Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

Staying safe while traveling is important for anybody male or female, but safety while traveling solo is a top priority. Below are ideas and recommendations for staying safe while traveling and living your best life.

  1. Maps – Learn to read a map. I mean an actual physical map, Indiana Jones style. I know they seem outdated but if your phone dies, you have no service, or you get hopelessly lost, knowing how to read a map and point yourself in the right direction can literally be a life saver. Keep an updated one in your car.
  2. Protection– Whether hiking alone or visiting a foreign city, having something to protect yourself and, again, knowing how to use it is important. This can be pepper spray, bear spray, a knife, firearm, or knowledge of self defense. In my experience, the scariest situations haven’t been walking up on a bobcat, or hearing a bear sniffing around my tent, it was being alone in BFE California and having two men walk up to my vehicle with ill intention. Know how to protect yourself. Verbal jiu-jitsu can be effective but always be prepared.
  3. Trust your Instincts– The feeling in your gut, the hair raise, or tingle… Always listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Learn to listen to yourself and stay out of tricky situations.
  4. Scan your documents – always have a back up copy of your ID, birth certificate, passport, etc. Email them to yourself or save in an online drop box. If your documents get lost or stolen, especially in a foreign country, it will make things a lot easier to be able to access your documents from anywhere.
  5. Have extra money– Always have extra money stored in a separate place from your wallet or purse. Have money in various accounts or cards in case a card gets lost or stolen. In my case, I was on a cross country trip from Florida to Alaska when I my card was first damaged in Yosemite (hot tip- spilled essential oil will rub the magnetic strip right off a credit card) and later I *thought* I lost a card in Alaska, luckily I had only misplaced it and found it after returning to Seattle. Having extra cash has come in handy more than once.
  6. Keep people updated – Tell somebody where you’re going and what your expected time back will be. I am not the best at this as I travel spontaneously and often change plans. However, when I’m hiking I always try to tell somebody where I’m going and for how long (we’ve all seen 127 hours).
  7. Try to limit substance use– Staying sober or only having a few drinks as opposed to going wild will keep you out of trouble. Imbibing will lower your defenses and no doubt put you in situations that you probably wouldn’t be in without some liquid courage.
  8. Be confident– Being confident can give the aura of don’t f*** with me. Confidence is key when traveling solo, for safety and having the best time.
  9. Know your limits and weaknesses– Don’t put yourself in a situation that you know you could put you in harms way i.e. don’t plan an epic hike in the desert with vertical climbs if you have no climbing experience and a bad heart or knees. I’m a huge advocate of stepping outside your comfort zone, but don’t do things you are physically incapable or unprepared to do.
  10. Research– Research where you’re going, the language, high crime areas, common scams, currency exchange, weather, wildlife, laws. Know what your getting yourself into.
  11. Be flexible– Spontaneity is a gift. Learn to be ok with deviating from the plan and being flexible when it comes to layovers, missed flights, rain, or cancellations. You’re traveling, enjoy the unexpected!

Be smart, and stay safe out there.

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