How solo travelers can stay safe while traveling abroad (or anywhere)

We could name a thousand reasons why traveling alone is one of the most rewarding experiences you can treat yourself to. Or why going on a solo journey to a new destination is one of the best gifts you could ever get.

With a big, beautiful, and sometimes downright scary world waiting for you to explore, you should arm yourself with key safety guidelines before heading off on any adventure. Such tips will not only help you protect yourself but also ensure that you have the smoothest and most comfortable traveling experience possible.

Worry not, we’re here to help. Keep on reading and you’ll learn all you need to know about staying safe whenever and wherever your feet take you!

When You’re A Tourist, Don’t Look Like A Tourist!

Couple in Havana, Cuba.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

Though this may not always be possible depending on where you are from and where you are going, you’ll almost always be better off if you look like you know what you’re doing. Aim to blend in with the locals and act like you’re one of them.

Before setting off, learn about the culture, the people, and the place you’re visiting. This will help you fit in better and avoid unwanted attention. From the clothes you wear to the way you speak, your every action plays a role in how you’re perceived by others.

Pro tip: If possible, travel light. Avoid oversized backpacks and similar cliché items that make tourists stand out.

Keep Your Cash In Different Places

Hiding Money in a sock.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa

We’ve all heard stories of people keeping their cash in dirty socks, haven’t we? And while this may seem gross and unreasonable, these crafty individuals actually have a good point.

As a rule of thumb, you should never carry all of your cash in one place. If you lose it, or it gets stolen, you’ll be left with nothing to cover your expenses such as food and fares. Moreover, your trip could come to a premature end should you have no other source of financial sustenance. Always put your cash in different places such as hidden pockets, hidden wallets, and… well socks. Never put money in your checked baggage.

Pro tip: When out and about, keep your cash concealed and close to your body at all times. Invest in a travel wallet that will keep your money, credit cards, and passport safe.

Stay Vigilant Of Your Surroundings

Pickpocket at subway
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

Most of the time, you’ll probably have nothing to worry about. But when you’re on the go, it’s always smart to keep an eye on your surroundings.

Don’t wander off into empty alleys. Follow your gut and stay away from places and people that feel shady. And at all costs, don’t follow anyone who asks you to do so.

You should also pay attention to other things such as traffic and the weather. If you’re going to a different country or an entirely different continent, things will likely be much different than in your place. Observe. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Take VERY Good Care Of Your Passport

Woman holding passport & boarding pass
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jsnow my wolrd

The passport is your most important document when you’re traveling, and losing it could cause serious problems hindering your return home. Always keep the passport safe and avoid putting it in pockets, backpacks, purses, luggage, or other places it could be pickpocketed from.

Pro tip: Make several copies of your passport’s bio page and visa information pages. Keep these copies in different places as backup in case you lose the original document.

Avoid Bringing Valuables With You

Woman sitting on luggage.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Duet PandG

The first part of this tip begins at your home. If possible, leave your expensive jewelry and gadgets at home. The less you bring, the less you’ll have to worry about.

The second part ensues after you’ve reached your destination. If you have a safe place to store your belongings, refrain from bringing everything you possess with you on your daily tours.

Needless to say, a show of wealth may attract unwanted attention and with it potential thieves.

Don’t Share Too Much On Social Media

Woman on a phone
Image Credit: Shutterstock /

When you’re traveling, you might be tempted to post frequent pictures and updates of your escapades on social media. But we ask you to reconsider and pause until your trip is over.

Oversharing – especially when it comes to your exact location – can lead to serious safety issues. If your social media profiles are public, your private info could end up in the hands of predators.

Pro tip: Share pictures of your adventures after you’ve already moved to your next destination.

Speaking of sharing, there are definitely some people you should let know of your whereabouts. Inform someone close to you about your planned activities and the location of your stay and keep them updated throughout your journey. This way, they’ll know something went wrong if you stop checking in and will be able to send help your way.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance documents
Image credit: Shutterstock / REDPIXEL.PL

This goes for all travelers, but there’s no shame in mentioning it.
The idea is simple. Get travel insurance with good medical coverage before setting off on your travels. Sadly, you never know when you might run into health problems as a result of an accident or natural circumstances. Stories of tourists getting stranded abroad due to unpaid medical expenses are all too common.

Dress Modestly, But Be Confident!

Woman in a city
Image Credit: Shutterstock / creativemarc

Dress to impress! But not this time…

When you’re traveling into the unknown, you don’t want to be overdressed for the occasion as it will only make you stand out. At the same time, exhibit confidence in your actions and decisions. If you find yourself lost, or if you’re unsure how to do something, try not to look like you have no clue what to do next. Rather than standing in the middle of a street pondering what your next steps should be, look for a safe space to stop and clear your head before moving on.

Pro tip: Make sure you have offline maps readily available on your phone. Even better, invest in a local SIM and get enough prepaid data to access the internet at any time.

Do Your Research

Man on a laptop.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / baranq

Staying informed is one of the best ways to stay safe regardless of where you travel and whom you travel with. Plan your trip well and answer vital questions such as:

What will I do during my trip?
What should I avoid doing?
How will I get around?
Which places should I avoid?
Where will I be staying?

Pro tip: Since emergency contacts vary from country to country, make sure you’ve got the right numbers readily available on speed dial.

Don’t Trust Strangers-Turned-Solicitors

Women on a subway
Image Credit: Shutterstock / BearFotos

Last but not least, you should never be swayed by smooth words especially when you find yourself all alone in another country. Do not trust strangers, however nice they may seem, especially if their offers seem too good to be true. Ever heard of deceptive street hustlers in Paris? Or unofficial taxi cabs at JFK airport? How about the Beijing tea house scams?

While millions of people around the world make an honest living out of tourism, so-called tourist traps can be found in all major traveling destinations around the globe with organized criminals taking advantage of unsuspecting visitors.


A hiker looking at a mountain.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sotnikov Misha

There are countless upsides to exploring the world alone with no one to slow you down or hinder your progress. With great rewards, however, come certain challenges that solo travelers often encounter while traversing into the unknown.

Fortunately, you now better understand how to stay safe on your trips and recognize the red flags you should look out for. From keeping your cash dispersed to acting like a local to staying vigilant around strangers, there are many ways you can ensure safety on your next trip. With that being said, it’s high time you start planning your next adventure and packing your bags!

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

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