Is It Safe To Travel Solo?
Is it safe to travel solo?And what are some solo travel safety tips that I need to know when traveling alone for the first time?
It’s a question that I am often asked by my friends, families, and many others that have doubts when traveling solo.
Let’s clear something up, traveling solo IS SAFE.
But just like any other type of travel, whether for couples, families, and of course, solo travelers, it is essential to proceed with caution and prioritize your safety.
Even now after years of traveling alone to numerous countries, I still rely on these tips to ensure my personal safety. These safety tips aren’t suppose to scare you, instead, I hope they are useful and give you the knowledge to take your first solo trip with confidence and ease.
Remember, fear shouldn’t hold you back from your next big adventure, but you should always proceed with caution and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe travel.
If you are traveling alone for the first time, then be sure to check out these best solo travel tips for beginners.
Disclaimer: The solo travel safety tips shared in this article are based on my personal experiences. While I hope they prove helpful for you, please remember that these tips might not cover all scenarios. Your safety is vital and for tailored advice, please consider consulting a travel agent or local authorities before your trip.
Solo Travel Safety Tips To Know Before Your First Trip
1. Research Your Destination:
Researching your travel destination is essential regardless if you are traveling aborad, locally, or with others.
Certain countries are safer for solo travelers then others, so if your traveling alone for the first time then I would recommend traveling to one of these best solo travel destinations. These countries are typically extremely safe for solo travelers, while offering unique adventures for you to enjoy!
If you are hesitant about traveling alone for the first time to a foreign country, then I would highly recommend to start traveling locally. You can visit some of the best places to travel solo as a female in the US. By traveling locally, you will gain the self confidence and skills to start traveling by yourself.
Before you take off, take the time to learn the local language and cultural traditions of your chosen destination. This not only shows respect to the place you’re visiting but also helps you blend in and interact more effectively with the locals.
From greetings to appropriate attire, having an understanding of local customs can go a long way in making your trip smoother and more enjoyable.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert – even a basic understanding can make a significant difference!
Bonus Solo Travel Safety Tip: When booking your flight, make sure that you are arriving to your destination at least several hours before dark. This can ensure that you will have plenty of daylight when arriving to your hotel even if there are flight delays.
2. Understand Common Threats:
Before you travel anywhere, it’s a good idea to research common scams and pickpocketing tactics that might happen in your area.
For example, I’ve seen videos of people steal phones and wallets outside of people’s back pockets with nothing more than chopsticks! So by being aware of common threats in your travel area, you can become more cautious and less likely to fall victim to them.
Other female travelers swear by using pickpocket proof clothing or having a dummy wallet that can easily be handed over if needed, without losing all your important documents.
Personally, I use a secure money belt and one of these best anti-theft travel backpacks that can safely secure your belongings. These bags also have hidden compartments to safely secure your important travel documents or money.
Remember, awareness is your ally.
It can help you stay vigilant and confident while exploring new places.
3. Prioritize Reputable Lodging:
Your accommodations is your home away from home during your travels. Invest the time to research and book reputable lodgings with positive reviews and safety features such as on site security, outdoor cameras, and 24/7 reception.
While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest lodging option, never compromise on your safety.
A slightly higher budget for accommodations is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you will have a secure and comfortable place to rest.
Trust me, do not cheap out on your accommodations, especially when safety is top priority.
4. Make Duplicates of Your Documents:
If you are traveling aborad for the first time, it may be difficult to know all of the international travel essentials that you must have. So by not having or by losing one of these important documents, can become a total nightmare.
To avoid this, make electronic and physical copies of essential documents such as your passport, ID, travel insurance, and visas. Distribute the physical copies across all your bags to ensure that you have backups in case one of them gets lost or stolen.
It might seem like a small step, but it can make a huge difference in maintaining your peace of mind throughout your journey.
5. Share your travel plans:
Before you leave, you should identify the contact information and address of your accommodations, major activities, or other travel itineraries with a person you trust back at home.
Should anything happen, your family members will know your travel plans and make sure to contact the appropriate authorities.
Plus, by sharing your travel plans, it’s a great way to get your family involved in knowing about all you or eliciting adventures that you will have.
You can also download safety apps that offer emergency alerts and location sharing with your trusted contacts.
6. Map Out Emergency Contacts:
Store local embassy numbers, police contacts, and emergency services in your phone.
It may seem obvious, but when I first traveled to a foreign country, I did not realize that each country has their own local police number. So please learn from my mistakes, and put the local police number inside your phone before you travel outside of the country.
One of my other best pieces of advice for all travelers is to register with the smart traveler enrollment program, also known as the STEP Program offered by the U.S Department of State.
You will be able to sign up for alerts from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It can also help the U.S. Embassy contact you in case of an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
7. Get Travelers Insurance:
The easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to protect yourself and belongings while traveling is to get travelers insurance. As a frequent traveler, I never leave home without it, so you shouldn’t either.
Whether you’re traveling alone, with your family, internationally, or across state lines, get travelers insurance.
Travelers insurance can protect from common to extreme issues that you may have when traveling. From flight delays, lost luggage, trip cancellations, medical emergencies, damage to your electronic equipment, travelers insurance can help protect you or compensate you for any unwanted issues.
So regardless if you’re traveling alone or with a tour group, by having travelers insurance, you can enjoy your trip more knowing that you are insured.
Solo Travel Safety Tips To Know During Your Trip
8. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings:
Once you arrive to your area, try to familiarize yourself with the local layout during the daytime so that you can navigate confidently when the sun sets.
Whenever your out by yourself (especially in the evening times), stick to well-lit and populated areas to reduce the risk of encountering any unexpected situations.
At night, try to reduce walking around, and instead opt into using public transportation or use one of the many ride sharing apps.
Bonus Safety Tip: Regardless of the time of day or place, never put two headphones in. Always keep one ear open, listening to your surroundings. Plus, it helps you seem more approachable if friendly locals want to strike up a conversation with you.
9. Ride Responsibly:
Transportation is a critical aspect of traveling solo safely. Always opt for reputable transportation options, such as licensed taxis or rideshare services, especially at night.
Avoid hitchhiking or accepting rides from strangers, especially during odd hours of the night. While it might seem like a shortcut or a free ride, compromising your safety for convenience is never worth it.
Prioritize your well-being by choosing transportation methods that are known for their reliability and safety.
10. Connect with Locals and Staff:
Take the time to engage with hotel staff, ask for their recommendations, and seek their advice on safe areas to explore.
While exploring Kenya, I struck up a conversation with my friendly hotel receptionist for great bar locations in the immediate area that she would recommend. And after receiving great insight from her, I was ready for a night out in the town. But before I left the hotel, I joked with her (but not really) to hunt me down if I do not come back in a couple hours.
After a great night at the bar, I followed up with her and thanked her for the great bar recommendation.
By creating a good relationship with the staff and local guest can benefit you in multiple ways! You will have a good relationship with those who know the area best, and you can ensure that you have a more enjoyable and safe trip.
11. Dress Like a Local, But Stay True to You:
Dressing appropriately for your destination demonstrates respect for local customs. However, staying comfortable and true to your style is equally important. Strike a balance that lets you blend in while maintaining your individuality.
Remember, feeling comfortable in your outfit contributes to your overall confidence and safety as you explore new surroundings.
12. Making Friends on the Go:
Meeting other solo travelers can be one of the best part of traveling! These friends can become your lifelong buddies, bridesmaids, and maybe even traveling buddies.
However, just like when you meet any new person, it’s essential to trust your instincts and proceed with caution. While forming connections with like-minded individuals can enhance your experience, take your time to build trust gradually.
Bonus Tip: Know the difference between daytime friends and nightlife friends.
If you are looking to make true friendships that can last a lifetime, then try doing day time activities such as doing walking tours, local classes, or other fun activities.
While it’s fun to make nightlife friends, be cautious of your environment and their intentions.
13. Stay Smart with Personal Belongings:
By having some of my solo travel essentials, you can ensure that you have some of the best safety devices or electronics to ensure that you have a safe and memorable trip.
For example you can use anti-theft backpacks with hidden compartments to secure the safety of your important travel documents or money.
14. Budgeting and Banking Safely:
Whenever you travel, you should always have different sources of money.
Depending on where your traveling to, some places only accept card or their local currency, so by having different types of payments, you can alway ensure that you can pay for whatever you need or want.
When traveling you should always carry your debt card, digital wallet, local currency in cash, and international currency (when traveling aborad). You can also put your money in different areas, so in case you are ever robbed, you have at least some backup money in a separate bag or wallet.
Also, be cautious when using public or free Wi-Fi at airports or other public places. These public Wi-Fi can be easily manipulated and hackers and asses your financial information.
There you have it! These essential solo travel safety tips are sure to help first time solo travelers, or act as key reminders for experienced travelers.
While it may seem overwhelming at first, try to plan ahead and use your gut instincts to safely navigate the area.
I hope these safety tips have helped you, so you feel more confident to travel the world. Safe travels my friends!
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