There are of course, some basic rules that apply wherever you are when you are alone. For example, keeping in well lit areas where there are other people around and not going off the beaten track unless you are part of a tour etc. But to me, these would apply in my home town as well as overseas, just using common sense really. However, several experiences have made me want to share some other important solo travel safety tips with you…
Solo Travel Safety Tips
1. Choose your hotel carefully
This is one of my most important solo travel safety tips. Research the area your hotel is located in before you book it. Check the following points…
- Is it in a busy area? It is better to have people around when you come home at night.
- Is there local transport close to the hotel or are you happy to be dependent on taxis or walking?
- Check the crime rate of the local area if possible.
I recently stayed in quite a well known hotel chain with a 4* rating. Because of this, I didn’t consider researching its local area. On arrival, I discovered it was in an area with very little going on and quite a few characters hanging around that made me feel uncomfortable. Even though the local transport was not that far away, I would not have felt at ease walking to it alone, especially at night. I went online and discovered I wasn’t alone in feeling unsafe and several people had commented on it being an undesirable area. I decided to trust my gut instinct and move hotel.
2. Wear a wedding ring
As a solo female traveller, it is inevitable you will be approached and chatted up from time to time. If you are not comfortable with this attention, one way to reduce it, is to wear a wedding ring. Also, drop in a comment about your partner in the conversation so people don’t think you are single or travelling alone. One of my male friends recommended this to me. Good advice!!
3. Arrange Tours/Activities through your Hotel or Holiday Representative
I recently booked a tour ‘off resort’ because it was much cheaper than a similar activity I could organise through my hotel. However, after realising I was the only person on it, there was no necessary protective clothing and only one tour guide, I began to overthink about potential problems that could arise. It occurred to me that by booking a tour in this way, nobody actually knew where I was or, who I was with. This caused me a lot of unnecessary stress. With hindsight this was not a good idea as a solo traveller.
Had I booked via the hotel, the activity would have been more expensive but organised through a reputable company. I would have been able to read reviews about it online and I would have been in a group with other people, if there was a problem. The hotel would also have known where I was. Therefore, I recommend always booking a tour or activity via the hotel or a holiday representative.
4. Keep your trip off social media until you get back
Whenever we go away, we are excited to tell people about our trip. We often spread the word and are keen to post pictures on social media. But we are also drawing attention to the fact that our homes are vacant if we live alone, increasing the risk of burglary. If you still feel the need to post pictures while you’re away, just check your privacy settings. Maybe adjust the settings for the duration of your trip so that only close friends and family can see them.
5. Get a safety app for your phone
There are several apps you can now install on your mobile phone, such as Bsafe. BSafe is a personal tracker letting people know where you are and if you are in a difficult situation. You can even set it for a ‘fake’ person to call you. Read some reviews on the different apps around and see what works best for you and your solo trip. Also make sure that you contact your mobile phone provider before you go to work out the cheapest way to stay connected while you’re away.
6. Don’t tell strangers you meet that you are travelling alone
As lovely as you think the people are who you meet on your travels, be cautious. You really don’t know them too well. Try to avoid telling strangers that you are travelling alone, rather that you are on your way to meet a friend or partner. Also don’t tell them where you are staying. In a country you are unfamiliar with, you want your accommodation to be your comfort zone.
7. Arrive at your new destination in daylight if possible
Arriving in daylight gives you a chance to get a feel for where you are staying and become familiar with your surroundings and local area before it gets dark.
8. Split your cash
If there is a safe in your room, use it. Try to carry an amount of cash for what you need during the day or evening rather than bringing it all with you. Leave the rest securely in your room.
9. Organise taxis through hotels
Whenever I travel overseas, where possible I organise taxis through the hotel. Staff are likely to know and use reputable companies. If possible, arrange a time to be collected and returned. Carry the hotel and taxi firm’s number with you as well, should you need to amend the time.
10. Ask staff for information on where to go as a solo traveller
Hotel staff are keen to make sure you have an enjoyable experience in their country and like to share their knowledge. I have asked staff on occasions, where I could go as a solo traveller where I will ‘fit in’ and feel safe. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas.
11. Dress to fit in
Try to dress to blend in with others. Don’t flaunt designer clothes and flash jewellery. You could be making yourself a target for being mugged.
12. Appear Confident
If you appear confident you will look less like a tourist and more like you have a purpose, knowing where you are going to and what you’re doing.
Suggested Further Reading:
As well as the above solo travel safety tips you may be interested to read the following …
Destinations – places I have had enjoyable solo holidays
Blog – regular posts about solo travel and destinations I have been to so far.