20+ Essential Tips For Traveling Alone

Have you ever thought about taking a trip alone? There are plenty of benefits to solo travel, like exploring new places at your own pace without waiting for or catching up to travel companions. You won’t be overwhelmed by everyone else’s needs and schedules.

Plus, you get time to enjoy beautiful scenery, peaceful meals, and extra time at the landmarks or attractions that most interest you.

It’s normal to feel nervous or uncomfortable about traveling alone, especially if you’re planning a trip to a different country where you may not know anyone. Luckily, there are some smart ways to stay safe while traveling solo.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe when traveling alone:

  1. Share Your Travel Plans With Trusted Family
  2. Make An Emergency Plan
  3. Secure Your Valuables
  4. Ensure Your Accommodation Is Safe
  5. Do Your Research
  6. Buy A Good Quality Safety Lock
  7. Blend In With The Locals
  8. Avoid Posting Location On Social Media
  9. Pack Wisely
  10. Do Not Accept Food And Drinks From Strangers
  11. Don’t Be Taken For A Ride
  12. Get Travel Insurance
  13. Research The Local Culture And Customs
  14. Learn To Trust Your Instincts
  15. Don’t Be Too Polite
  16. Do Not Tell Strangers Where You’re Staying
  17. Do not assume Men Are The Only Threat
  18. Practice Self Care
  19. Be Careful With Public Wifi
  20. Stick To Your Budget
  21. Bring Backup Finances
  22. Do Not Overpack
Tips For Traveling Alone

22 Tips To Stay Safe When Traveling Alone (Explained)

If you’re someone who likes traveling solo. Then, here are some essential tips to keep in mind when traveling alone in order to stay safe:

1. Share Your Travel Plans With Trusted Family

Send your travel itinerary, hotel reservation information, and details of any planned activities to a family member or friend back home. Also, before solo excursions, let the hotel staff know where you’re headed and when you expect to return.

Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) if traveling abroad. This free service allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll in their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

STEP enrollment ensures you will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions at your destination country so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans. The STEP service helps the U.S. Embassy know more about your whereabouts and how to contact you in an emergency. It also helps family and friends contact you if needed.

To stay connected with friends, family, or work, even if sparingly during your solo travels, check with your smartphone provider to determine what capabilities you’ll need at your travel destination. When you have Wi-Fi access, checking in by email or through social media works too.

2. Make an Emergency Plan

Ideally, you’ll never face a medical issue, accident, or robbery while traveling. However, knowing where to turn is smart if an unfortunate event occurs.

Research nearby hospitals, police stations, and other emergency facilities before you travel. If you’re traveling internationally, learn emergency phrases in the local language so you can ask for help if you need it.

Before you leave, visit your doctor or a travel clinic to ensure you have the right vaccinations. When packing, bring a supply of any prescription drugs you may need, face masks, hand sanitizer, and items to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other potentially disease-carrying pests.

It’s wise to research the safety of drinking water, fresh produce, and dining establishments at your destinations to help avoid illnesses during your travels.

3. Secure Your Valuables

Bring only what you need when you venture out — like your phone, a credit card, some cash, an ID, and a copy of your passport. Keep these concealed in a secure bag you can see at all times. Don’t put bags with these items down or out of your line of sight.

In an emergency, you should also have a photocopy of your passport in case the original gets lost or stolen. Keep the copy in a safe and separate place from where you are storing your actual passport.

Consider leaving a copy with a friend or family back home, too. It’s also important to stay alert and keep your belongings close when riding trains, buses, or other forms of transportation. Store extra money, jewelry, your passport, and other important documents in the hotel safe.

4. Ensure Your Accommodation Is Safe

Make inquiries about the hotel before reserving a room. And if possible, ensure that your room isn’t on the ground floor where window entry is possible.

Choose an accommodation with unmarked ‘swipe cards’ rather than numbered keys for each room if you can. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won’t know which room to rob.

Don’t answer the door if you’re not expecting anyone. Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes, and emergency plans, just in case. Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.

If you make an acquaintance while on your trip and arrange a meeting, don’t ask them to come to your room. Wait and meet with them in the lobby.

5. Do Your Research

First, you must research the area you intend to stay in. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and ask friends/family for advice if they have visited.

Try finding accommodation close to local transport lines and close enough in the way. If an area is notorious for being sketchy, avoid it.

Check your accommodation’s check-in times, so you don’t have to wait around in an area you’d rather not. Ensure you know how much you should be paying for things while you’re out and about, so you can’t get ripped off.

6. Buy A Good Quality Safety Lock

If you are staying in a hostel, you will leave most of your things there as you spend the day exploring. One thing that I always try to remember is a safety lock for my belongings.

Most hostels have lockers for your things, but remember to bring along a lock. Most hostels provide them at reception if you need to remember a lock.

Just try to keep the key and remember your code! You can also get smaller locks for day bags – perfect if you like sleeping on train and bus rides!

7. Blend In With The Locals

The less likely you are to stick out, the less vulnerable you are. Walk with confidence! Try and avoid attracting too much attention. Don’t get the wad of cash out that you just withdrew from the bank machine when paying for things.

Plan your route from A to B before you leave, and try not to look too lost. Avoid having your expensive camera equipment hanging over your shoulder loosely.

Get yourself a good backpack that locks where you can pack everything away.

8. Avoid Posting Location On Social Media

We all love to keep our friends and families updated on our whereabouts, but just be mindful of putting your exact location on your social media accounts.

Ensure your privacy settings are secure (e.g., Facebook friends only). Try and wait for an hour or two (or as long as possible) from when you leave to pop it up – to keep your location safe. It’s for your safety and privacy and also the safety of your belongings.

If you’ve just checked into a hotel and then posted that you’re setting off on a day trip, everyone knows your hotel room is empty (of people) now.

9. Pack Wisely

Overpacking is an easy mistake, regardless of whether you’re traveling solo or with someone else. Still, when you’re alone, the consequences are magnified.

Solo travelers tend to overpack more frequently because they pack every possible provision they might need while away from the comfort of home.

If you overpack, you may end up paying overage charges on your flights (and you don’t have a partner who can take some of your items in their luggage to even it out), which is a huge blow to your budget.

Overpacking limits mobility, especially when leaving one accommodation and heading to another. As much as you can, pack lightly.

10. Do Not Accept Food and Drinks From Strangers

If you travel solo, especially as a woman, this rule applies even if you’re just out at a bar in your hometown.

While you may find it difficult to think the worst of people, not accepting food or drink from people you don’t know (including people you’ve become friends with on your trip) and safeguarding anything you’ll consume is important.

It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of safety and trust with people you meet on your travels, especially if they’re friendly, charismatic, or good-looking.

Avoid falling into that trap, keep an eye on your drink, and only consume the food or food you see coming out of the kitchen of a restaurant. You can still have a lot of fun with new friends without being naive.

11. Don’t be Taken for a Ride

Have a destination in mind? Find out the distance and costs ahead of time, such as how far it is from the airport to your accommodations or what it costs to go downtown.

Ask cab drivers for the estimated fare before you start moving. If it seems unreasonable, take another cab.

Sometimes, the hotel or resort may have its shuttle bus, and you can ask for the schedule.

12. Get Travel Insurance

Protect yourself and the investment you’ve made in your trip from unforeseen events.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance can help reimburse you for covered losses caused by weather, natural disasters, illnesses, and other issues.

Other travel insurance policies can help protect you from unexpected medical and evacuation expenses and losses caused by baggage delays, theft, and more.

Tips For Traveling Solo

13. Research The Local Culture And Customs

A little research goes a long way to help you feel comfortable abroad. It ensures you respect the customs and culture of the country you’re visiting. It could keep you out of trouble, too!

Some things to look into for your destination(s) include:

  • Clothing expectations for both men and women
  • Greetings and norms around personal space
  • Religious customs that are prevalent in society
  • Local laws such as those surrounding drinking in public, taking photos in public, and cycling

Taking the time to know some basic information about your chosen country or countries shows a level of respect the local people will likely appreciate.

14. Learn To Trust Your Instincts

As a solo traveler, you will be approached a lot. And not all of these strangers have your best interests at heart.

There are con artists and petty thefts everywhere in major cities, and part of their act is approaching you. This mainly occurs in train stations and tourist hot spots, such as monuments and must-see attractions.

But you will also meet many great people while you travel. The trick is to stay vigilant without completely closing yourself off from meeting new people.

Be aware of common scams; if a situation feels shady to you, know it probably is! Know when to be firm or even rude with someone to get out of a situation you feel uncomfortable in.

15. Don’t be Too Polite

As a woman, you may default to being overly polite when strangers interrupt a conversation.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with chit-chatting, it’s important to remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation or discussion, especially if they are making you feel uncomfortable in any way or the attention is unwelcome.

When you travel solo, you have to be your advocate, so don’t put up with any unwanted attention! Though you may be tempted to tell a person off, it can sometimes be safer to ignore them, be firm (but not angry) with your words, or walk away confidently.

However, if you feel threatened, don’t be afraid to publically shame the person by loudly calling attention to what they’re doing. Your safety is more important than being perceived as “nice.”

16. Do Not Tell Whoever Where You’re Staying

This is a hard rule:

Never disclose where you’re staying when you’re traveling solo (women), especially if you’re traveling in a foreign country.

If you’re not staying in a “public” place such as a hostel, remain in public spaces with new friends you meet on your travels and opt for public transportation, walking (though not in the dark), or licensed cabs to get around together.

Most importantly, don’t bring guests (male or female) back to your accommodations for any reason.

17. Never Assume Men Are The Only Threat

This may sound scary, but depending on where you’re traveling to, there may be a greater risk of violence, sexual assault, kidnapping, and theft, and traveling solo can make you more of a target.

It’s good to be vigilant – though not scared – about your safety and watch for people who may be targeting you. Most women think of men as the primary threat, but it’s important to keep a watchful eye out for women as well.

Many cartels, human traffickers, and other dangerous groups use women to lure or entrap other women, so don’t assume you can trust someone just because of their gender.

18. Practice Self Care

When you travel alone as a woman, you must be more alert than when you’ve got a travel partner. This becomes more difficult if you’re sleep-deprived! Schedule enough downtime and rest days, even if you spend them at the beach.

Don’t plan too many or back-to-back late nights out or partying. These will contribute significantly to being tired and less aware of what’s happening around you. Being too tired can lead to poor judgment and making bad or lazy (read: unsafe) calls, so rest up!

The longer your trip, the more important this is. It’s easier to go hard for a week or less, but make sure you’re practicing self-care for longer travels!

For in-depth information about this specific point, check out my article on practicing self-care while traveling, I shared some great tips there.

19. Be Careful With Public Wifi

We’ve all used public Wifi, but it comes with significant risks, as it’s largely unmonitored. When traveling, avoid using public Wifi, especially for anything requiring sensitive or personal information, such as banking, online shopping, or a login.

Many people don’t know that it’s straightforward for someone to steal your information on the free unsecured networks at coffee shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

Try to plan to avoid needing to access your banking information or stick to your accommodation’s secure network if you need to.

20. Stick to your Budget

This applies to everyone who is traveling, not just solo travelers. However, it’s worth noting because when you travel solo, no one holds you accountable for how much money you spend. Figure out how much you want to spend on the trip before planning and departing.

Then, determine how much of that is for each category: accommodations, food and drink, attractions, discretionary spending, and any other categories you can identify.

Do some online research or talk to people who have traveled to your location recently to understand what things cost in the area so you can accurately budget.

Then head out on your adventure and stick to your budget! Nothing glamorous about being broke when you get home from your trip.

21. Bring Backup Finances

This is a widespread mistake solo travelers make and easy to avoid! When you’re on your own, you’re limited to the payment types you have on you. There’s no using your travel partner’s credit card if yours is declined.

Always travel with two credit cards, a debit card, and cash in the local currency – both some on hand for regular use and some emergency bills in an inconspicuous place that you don’t foresee having to pull out in public (like rolled up in an empty lip chap tube or a money belt).

Having extra cash on you can also help you avoid the withdrawal fee many banks charge foreign debit cards.

22. Do Not Overpack

Overpacking is an easy mistake, regardless of whether you’re traveling solo or with someone else. Still, when you’re alone, the consequences are magnified.

Solo travelers tend to overpack more frequently because they pack every possible provision they might need while away from the comfort of home.

If you overpack, you may end up paying overage charges on your flights (and you don’t have a partner who can take some of your items in their luggage to even it out), which is a huge blow to your budget.

Overpacking limits mobility, especially when leaving one accommodation and heading to another. As much as you can, pack lightly.

More Travel Tips:

Tips For A Long Bus RideTips For A Road Trip
Tips For First-Time TravelersTravel Tips For Introverts
Self-Care Tips For Traveling

Final Thoughts

To recap, there are plenty of perks to traveling alone. You can do what you like, see what you want, and go anywhere that interests you without worrying about your travel companion’s whims.

Traveling is usually safe, but being alert and aware of your surroundings is always important. You want to have a great time on your trip and enjoy every minute while avoiding pitfalls.

With proper planning and preparation, your solo trip will likely be a defining moment. If you’ve ever considered solo travel, don’t hesitate to get out there and make it happen!

That’s all for today’s guide, hope those tips are helpful.

Thanks for reading


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Optimos Travel is a travel blog to help you travel the world, and explore different lifestyles, traditions, foods, and everything in between.