How to Stay Safe When Traveling Solo
As unfortunate as it is, too many women are too afraid to get out there and travel if they don't have a partner/spouse/travel buddy to go with. I used to be one of them - but not anymore!
I was tired of wanting to travel but never actually doing it. So finally, I shut up and went. And I haven't looked back since. So here are some of my top safety tips for all of the girls that want to get out there and see this beautiful world we live in.
1. Never look lost.
This is especially important if you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been to before. Obviously, you aren’t going to know exactly where everything is, even if you do plan ahead - but it’s super important not to come off as nervous, lost, confused, etc. This will make you an easy target real quick.
Even if you are lost and need to look up directions to your destination on your phone, my advice to you is just to remain calm, and swerve ya booty into the nearest little shop or café (ideally with free WiFi, but we won’t be picky in this hypothetical). This way, you can take a quick breather, collect yourself, and get all of the information you need so you can head back out, keep your head up, and walk with a purpose (a.k.a. without staring at the little blue dot on your Apple Maps app as you’re walking). Do this, and you’ll probably look like just another local - or, if nothing else, you’ll at least look exponentially more confident than before.
2. Don’t get wasted.
I hate to break it to you, but if you’re going somewhere alone, getting drunk is not going to be a great choice. You definitely are going to want to be able to stay alert and aware of your surroundings so that if something sketchy does go down, you’ll be able to pick up on it and get out of there. One or two drinks I’d say is okay (depending on your own typical alcohol consumption and tolerance), but as a rule of thumb, you’re gonna want to lay off the shots for the night. Sorry!
3. Make friends with your bartender.
Sticking with the theme of going out drinking - try to chat up the bartender, server, hostess, etc. They’ll be your lifeline if you do end up needing someone to bail you out of a situation you don’t want to be in, and will be way more likely to help you out if you’re genuine and friendly towards them. That random creep trying to buy you a fruity cocktail you don’t want won’t stand a chance against your new bartender bestie!
4. Stay alert and attentive.
This sort of goes hand in hand with #1, but in general, you always want to be aware of your surroundings. Are you walking alone at night? Probably don’t wear headphones then. Taking public transportation? Hold your bag in your lap and keep an eye on your personal belongings. And yes, it’s 100% true that not everyone is bad, and just because you decide to take the subway somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll automatically get pickpocketed or your bag will get snatched. But when it comes to your safety, you really can never be cautious enough.
P.S. If you’re walking with a backpack, please do me a favor and don’t walk with it strapped on to your front side. Yes, I know the argument is that you can keep a better eye on your stuff if it’s in front of you rather than behind you, and I hear you. But honestly, you’re making yourself more of a target by looking out of place and touristy. Not to mention it just looks weird. If you’re really that worried, just carry a tote or a crossbody bag instead.
5. Have fun - it’s not as dangerous as you think.
Do you want the real truth about being alone in a city you’ve never been to before? It’s really not that dangerous. Everyone always thinks that solo travel is so dangerous. I’m not going to lie, your first solo trip is fairly scary just with all of the unknown ahead of you - but honestly, flying solo in a new city is just about the same amount of dangerous as going somewhere by yourself in your hometown. Yes, you still need to be cautious, but just because you’re a bit further away from home than normal doesn’t mean that all of the sudden there’s a huge target on your back. Bad things can happen in any city. As long as you’re smart about things (and follow these tips!), I promise, you will be fine. More than that, you’ll have a great time, experience new things, and maybe learn some more about yourself along the way.
Have fun out there!
Emily is a 20something college grad from Buffalo, New York. She is currently learning French and American Sign Language, dreaming of traveling the world, and writing about all things life, travel, and whatever else might strike her with inspiration. Keep up with Emily on Instagram at @emily_malkowski or at emilymalkowski.com.
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