For those who frequently travel, taking a trek on your own offers a new level of foreign freedom.
This eliminates all discussions for where to eat, what sights to see and how to spend down time.
But, what you gain in freedom, you may give up in feeling safe during that solo international trip.
The stories are unfortunately far too common. Whether it’s in the form of assault, verbal abuse or some other violent act. There are many reports of independent travelers facing dangers around the world.
This is not to say that people should avoid traveling. Only that to ensure a safer trip, you might want to take some extra precautions.
Know Where You’re Traveling
Some areas of the world are more dangerous than others. Even countries often frequented by tourists, like India and Brazil, pose serious risk to foreigners.
This is why some research before a trip is crucial. Rather than going in unaware of dangerous spots, check what parts of a country are notorious for crime.
With a population of 12 million people, Mumbai is one of India’s most visited cities. This brings pickpockets and other criminals looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Locals recommend that tourists avoid skywalks and subways, especially those women traveling alone.
Places like Mysore and Shimla are renowned for safer experiences. These cities boast well-lit streets filled around the clock with people, creating far less lonely travel.
Just because a country is considered safe or dangerous doesn’t mean every city is. Researching specific cities can keep you safe and also open to locations that may otherwise be ignored.
Find A Safe Place to Stay
Even if your schedule is packed morning to night with activities, you’ll need some place to rest during a trip. Unless you intend to sleep with one eye open, that place should be relaxing and crime-free.
Reviews from Yelp and travel sites can also provide personal testimonials of a hotel’s safety.
With travel marketplaces like Airbnb increasing in popularity, there’s plenty of viable options.
Although these companies have safety standards, it’s still hard to know what you’re getting when renting a stranger’s apartment.
If you choose to go this route, take advantage of all reviews and testimonials available. You can even request verification of profiles to ensure the offer is legitimate.
These companies can even work in your favor, as you can set up a communication with the host. This can provide up-to-date ideas of what areas, times and activities are safe.
Once at your international lodging, you can then handle the situation or use what’s given to improve the security:
- Keep your luggage next to your side until it’s locked safely in the room
- Try not to stay on the first floor whenever possible
- Lock important items in a safe when they are not needed
- Use a door wedge, even if the room has many locks on the door
- Use the do not disturb sign. Burglars are less likely to break in if they think the room is occupied
Have An Itinerary
It’s a time-consuming process to pull out a map or a phone and check for directions. This is all the worse if you’re standing alone in a foreign place.
Pickpocket and theft stories consistently involve lost tourists trying to get their bearings.
Whether it was made weeks or hours ahead, having a plan alleviates much of the pressure when navigating any city.
You will be moving from place to place without a confused or worried look while searching through a city. This allows you to blend in with the area’s locals and look like less of a target for dangerous activity.
Planning out your day can also inform you of what is needed on your person to get around at that time.
If you only need so much cash or can leave identification behind, it’s wise to have those locked up in the room.
An itinerary can also help friends and family keep track of you from back home. This may seem counterproductive while taking a solo trip, but it’s just another way to stay safe. Regular calls or texts to another person can be act as an alert if something goes wrong.
If you want some friendly help a bit closer to your location, contacting the nearby U.S. Embassy can ease some fears. The best way to do this is by using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
STEP will alert you of any emergency situations in the area such as natural disasters or civil unrest. STEP will even notify of family emergencies if your family is struggling to make contact.
Trying to stay safe and healthy during an international solo adventure? Passport Health can help! Call us at or book an appointment online.