As a solo traveler, safety is something that was frequently on my mind. The media loves to play up the dangers of foreign countries because it’s what sells. After going to some of these places though, like Thailand, I realized that while being cautious is important, it’s often not as bad as the media made it seem.
Here are some safety tips while traveling alone abroad:
- Safety in numbers. This is especially true for female solo travelers. This makes you an easier target for some sleazebags and can draw unwanted attention. Travel with at least one other person at night or even better, a big group if you can find one. In our next section, we will show you how you can make friends in new areas, which will increase your chances of being and staying safe while traveling.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re in an unfamiliar area and your gut says to turn back, turn back. Even if you have to take a detour, it’s worth it to ensure your safety and health.
- Keep your valuables out of sight. If the region you’re in is slightly sketchy, it might not be such a good idea to flash your iPhone or your iPad. Hiding these items will give criminals less reason to target you.
- Store important numbers in your phone. Storing numbers like the U.S. Embassy, local police department, and your hotel/hostel in your phone will allow you to access them when you’re in a pinch.
- Makes copies of essential information. Scan and email a picture of your passport and driver’s license to yourself. Most likely you will be completely fine, but just in case you find yourself in a situation without identification, you want to be able to access these!
I have found that the best way to stay safe in foreign countries is to listen to my gut and follow common sense. Sometimes it’s easy to panic when you’re in a new place where you don’t speak the language, but by remaining calm and traveling in a group, especially at night, you will increase the chance of safety. Also, keep in mind that with foreign countries come foreign customs. Being respectful and aware of these can go a long way.