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Six tips for safe solo travel

Traveling with friends and family can be a bonding experience. You can get to know one another and discover new things together. However, taking a trip by yourself can help you learn more about and connect with someone else who is important: You.

Traveling solo can sound daunting, but people say it’s worth it. It can help you build self-confidence and is an opportunity for self-care. Perhaps that’s why 76% of people reported that they had either traveled solo in the past or would consider it in one recent survey.

Though taking a trip by yourself can be rewarding, you won’t have a travel buddy to watch your back. That doesn’t mean you should travel afraid. Keeping a few precautions in mind can empower you to feel safe. Here’s how to maintain safety while traveling alone.

a solo traveler approaching Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, Agra in India
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Remain (at least somewhat) connected

Vacations are the perfect excuse to unplug. While you shouldn’t pack your work email in your carry-on, you don’t want to completely disconnect when traveling alone. Before you leave, give at least one person you trust your itinerary information, including the addresses, emails, and phone numbers for all the hotels or residences where you’ll be staying. This way, if someone is worried about you or you lose your phone, they know who to call to make sure everything is OK. You should also schedule regular check-ins, perhaps once per day at the same time.

Stay sober

A glass of wine at a solo dinner is probably fine (depending on your tolerance), but you don’t want to go overboard. Alcohol and other substances can cloud your judgment or leave you vulnerable to others taking advantage of. These situations can get especially dangerous when you’re traveling by yourself and don’t have someone to help take care of you if you have one too many. Limit your alcohol intake and focus on other ways to have fun and relax, like the delicious taste of the local cuisine.

Choose group tours

Solo travel doesn’t mean you have to be alone all the time. Group tours are a popular and often budget-friendly way to see notable local attractions. When you take a group tour, other tourists will be able to raise any red flags (or let you know your backpack needs zipping). As a bonus, it’s a way to talk to and learn from new people you may never have gotten to meet if you were traveling with someone else. Sites like Viator, TripAdvisor, and Expedia make booking group expeditions a cinch.

Keep your boundaries

While you want to be friendly and may wish to get to know the locals, it’s good to have your guard up. Sometimes, people will try to peddle something or engage you in a conversation while actually picking your pocket. It’s OK to say no thank you and keep moving or ask someone to please leave you alone.

a happy woman in paris
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Separate cash and valuables

It’s a massive bummer when you lose your wallet and phone while on vacation. However, you can borrow someone else’s when you are traveling with a friend or family member. You don’t have the same luxury when traveling alone. Consider bringing two phones or a “decoy phone” to throw off potential pickpocketers. Put cash in two separate areas, such as a zipped front pocket of your backpack and a separate bag or your pocket. If you can avoid bringing certain valuables, like an expensive and sentimental necklace, do so. It’s not worth losing it or attracting unwanted attention.

Blend in

Looking at a map or not knowing where you’re going is a signal to others that you are a tourist. Try to read up on where to go so you can exude confidence and look like you’ve lived in a certain spot your whole life. By the same token, dress like a local. If people wear religious headwear, consider doing the same. Keep shoulders covered if that’s a custom in the area or the attraction you are visiting, such as a church.

Traveling solo is a fun and memorable experience. That said, you’ll want to exercise some extra safety while traveling alone because you won’t have anyone else to look out for you. Make sure someone back home knows where you are, including your lodging arrangements, and check in with them often. Remain sober and aware of your surroundings. On group tours, you and fellow travelers can look out for one another (and mingle). Leave sentimental items at home when you can, particularly expensive ones. Try to blend in by walking with confidence and adhering to local guidelines, and trust your gut. If something feels off, it’s OK to remove yourself from the situation.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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BethAnn Mayer
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