The question I get asked most often since I began solo traveling is how I stay safe. How do you stay safe when you’re traveling alone? Traveling alone means you have to know your surroundings and keep aware of where your important items are. For me, I get concerned about my passport and phone as though are the hardest things for me to replace. Solo Travel is an opportunity of a lifetime, and something everyone should do at least once!
These are my top 10 tips for staying safe when solo traveling:
- Share your itinerary with friends or family back home. When I was traveling through Ireland I made sure to text my father every day with photos of what I was doing and where I was. I also made sure to update my location on the TrackMyTour app whenever I could. If you haven’t heard of TrackMyTour it’s a version of google maps you can share with friends. It’s super easy and convenient, so if you’re traveling around just pin where you are, and it’ll update. So, if anything does happen your family will be able to tell the local police of your last known location.
- When in doubt, don’t go out. I know this sounds insane when you’re traveling you want to take in everything possible, but when you don’t feel your best listen to your body and do what feels safe. Maybe instead of going out for the night, just grab a drink at the hostel bar. Take it slow, it’s a big deal just being in a foreign city by yourself.
- Dress like a local! Doing research on how the locals dress will not only prepare you for the weather but it’ll also help you blend in. For instance, in Ireland, the locals don’t really use umbrellas because of how intense the wind can get but instead wear raincoats. Think about the ways you can blend in and enjoy the local culture! Being a solo traveler can make it easier to blend in too, so take advantage of the opportunity!
- Ignore catcalling. Catcalling is unfortunately everywhere you go and the only way to avoid it, is to ignore it. If you’re traveling alone and want to stop creepy men from making advances, wear a fake wedding ring. The unfortunate truth is that I’ve found is men are less likely to turn violent if you wear a fake ring. I purchased mine from Walmart for less than $10, and it’s gotten me out of a few rough situations (Pro-tip: put clear nail polish on the band so it won’t turn your finger green).
- Join tour groups for destinations that are hard to get to. If you want to go to a tourist destination like the Great Wall of China try looking into going with a group. Not only will this keep you safe, but most of the time tours have priority passes. This means less time in line – more time seeing what you want.
- Create an alternate personality. When traveling alone it gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want to be. I’m not saying start a new life, but when you’re meeting strangers give them a fake name if they don’t feel safe. Tell them you’re from Idaho instead of New York or that you’re waiting on friends. Don’t reveal every detail about yourself! Play it safe and trust your instincts. As much as I’ve met amazing friends while traveling, there have been a few men that wouldn’t leave without my life story.
- If you don’t feel safe walking, especially at night, grab a taxi. Being a solo traveler means having to keep notice of all surrounding. So if you don’t feel safe, it’s best to just bite the bullet and get a taxi. Just make sure before getting in the taxi to get the name and registration of the driver. If you’re at your hostel or leaving a bar, it’s worth a shot to ask if they’ll call one for you.
- If you’re lost, walk into a store, police station, anywhere that seems safe and check your phone for directions. Google Maps works offline so it’ll tell you where you are. If you still are unsure, ask the shop owner! 99.99% of the time people will help get you in the right direction.
- Take a photo of all important documents and keep it on a flash drive. That way, just in case anything happens you’ll have access to these documents faster. Leave it in your suitcase or with a trusted friend back home!
- Ask friends and family if they know anyone around where you’re going. If they do, see if it’s okay to get their phone number in case of an emergency. This saved me during my trip to Ireland as my dad knew friends outside of Dublin that helped me out of a bad situation. You might think you have it all planned out, but it’s good to have it just in case. Solo travel doesn’t mean you need to spend the entire trip by yourself and accept help from no one. It just means getting out there on your own!
Traveling can be difficult, but you shouldn’t let the fear of trying something new stop you from going after what you want. Solo travel is an amazing experience and with these 10 tips, you’re ready to get out there!
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips for your next solo travel trip helpful! Make sure to like, follow, and share with your travel buddies! Thank you for reading and if you want to learn more about travel and minimalism, make sure to check out a few of my other posts!
Until next time,