Find Pt. 1 here. Solo traveling is one of my favorite things on the planet. I’ve sung its praises a million times before (and will do so again): it’s immensely empowering, invigorating, liberating, and such a great self-growth journey. But the number one fear I’ve heard from others is about safety. Understandably, women are afraid to travel solo. I’m not in any way, shape, or form saying that’s an unfounded fear, but I AM saying I’ve done it safely for 15 years and there are plenty of safeguards you can put in place to dramatically reduce your risk of being a victim of crime. Here are some more safety rules of thumb to abide by when traveling alone:
1. Never tell strangers you’re traveling alone
And that goes for social media, too!! Do not tag where you currently are or where you’re staying until after you’ve moved on from that place. I always pretend my husband is with me, like in the bathroom or the car, and ask for two keys when I check into hotels.
2. Research Your Destination
Do some basic research on the crime and safety rates for the destination you’ll be in, but don’t dig too deep or you’re just going to freak yourself out. Don’t get lost in the weeds or fear-mongering of crime stories because you can find those ANYWHERE – even for your own neighborhood/hometown! But it’s worth knowing basic info like local customs, cultural norms, the notorious neighborhoods to avoid, and whether there are specific restrictions for women (keep in mind this is typically in Middle Eastern and Eastern locations, not so much in the Western world.)
3. Choose Accommodations Wisely
Research and choose reputable accommodations in safe neighborhoods before traveling alone. I always read reviews and specifically look for how safe other guests felt, whether it’s as a hotel, hostel, or AirBnB. And side note: don’t be afraid of hostels! They’re actually my absolute favorite place to stay when I travel. I have relied on and trusted HostelWorld.com for over a decade!
4. Pack Light, Pack Smart
Pack efficiently and avoid carrying unnecessary items when traveling alone. You’re less of a target if you can easily carry and move with your stuff (standing on the street with a giant Prada suitcase puts a big red target on your back in many places.) You don’t need to bring backpacks only, just make sure you’re nimble with whatever you do bring and have control over it at all times.
5. Dress Modestly
I’m not trying to be your grandma, but I AM saying you should respect local customs and dress modestly, especially in conservative areas. Blend in with the local clothing style to avoid unwanted attention.
6. Use Reliable Transportation
Many airports have signage outside about not taking unauthorized cabs/rideshares. Choose reliable and registered transportation options, like Uber, Lyft, the official hotel and airport shuttles, and licensed taxis. Do a little preliminary research on the public transportation system – I have never NOT used public transport anywhere I’ve traveled, but I have definitely avoided subways/trams after dark if I’m by myself. Again, this goes back to constant vigilance and not flashing expensive items. The less of an obvious target you are, the less likely you are to run into trouble.
7. Stay Connected
Have a working phone with local and emergency numbers when traveling alone. Consider getting a local SIM card or an international phone plan to stay connected – they even have e-sims you can use temporarily!
8. Carry Personal Safety Items
It’s never a bad idea to carry safety items like a whistle, personal alarm, or self-defense tool (if that’s legally allowed) if you know how to use them when you’re traveling alone. I also highly recommend doing some basic self-defense training like krav maga – even if you’re not traveling!
9. Carry Travel Insurance
Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings. My favorite is World Nomads!
*Disclaimer: I make a small commission if you book through the links provided in this email. That said, I only share the travel resources I fully support and use myself!