10 Tips for staying safe while Solo Traveling. (And how to give your family peace of mind.)

Solo traveling can be exciting and an adventure. It can also be a challenge. Here are some tips for staying safe while traveling on our own.

1. Create an itinerary and share it with your loved ones

This is super important for not only your safety but your family’s peace of mind. I love to travel on my own. I love the freedom of going where I want when I want but it’s important to let someone know where you’re going to be. Even if it’s just a rough schedule like “I’m going to be in London from the 1st to the 3rd and then York from the 3rd to the 8th.”, it will help to give your loved ones an idea of where you’ll be. That will go a long way not only for their peace of mind but it will also let someone know where you’ll be while traveling alone.

2. Download Safety Apps before you go

Almost everyone has a smartphone. Utilize it. There are some great apps that will help you stay safe while you’re traveling.

US State Department Smart Traveler App.

This app is great. The first thing that you see when you open the app is a list of all the countries in the world. You can search for the country you’re traveling in and see if there are any travel advisories. It also lists the addresses for Embassies and Consulates, Entry, Exit and VISA requirements, local laws, and destination descriptions. The app also provides a free service for Americans traveling abroad to enroll with the local embassy and consulates in the countries you’re traveling to so that they’re aware you are traveling in that country. A fantastic way to stay safe.

Life360

This app is great for people who have worry worts at home. Much like Google location services, you can share this app with your friends and family and it will let them know where in the world you are while you’re traveling.

American Red Cross First Aid App (Or one like it)

This is a free app that has great information on basic and advanced first aid. Everyone needs this app. Especially while traveling.

3. Know where your embassy or consulate is located.

Many people forget to do this. It’s important to know where these buildings are. Too many times when we travel we don’t think to cover our butts in case of the worst. What if you misplace your passport? What if you break a law you didn’t know you broke? What would you do? You would have to get in touch with your country’s Embassy or Consulate. Make sure you have the address and phone number available in case of an emergency.

4. Use your common sense

This is something that you sometimes wish you didn’t have to say but it needs repeating. If you’re traveling on your own you need to be aware of your surroundings. More so then when you’re traveling with others. Don’t go down alleys…at night…ever. If you go out make sure you take a cab home, don’t try to walk it.

Don’t flash your cash. Be discreet. Look like you know where you’re going and walk with confidence. If someone asks you directions, that’s a good sign.

5. Know the address of where you’re staying.

If you’re staying in a hotel, grab a business card with the address on it or if you’re staying in an apartment, make sure you write down the address and keep it on you or on your phone for the duration of your stay. Being in a new place is daunting enough without having to remember the address of where you’re staying. Make it easier on yourself and have the address handy so you can let the cab driver know where you need to go.

6. Carry an extra bit of security

There are some great products on the market that are TSA friendly and inconspicuous. I travel with a small alarm that clips onto my bag and a tactical pen. The tactical pen is great because it is a heavy-duty pen that can be used as a weapon if needed. Just having it with me gives me comfort.

7. Invest in good luggage.

Look locks can be broken. So make it harder for crooks to get to what they want, your stuff! Hard side cases are definitely more of a deterrent that soft-sided, also a hard-sided case will keep your clothes and valuables better protected from the elements.

Think about your day bag. Is it easily accessible? If so try to find an option that is better protected. Go for a day bag or wallet that has RFID. There are a lot of great options on the market for bags that are anti-theft.

8. Keep your luggage with you or keep it safely locked up.

One of my friends just returned from a trip to South America and the car he was renting was broken into and all of his belonging were taken. Unfortunately, he has left his luggage in the backseat, for everyone to see. This could’ve been avoided. If you rent a car make sure it has a trunk or an area of the car where you can store your luggage out of sight. Just because your car is locked doesn’t mean it’s safe. Don’t give anyone a reason to break into it. Think about what you have out in the car. Don’t keep anything valuable in view.

Same with where you’re staying. No matter if you’re staying in a hotel or an apartment, find a place to store your valuables. Keep your suitcase locked when you go out. I stayed in a hostel in London and I locked all my stuff in a locker before I left for the day. Everything except for my pillow, slippers, and towel. When I got back to the room all of the things I left out were missing and my bed was made up as if I had checked out. Thank goodness I left all of my important things including my suitcase locked up in the locker. I gathered all of my things and went down to the front desk. They said I wouldn’t be able to get my items that were left out until the next morning. Luckily they moved me to a private room and I got my things back the next day but I shudder to think what would have happened to my things if I didn’t have them locked up.

9. Bring an extra lock

Lock Bridge

You may not think you need it and you may not but you’ll be glad that you did. I usually travel with a padlock. Yes, it is a bit weighty but there are few things that replace the security of a combination padlock and it comes in more handy than you realize. You can use it as an extra lock on your luggage. Or you can use it to lock your bag to your seat when you’re eating alone somewhere.  If needed it can be used as a substitute for brass knuckles.

10. Stay organized

It’s super important when traveling. If you don’t have to rifle through all of your things in order to find your credit card or reservation number you’re less of a target. Keep yourself organized. Not only will it help keep you from freaking out but it also helps things run more smoothly. I always think about when I’m traveling in a busy area and I’m trying to buy something and there’s a huge line of people behind me. They don’t want to wait for you to “try” to find your money in order to pay for that water! Would you if you were trying to get something quick to eat on your lunch break and there’s someone bumbling through their purse to pay? You would get annoyed. Do yourself and those around you a favor and stay organized. If you use your credit card put it back in the same place. It will also give you peace of mind because you’ll know exactly where all your important things are.

Have fun.

These are all tips on how to stay safe while you’re traveling on your own but don’t let it distract you from the reason you’re traveling. To see the world and have fun. These tips will help you stay safe and give you and your loved ones peace of mind. What do you do to stay safe when traveling on your own? Let me know in the comments. Until next time.

 

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