Roaming Guides

Safety and solo travel

So you’ve decided to venture out on your own, what’s next? When I started traveling solo, safety was a concern.

I didn’t want to be cornered, heckled or put in a dangerous situation abroad or the states for that matter. How would I avoid these things? While my advice isn’t a science, it works for me and will work for you too.

Paris, France from Notre Dame

Do your research

I cannot count the number of times I’ve googled “Safe places for women to travel” before choosing a destination. Look up the crime rate. Read articles about the location. Search for blogs focused solely on safety and travel.

It may sound simple, but some people never even get to this step. Traveling should not be scary. Ease your fears, and do your research.

Stay central

London, England near Tower Bridge (Copyright: WhoRoamtheWorld)

Budget matters but don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re staying far from where you want to be or in a sketchy part of town. It’s not worth it. Search for safe parts of town and best places to stay. Picking an accommodation close to transportation is also a great idea. You won’t have to walk far — especially at night — to get back to your hotel.

If you’re trying to decide between an AirBnb or hotel, my preference is a hotel. The front desk will be able to help you with any questions you might have if you’re new to the area.

Learn the language basics

Teach yourself some of the country’s basic phrases. It’ll make navigating the new place easier and if you’re in an unsafe situation, you might pick up on it a little quicker.

I’ve also found people are much more welcoming when you’ve made an effort in the native tongue.

Walk with a purpose

Brooklyn, New York (Copyright: WhoRoamtheWorld)

SO IMPORTANT. Even if you’re lost, pretend like you’re not. Act like you know exactly where you’re going. Lost travelers stick out like a sore thumb and could become a target to pickpockets. If you need to stop and figure out where you’re going, hop into a shop. Do not stand on a street corner, fidgeting with your phone looking confused.

Let technology guide you

You need two items to look like you belong in a new city: your phone and earbuds. I always route my destination into Maps before I leave the hotel, pop in the earbuds and let Siri guide. Everyone listens to music on their commute, so most will think that’s what you’re doing too. It’s a more discrete way to get from point A to point B without flashing your phone to the masses or looking lost. And in case you’re wondering, Maps will tell you which train or bus to take if you need to hop on mass transit during your commute.

Travel tip: Make sure your phone volume isn’t so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you, especially if you’re also listening to music. It’s important to be alert of your surroundings.

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  • Reply
    Laura Koons
    May 20, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Wow! What good ideas. Especially popping into a store. No one would buy the earbud thing for an over 65 couple, but we really shouldn’t be looking at maps and looking totally confused traveling not alone but as “elders.” Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Reply
      May 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks for the comment! You never know with the earbuds. I’ve seen so many different people wear them in a city. I will say airpods or wireless earbuds could be beneficial because they’re easily concealed. Your hair would hide them, even if you just had them for travel purposes. And not to over-promote Apple products, but I bought an Apple watch so I could quickly glance at it for directions. Lots of options. Thanks for reading!

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