I often get asked, “aren’t you afraid?” when I tell people that I travel alone. The quick answer is… yes, I do have fear when I travel alone. As time goes on and I go on more solo vacations, I learn more about how to travel safely without (too much) worry.
Hopefully, I put together this list to better help anyone who may have some fears about traveling alone or preparing you for your next solo vacation better.
1. Be Cautious
I know that may be the last thing you want to hear, but yes, you should have a little fear about traveling somewhere by yourself. This will keep you aware of your surroundings and more vigilant when wandering around a new area.
A way to give yourself peace of mind is to invest in either a whistle, an alarm key chain, or an app on your phone (such as Noonlight) that alerts the local authorities of your location. Most importantly, trust your gut when you have an uneasy feeling about a situation or person.
If someone approaches you that makes you feel uncomfortable, say “NO” clearly or pretend not to understand them. Put on a brave face and use confidence in your voice when speaking to someone. If you need to make a scene, make a scene. Your concern is your safety. Do whatever you need to do to get out of an uncomfortable situation.
If you do find yourself being followed or harassed by someone, my suggestion is to find a family or a group of approachable people and pretend as you know them. Quickly tell them the situation you are in, and most likely, they will go along with it until it is safe for you to go back to being on your own.
If nobody is around, then it would be a good time to utilize your whistle, alarm keychain, or the phone app I recommended above.
Act Like a Local
GPS on our phone is a traveler’s best friend but can also be a tell-tale sign of being a tourist or, worse… a lost tourist. If and when you need to use your GPS, do so discreetly. Take a moment and stop into a shop to glance at your phone rather than the middle of a sidewalk. If you have a smartwatch, you can have your directions transmitted onto your wrist, making it less obvious.
Know Your Limits
I get it; we all want to have a good time while on vacation, but you need to take care of your own welfare when you travel solo. Knowing your limits when it comes to alcohol consumption is critical. Have a few drinks if you’d like; just know the difference between tipsy verse drunk. You should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, as a side note: Be conscious of where you place your drink, never leave a drink unattended, and advise you not to accept drinks from random people at the bar.
Before any trip I take, I provide my family with my flight and hotel information, plus the names of the tours or excursions I booked. It only takes a second to send a text to let them know you are OK throughout the day and are back in your room safely at the end of the day.
I also recommend location sharing apps/features on your phone and sharing the data with loved ones. “Find my Friends,” “Life360 Family Locator,” and the location sharing feature on iPhone are all apps I have utilized.
Leave the headphones in your hotel room. I do not suggest walking around by yourself with headphones on as it can prevent you from being aware of your surroundings and can make you an easy target for theft (or worse). Texting and having your eyes locked onto your phone is also extremely distracting, along with causing you to miss the moments happening around you.
Stay aware, trust your instincts, and be accounted for are the biggest takeaways of traveling alone safely.
Do you have any safety tips for traveling solo? Please share in the comment section below.