Traveling solo can be an amazing experience, but it’s important to take precautions to help keep yourself safe.
1. Keep Regular Contact with Family and Friends
Someone needs to know when you're traveling and where you’ll be to ensure your safety throughout the trip. Make sure to check in regularly and consider leaving your itinerary with someone in case an emergency does arise.
Image: Atikh Bana | Unsplash
2. Do Your Research
Before your trip, learn as much about the area as possible, so you can know what could be considered “safe” and “unsafe” areas. Utilize online travel blogs and social media and ask hotel staff for advice. The hotel staff deals with travelers every day. They’ll know exactly where you should and shouldn’t go, and as locals, they can point you in the direction of the best food and drinks.
Another part of your research should include writing down the location of nearby hospitals and police stations. If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you also know the area’s equivalent to 911.
3. Travel with an Imaginary Person
Whether it be a friend, significant other, or spouse, this is a good way to deter creepy people who might otherwise bother you. You can even consider wearing a fake ring.
4. Don’t Overshare
Save the social media posts for after you leave the location. You never know if someone with ill-intent is watching your location tags. Additionally, when you meet new people, keep personal information like where you’re staying to yourself.
SABRE Jeweled Pepper Spray
5. Carry a Personal Safety Product
You never know whom you can encounter, and it’s better to be over-prepared than not prepared at all. Whether you carry an extremely loud personal safety alarm that will call attention to you or a pepper spray or pepper gel that can help you defend yourself against an attacker, a personal safety tool will help keep you safe and help you feel empowered throughout your travels.
6. Have a Hard Target Mindset
Try to blend in and avoid looking like a tourist. Criminals look for soft targets or vulnerable-looking individuals who are walking with their heads down, look lost, or are walking alone. Becoming a hard target decreases your vulnerability. Practice having relaxed awareness by knowing what is happening around you so you can prepare to defend yourself if needed.
Image: Clarisse Meyer | Unsplash
7. Make Copies of Important Documents
You never know when you’ll need a copy of your passport or driver’s license, but you also don’t want to carry these documents around with you everywhere. A copy will come in handy in case they get lost or stolen, and don’t forget to email yourself a copy, too.
8. Leave the Valuables at Home
Tourists are already a target for criminals, and flashy jewelry, watches, and bags will draw even more unwanted attention. You won’t miss your diamonds or designer wear when you’re visiting a place you’ve dreamed of seeing.
9. Secure Your Stay
Ask your Airbnb host to change the lock code or the hotel concierge to write down your room number instead of saying it out loud to be sure no one overhears which room you’re staying in.
Take your safety further by packing a portable home security alarm like the Door Stop Alarm or the Door Handle Alarm. These devices will easily fit in your suitcase and sound an ear-piercing alarm if someone attempts to enter a room uninvited.
SABRE Door Stop Alarm
10. Protect Your Finances
Notify your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling to prevent unwanted fraud alerts. If traveling internationally, this will make it easier to withdraw money in the local currency rather than waiting at a cash exchange. You’ll get better exchange rates with a local ATM, plus standing in line at a money exchange points to signs that you’re a tourist.
Lastly, remember to trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. Don't trust every nice person you meet.
While pepper spray is legal in all 50 states to carry and use for personal protection, some states, localities and countries have specific regulations and restrictions. Be sure to consult the rules and regulations where you’ll be traveling.
To learn more about safely traveling alone, visit sabrered.com/travel.