Don’t let anxiety or fear of the unknown prevent you from travelling alone. Travelling solo can be one of the most life-changing and rewarding experiences of your life. You will quickly challenge your comfort zone, grow your confidence and independence, make new friends, and amazing memories.
Of course, solo travel requires you to be vigilant and attentive, but don’t worry, we are here to give you great tips on how to stay safe while travelling alone! Whether you’re a beginner or experienced solo traveller, everyone can benefit from this advice.
Prevention comes first.
Set yourself up for safety before you travel. Think about what problems could arise and understand how you could manage them. Hopefully, you won’t have to face any dangerous challenges, but no amount of prevention is a guarantee of safety as accidents can happen! Like all backpackers, you need to have a solid plan, always be aware of your surroundings, make educated choices, and follow our safety tips for travelling alone.
6 Safety Things to Do Before You Go Travelling Alone
1. Research your destinations
Research is so important. You should know where the unsafe areas are of the cities you are planning to visit, so you can avoid them when planning your days.
Go on your local travel healthcare website to make sure you have all the needed vaccinations. This will help avoid major health risks while travelling, and, in fact, some countries don’t let you enter without proof of having certain vaccinations.
Another crucial thing is to educate yourself on local currencies of the places you will be backpacking in. Know the exchange rates and where you should avoid purchasing things; you could end up paying more for something that’s cheaper elsewhere.
2. Have accommodation and transport sorted for when you arrive
This one’s not only a great safety measure, but also a major convenience. You will most likely be very tired, jet lagged and overwhelmed when you arrive. The last thing you want to be thinking about is trying to find accommodation and transport for your first night.
If this is your first time ever travelling or your first ever solo trip, we recommend finding a trusted travel agency or hostel accommodation provider ( like HostelPass ;), that specialise in student travel and trips for backpackers. Booking your hostel via a trusted source will ensure safety and quality.
3. Schedule your arrival during daylight hours (if possible)
Anywhere can be intimidating at night. You don’t want to arrive in a new place and have to navigate your way to your accommodation after dark, on your own. If possible, make sure you arrive in the morning or during daylight hours, for a much less daunting experience.
4. Buy travel insurance
This one is probably the number one thing EVERY type of backpacker needs to sort out before travelling, solo or in a group. While travelling alone, you want to make sure that you always have enough money with you, but if any sort of accident happens, you can rely on your travel insurance to cover it all.
5. Share your itinerary with someone at home & keep in touch
Before leaving, you should share your travel plans with family and/or friends. They should know your flight and accommodation details; even a rough idea of your plans is better than nothing!
Keep in touch with your closest family or friends while you are travelling. They will be very happy to hear that you are safe and interested in what you are getting up to on your adventures. All HostelPass partner hostels have fast, free WiFi, so you can always keep in touch with ease.
6. Photocopy or scan important documents
Scan all your important documents such as your passport, travel insurance, and booking confirmations, and carry them with you (but keep them separate from your actual documents). You should also keep electronic copies stored online. For an extra safety measure, email your important documents over to a family member, or someone you trust back at home.
Safety Tips for Travelling Alone
1. Keep your valuables safe
While you are on the road, you should keep your valuables close, in your day bag. Never leave your valuables in your big backpack, especially if it is being stored elsewhere on the plane, train, or bus. As soon as you get to your hostel, you should lock up your money and important documents, in the security storage provided. All hostels on HostelPass provide storage lockers for your belongings, but don’t forget a padlock!
2. Don’t flash your wealth
While out exploring and having fun, only take the essential valuables that you will need. It’s not a good idea to bring very expensive things with you backpacking anyway, but you do not want to attract unnecessary attention to yourself. One of the most comfortable and safest ways to keep your valuables on you while exploring is by carrying everything around in a bum bag / fanny pack.
3. Trust your instincts and stay alert
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Whether it’s a bar, a street, or a park, if you feel uneasy, leave immediately. Using your common sense and trusting your gut when travelling (alone) is key.
4. Go easy on the partying
We all love a great hostel pub crawl, but if you’re travelling solo, be cautious about how much you consume. You want to be aware of where your belongings are at all times, and able to stay alert in case of an emergency.
5. Avoid going out at night alone
The beauty of solo travel is that it forces you to get out of your comfort zone and make new friends. If you would like to explore the town at night, consider going together with a group from your hostel or joining an organised event.
6. Avoid telling strangers that you are travelling alone or where you are staying
This is very personal information, and you should be cautious if somebody asks you where you are staying or who you are travelling with. If you do get put on the spot, say that you are travelling with a friend and that they are waiting for you in the hostel.
7. Understand the transportation system
Getting public transport is a great way to get to know the city you’re in, like a real local! Research the best transport links, how much the fares are and how they are usually paid. A great way to find all this out is by asking hostel staff, they always have great tips about the city and the country you’re in.
8. Stay safe in your hostel
You want to feel safe and secure in the hostel that you are sleeping in. Make sure you do your research before you book, and use trusted booking websites like HostelPass. A good location and trusted reviews online are so important. If you’re a female solo traveller and would feel more comfortable in a female only dorm, most hostels do offer this option. And you will meet some great new friends that you can explore the city with!
All hostels on HostelPass offer security lockers. Use them to lock up all your belongings, especially when you are not there.
9. Lastly, strut your stuff!
Confidence is everything. You want to convince everyone that you are a confident solo traveller, who knows what’s going on. Even if you don’t feel confident internally, don’t show it. Strut your stuff!
We hope that you found our guide on how to travel alone, useful. If you have any other solo travel tips, please let us know in the comments below!