourself with ease. One carry-on will make your life much easier.
I was thrilled with the number and range of safety tips offered through the survey. Please use the comments to add more.