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  • Kay Davis

Protecting Yourself When Traveling Solo

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Traveling solo can be exhilarating, but it can also be a little scary. I have done it often, both for work and for fun. Although every experience is different, I do a few things that make me feel safer on my travels.

Traveling solo doesn't have to be a scary experience
Traveling solo doesn't have to be a scary experience

Before I travel anywhere, I like to find out if a friend knows someone in the area. I’m not necessarily looking for a buddy on the ground, but it’s helpful to know there is someone nearby who may be able to help if there was an emergency.

When I travel overseas, I always register my travel with the State Department. I include all of the numbers of where I’m staying as well as my flight information. I have a file on my Google Drive that includes the front and back of all of my credit cards, my passport, and copies of my itinerary. I typically share that file with a trusted friend or family member or both.

As I’ve blogged before, I always book my travel directly with the airlines and hotels. This has come in handy, especially at the hotels, when I haven’t felt comfortable in particular situations. I am not afraid to ask if the security person at the hotel can walk me to my room.

I also have some “travel habits” as I call them, and while it’s really helpful when traveling solo, I find these helpful no matter who I am with.

When staying in a hotel for less than a week, I do not get housekeeping. If I need new towels, I just call and ask for replacements and give them my dirty towels in person. The “Do Not Disturb” sign is always on the door.

When I’m in the room, I roll up a towel and push it against the bottom of the main door. I also do this if there is an adjoining door. That way any light I have on is not leaking out to the hallway or adjoining room and it would be hard for anyone to tell if I am in or out of the room at any given time.

My hotel on my solo trip to Honolulu in March 2021
My hotel on my solo trip to Honolulu in March 2021

I’ve mentioned this before, but I do not carry all of my cash in the same bag. I split it up into several bags and compartments and always have a $20 on me, either in a pocket or in my phone wallet.

When I travel, I try to get my cash only at indoor ATMs if I need to get it at all. A backup option is at a bank, and even then, I’d prefer to be inside to get my cash rather than out on a street or sidewalk.

View from my room in Puerto Vallarta in 2006
View from my room in Puerto Vallarta in 2006

I am not someone who travels lightly, but I strongly believe that any bag I carry is one that I can lift over my head to put on a train, into a car, or in the overhead on the plane. Although I used to travel with a backpack, I had someone open it up and steal a charger out of one. Now I only use cross-body bags with good closures on them.

Traveling solo is fun and exhilarating and the only schedule you are on is your own. But to travel safely, you do need to take a few precautions in order to make the most of your trip.

Hanging out on the plane, solo style
Hanging out on the plane, solo style

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