Safety should be at the forefront of your mind when traveling alone, but there is no reason to be worried or afraid. Just stay alert and use common sense, you are going to have a fantastic time. These are a few things to keep in mind if you’re setting out on a solo trip:
1. Be aware of local customs and ‘do’s and don’ts’ for any given destination. It’s simple enough to do a web search and read up on the local customs for your destination.
2. Stay aware and sober.
3. Email a friend or relative at each new stop on your trip, with your lodging details and duration of stay.
4. Carry travel insurance. I get mine through my credit card company because it’s a travel rewards card.
5. Pay what you need to when it comes to staying someplace safe. One time I had booked an entire week at a hotel, which upon arrival, did not feel safe at all. The next morning I walked around and found a better neighborhood and switched hotels.
6. Don’t ever go for a walk or wander around at night alone. Taxi back to where you are staying if needed.
7. Never, never, ever tell someone you just met that you are traveling alone. If asked, tell them that you are traveling with friends.
8. The U.S. State Department has a program called “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program,” (also known as STEP) where you register as a traveler before setting out on a journey, and thereby making U.S. embassies abroad aware of your travels. They can notify you or your emergency contacts with updates during any kind of emergency or crisis.
9. Check the U.S. State Department’s Alerts and Warnings website before you travel so you are aware of any potential threats to foreign tourists. You may also want to follow its Facebook page or Twitter feed.
10. Read Lifehacker’s safety checklist for world travelers which has good tips about safety habits in hotels. You might think that some of these points are over-cautious but having been stalked back to my hotel more than once, I highly suggest you learn how to be safe.