a female solo traveler wit h a backpack on
Travel Hacks,  Travels

Ten Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

Traveling solo sounds a bit terrifying especially if you have never done it before. See, you have to be on your own in a strange place, in a pool of strange people; travel from a point to another by yourself and face your own perils alone. Some picture this out as a lonely or a solitary adventure. Actually, it’s in solo traveling that many have had valuable insights about life that made a 360-degree turn of their perspectives. Also, solo travelers get home with a great sense of fulfillment as they conquer the fears of something they thought have never existed. Now, if you have that fear of going out on your own due to safety issues, here are the ten safety tips for solo travelers that you need to consider.

a solo traveler sipping coffee with a backpack beside her

Why do people travel solo?

People embark on a solo adventure due to varying reasons. Among those are the following:

1. Their friends started canceling few days or in the last minute prior to their trip

While it’s fun to travel with friends, there will always be this instance that something will come up in the last minute making you the only one who would like to push through with the trip. You’re left with no choice but to be on your own.

2. To heal a broken heart or spirit

Friends do help a lot in the process of healing from being broken whatever its cause may be. So does traveling. However, there are people who would rather spend some time alone away from the familiar places and faces that bring back memories and feelings. This gives them time to think things over and explore what else in the world could make them happy and healed.

a girl with an arm up, seated at the edge of a road overlooking mountain ranges
If you’re traveling solo, don’t forget to bring a tripod for your photos. Self-timer is the key!

3. To embark on a journey of knowing one’s self

There will come a point that people would like to know more about themselves. Some would like to know what else makes them feel challenged, happy, scared, sad, angry or what they really want in life and more. To do so, they embark on a solo travel for an immersion into a whole new environment for a challenge and change. This will make them know more about themselves and what more are they capable of.

4. To gain a new perspective

It’s quite hard to gain a new perspective with the same routines in a familiar place with the same faces all over again. For self-growth, some would step out of their mundane world to experience new things for a new perspective.

a female solo traveler standing on the rocks by the beach

Tips for Solo Travelers

1. Plan ahead of time

Travel guides are your best friends as it will help you big time with the planning about the itinerary and budget for your trip. Though things may not go as planned all the time, the tendency of getting screwed up due to unpreparedness while on a trip is lesser. Going out with no plans sounds fun and exciting. However, you might not want to be caught up in a hassle situation especially if it’s your first time to go solo.

2. Read about the culture and traditions of the people in the place you will visit

Your research will tell you what to do and not to and this might include the taboos in the place that you are about to visit. This will also give you an idea on how could you deal well with people especially the locals.

3. Stay in public places especially at night

Unexpected and undesirable events might happen in broad daylight but they are more frequent at night especially when you are spotted roaming down the streets alone. Stay in public but be fully aware as well of the people around you.

4. Don’t go around telling people that you are traveling alone

You don’t know who you are meeting out there. Telling everyone that you are traveling around solo might give people an opportunity to do something unwanted. If you’re lost, say for instance, ask for directions but still look confident. Tell the people that you are meeting someone, a friend or family, in the place you’re going to.

5. Trust yourself and your instincts

You’ve got no one else to trust but yourself when you’re out there. Be confident and wise about your decisions. Of course, you can still socialize but be smart enough to discern who to confide a little of your trust into, too.

a solo traveler meeting new friends during a solo travel
Made friends with these Mexicans and French tourists during an island hopping tour in El Nido! We were on the same tour and agency during our trip.

6. Don’t hesitate to ask

More often than not, going solo means relying heavily on your interpersonal skills and intelligence. Though the internet provides an array of information to help you with, you would still have to interact with people especially the locals to make your trip easier for you. You can gain new friends from it, too! Just be smart and observant enough to know who to approach.

7. Dress appropriately

Research prior to your trip is quite necessary to know how you are supposed to dress in the place that you’ll visit. Also, refrain from dressing like a high-profile tourist especially in highly dense or crowded places if you are traveling solo. While it’s perfectly fine to slay in those outfits for your once in a lifetime trip, you might not want to draw attention from the low key shenanigans at the corners.

You might also want to read: Packing Hacks and Tips with Traveler’s Bag Raid

8. Don’t put all your valuables in one bag

You might want to put your most important belongings in a secret pocket in your jacket, a different bag or slip in some cash in your safe pocket.

a lady with a backpack on its back facing a ferry

9. Book a flight or trip that arrives in the day

It’s safer to be familiarizing yourself with the place in the day. Also, the terminals and transportation services are fully operational by that time. This gives you lesser chance of staying in public places such as the airport, a restaurant or worst, in the streets for a night just because the public transportation is not available.

10. Check your hotel accommodation prior to your trip

Book ahead of time and take a good note of its location (i.e. accessibility, safety, etc.). Maximize the use of websites such as Booking, AirBnb, Agoda and more in booking your accommodation and read the reviews well.

I learned about this one the hard way. I’m sharing with you my story about my Longest Night in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to let you know what might happen if you won’t not consider this tip.

Solo travel soon, yes?

Solo traveling is truly life-changing. It feels fun and fulfilling at the same time especially if you get home safe and whole. Thus, shall you decide to do so, might as well consider these safety tips for solo travelers.

Let us know!

These tips are based on my experience as I go backpacking around the Philippines for years. Do you have more safety tips for solo travelers to add? Let us know through your comments!

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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