Planning a trip by yourself? Stay safe with these six tips for traveling alone.
- Do your research
- Stick to busy areas
- Share your itinerary
- Be aware of scams
- Stay connected
- Use common sense
You might be considering a solo trip for a variety of reasons. Maybe you like the idea of exploring the world on your own. Maybe no one else is available to come. Or maybe you simply have to go alone for work.
Whatever your reason, it's important to prepare for your trip in a way that will ensure your safety. The following are six solo travel tips that will keep you safe as you experience exciting new destinations.
Do your research
You probably research your destination any time you're planning a trip, but you should be extra diligent when you're traveling alone. Before embarking on your travels, AARP recommends looking up the following information1:
- Is harassment an issue in the area? What can you do to prevent it?
- What are the local customs and etiquette, especially when it comes to appropriate attire?
- What neighborhoods should you avoid? Does this change at night?
- What's the local number to call during an emergency?
If you're traveling internationally, you'll want to learn key phrases in the local language—how to ask if someone speaks English, how to ask for help, etc. You'll also feel more comfortable in your surroundings if you know the lay of the land before your trip, using maps and guides.
Stick to busy areas
Many people hype up "discovering hidden gems" when traveling, but when you're alone, most experts agree that it's best to stick to busy areas. This way, help is nearby if you get into a sticky situation.
Where you choose to stay can also be an important safety factor. "[Your] hotel should be near good public transportation because you want to be in an area that's busy, not remote," Suzanne Randolph, CEO of the Alix Experience, tells The New York Times.2 Randolph also recommends choosing smaller, boutique hotels, as it's easier to develop a relationship with staff members who can provide you with directions and valuable insight about the area.
Share your itinerary
Do you need to have an hour-by-hour breakdown of what you're going to do each day? No. But you should have a rough itinerary of where you'll be throughout your trip?
If you're going to be taking day trips or visiting sites, it's best to schedule these outings and let someone know where you're going. If your plans change—which they're bound to at some point—simply shoot your loved ones an updated itinerary. It's a small step that can make a big difference.
Be aware of common scams
No matter where you're traveling, whether it's internationally or just a few states away, you could potentially be the target of a scam. Tourists—especially those traveling alone—are prime targets, so you should research common ploys before your trip.
Business Insider highlights a few of the most common scams to look out for:3
- Non-reputable currency exchange
- Taxis not using a meter
- Accepting gifts from strangers
Be cognizant of these and other scams so that you know how to protect yourself.
Modern technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family as you travel alone. For example, iPhone users have the option to share their location with contacts, so your loved ones can keep tabs on your whereabouts as you explore.
Another option is a service like ADT Go, which allows you to share your location when traveling domestically and even contact emergency services with one touch.
Common sense is the best defense
It may seem obvious, but one of the biggest solo travel tips is to simply use common sense. A few common sense tips from Solo Traveler that bear repeating include4:
- Schedule your arrival before nightfall.
- Don't flash expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of money.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, remove yourself from the situation.
While many people use vacation as a time to relax and have fun, it's a good idea to stay sober while traveling alone. Minimize your alcohol consumption, and be sure to stay hydrated and well-fed to ensure you stay in good health.
Stay safe and enjoy the experience
Traveling alone can be daunting, but many people say it's an unbeatable experience—getting to see the world through your own eyes without the influence of travel companions. It's normal to be a little nervous, which is why advanced preparation is key.
If you follow these tips for traveling alone, you'll feel safe as you explore all the sights and sounds that the world has to offer.
1. Flippin, Alexis. "7 Safety Tips for Traveling Alone." AARP. August 1, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-09-2012/single-trip-safety-tips-theft.html
2. Vora, Shivani. "Tips for Women Traveling Solo, From Dining Out to Hotel Safety." The New York Times. August 07, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/travel/solo-travel-women.html
3. Abadi, Mark. "Tourists Make Easy Marks - Here Are 9 of the Most Common Scams to Watch out for on Your Travels." Business Insider. March 28, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018. http://www.businessinsider.com/travel-scam-around-the-world-2018-3
4. Waugh, Janice. "Solo Travel Safety Part I: 20 Common Sense Tips." Solo Traveler. April 24, 2018. Accessed May 23, 2018. https://solotravelerworld.com/solo-travel-safety-part-common-sense/