Tips for keeping safe as a solo traveller

Things to do on Gili Air

Before setting off on a solo adventure, it is common to have concern for your safety. Travelling alone is certainly a scare thing to do, but is also an extremely rewarding experience that I think everyone should try at least once.

To keep safe while travelling, there are some things that I always do.

Disclaimer: In saying all of the points below, I also want to point out that not everyone is out to get you, I have met some of my best friends while travelling and have had some of the warmest welcomes by locals. You can find genuine people on the road that form an amazing part of your experience and you need to be open to this, but I also recommend erring on the side of caution in certain situations.

Tips for keeping safe as a solo traveller

Always be aware of your surroundings

Pay attention to your situation and the people around you at all times. You don’t want to be paranoid but it is really important to assess your surroundings and be aware of what is happening – which leads to the next point.

Don’t get wasted

It’s okay to have a few drinks, but getting wasted is never a good idea. You always need to be completely alert and aware of your surroundings when travelling.

Dress like a local

Dressing like a local means you will fit in and avoid drawing attention to yourself, which means you are more likely to be left along. Research a destination before you arrive so you are aware of the standard dress code.

Don’t tell people where you’re staying

No one needs to know the name of your hotel, and if you make plans to meet someone, meet at a public place.

Take a tour

If you are new to a destination and feel a little bit uncertain about jumping on a public bus and setting off on an adventure, take a tour or planned day trip. Sometimes day trips are safer but also much easier as you don’t have to worry about transferring buses or getting lost.

Don’t flaunt your cash and valuables

Showing off cash and valuables can put a target on your back. Avoid walking around with a 2000 camera in your hand and separate cash. I generally leave most of my cash and home and take only what I would need for the day, avoiding waiving around a pile of cash.

Respect other countries cultures

Be aware of the culture of the country you are entering and abide by the customs. It may be little things like avoiding eye contact and certain gestures, but by doing this you won’t draw unwanted attention or attitudes towards yourself.

Trust your instincts and learn to read situations

Again, be aware of your surroundings and if you feel even slightly uncomfortable in a situation, GET OUT. Don’t worry about appearing rude, your safety comes first and you must always trust you gut instinct.

Politeness is never more important than safety.

Avoid getting yourself into uncomfortable situations.

Where possible, avoid getting into situations that you make you feel uncomfortable. If someone asks you for a drink in the local bar and you don’t want to go, don’t. Avoid going to anyone’s house if it doesn’t feel right and don’t get into cars with random people. I also personally like to avoid going far away from my accommodation at night, so I can avoid walking alone at night and taxis.

Be cautious with Taxis

Always leave your important things with you in the taxi, not in the back. This way you have more control. Also be aware of the charging system in that country. When I was travelling in Panama I found it essential to agree on a rate before you getting into the taxi. You don’t want to have an argument with the taxi driver so be clear before you get in.

Avoid late night travel on public transport where possible

Arrange to arrive at a new location in the light of day. Not only will you feel more at ease and be able to be more aware of your surroundings but there will also be more people around, giving you a more secure feeling.

Book a few things in advance

This doesn’t mean you need to have a detailed itinerary, but having your first few days in a new destination booked in recommended. This will give you time to settle in and get a better understanding of what is acceptable and how to get around, before you start winging it.

Always tell you family at home where you plan on going and check in with them

Checking in with family at home regularly is essential, this way if you do disappear they will notice and they will know your last location (God forbid).

Want More Solo Travel Tips?

Check out these posts:

10 Facts about Solo Travel

52 Reasons why you should travel alone

10 Tips on how to make friends as a solo traveller

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11 thoughts on “Tips for keeping safe as a solo traveller

  • Amanda Koh

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I’ve always wanted to travel alone but get a little nervous just thinking about it :/ see other female Travellers traveling alone makes me a little less nervous and I might just book my first solo trip soon! 🙂

  • Brianna

    Great tips! I always like to read up on what tourist scams are common in the area. It kind of helps to know what to expect when you’re about to be ripped off. But I’m also really big on the “not getting wasted” tip. Nothing is more infuriating than when travelers say a place is dangerous because something happened when they were drunk. Odds are, if they were sober nothing would have happened.

    • atravellersfootsteps Post author

      It is always good to do your research before you arrive, and I agree being drunk can certainly make you more of a target

  • Rianne

    I love solo travel! But you are right, you definitely need to be mindful of your safety. I guess it depends on the destination and just use common sense 🙂 I’ve met some great people on my last trip! I personally like to wear a moneybelt underneath my clothes for a secure feeling. This way I always keep my cards and passport hidden on me, so in case things go wrong, it won’t be a complete nightmare!

    • atravellersfootsteps Post author

      Good point. I did that when I was travelling South America and found that is gave me peace of mind, especially on overnight bus trips