Solo travel safety at your destination… Finally! You’ve planned, prepared, and packed. And you’ve arrived, feeling confident and ready to explore.
Just a few bits of advice before you leave your hotel:
- Get the business card of your hotel and keep it with you. If you get lost–one of the fun parts of travel–you can show it to a taxi driver, shopkeeper, or police officer. They can point you in the right direction.
- Likewise, carry a map. Ask the hotel desk clerk to mark the hotel, local landmarks or attractions, and nearest metro/bus stop, to help you keep your bearings.
- Your money is safely stashed in several places, right? Enough for the day that you can easily access, and extra cash plus credit cards in a different secure spot.
- Know the common scams and cons for the place you’re visiting. Don’t be first to offer assistance to someone who may be (or NOT) in distress. Be alert for scuffles or sudden activity that are meant to distract you while pickpockets go through your belongings.
- Add the hotel’s phone number and the local emergency number to your phone.
When you’re out…
- Allow time to learn the public transportation system. Your hotel/hostel/host can provide maps and a quick explanation. Part of the fun of travel is to be with locals, to share their everyday experience. Watch them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The world is full of helpful people. After all, you would do the same for a visitor, wouldn’t you?
- Blend in. Okay, this is an impossible request. A wise guide from Italy told me “We always know who the tourists are.” Still…be respectful. Dress in a conservative style, don’t flash wealth, and don’t offend local culture. Need more? Read my post about Americans Abroad for some real-life examples.
- Stay in public. Again, I advocate for wandering. That’s where the good stuff is. Yet, if you find yourself in a place that seems odd or seedy, time to get out. Trust your instincts. Remain confident and retrace your steps.
- Remain sober. It’s tempting to take advantage of cheap wine or beer prices and mid-day or dinner deals with “wine included,” but pace yourself. Many countries include alcohol as part of a meal. Locals sometimes stop for short break during the day. This is not “Spring Break in the USA” where the objective is to get blasted. As a solo traveler, you must remain alert, even in safe situations.
- Watch your phone. Every time you pull out your phone, you’re tempting a petty thief. When you place it on the table while you eat, it’s easy for someone to snatch and run. No one wants the hassle of replacing a phone in a different city or country, not to mention all the lost data.
Take a break…
Travel is exhausting. Take a “vacation from your vacation” by giving yourself a day off from intense sightseeing. Sleep late, linger at a cafe, or do something for just a few hours, such as taking a cooking class or walking tour. Don’t feel as if you need to make the most of every single minute. Embrace serendipity. Need some suggestions? (NOTE: I receive no compensation from these sources.)
- Viator: Viator is an extension of TripAdvisor.com. I’ve used Viator for places that I am unfamiliar with, and have never been disappointed. It’s easy to visit the site and register for a local tour. These are tours/walks that I would not have found on my own.
- GetYourGuide: Having just endorsed Viator, GetYourGuide provided me with the best-ever tour of Naples street markets. Over four hours of stops at local vendors, plus great history. If Viator doesn’t have what you’re looking for, jump to this site.
- Groupon: Enter any city and Groupon has a deal. I adore Groupon. Check out the deals wherever you go; Groupon is in 48 countries. My only gripe: These places offer discounts, and then Groupon takes 50%. Go ahead and scoop up the deals…but tip lavishly.
- While it’s great to chat with people, don’t offer too much information, such as where you’re staying or what your schedule is. Be friendly and polite, but also be prudent.
- Get plenty of sleep. Travel is tiring and some people have a difficult time sleeping in a new place. Find out what works for you: earplugs, sleep mask, melatonin, or a prescription drug. Adequate rest is important for lots of reasons, so don’t skimp.
- Walk with confidence. Because you’re so well prepared, this should be easy!
Solo travel safety becomes a natural part of going anywhere. When you include it from the day you decide to go somewhere, you’re giving yourself a boost in security that comes from layers of planning. Now, get out there and have fun!
Want to read the entire series of Solo Travel Safety?