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Overcoming Solo Travel Fears: 9 Safety Tips for Traveling Alone

Embarking on a solo travel adventure can be exhilarating and daunting. Many people can be scared to travel alone at first. In my early solo travel experiences, the excitement of exploring on my own came with a nagging worry about potential risks. However, as I became more accustomed to solo travel, I discovered that experience and careful planning eased the fear of traveling alone.

You may need some peace of mind before you embark on your own. Today, I’m sharing my top safety tips for traveling alone. Let’s dive in!

Top 5 Solo Travel Fears and How To Beat Them

Are You Scared of Traveling Alone? You’re Not the Only One

If you have a fear of traveling solo, you’re not alone. I initially had many concerns about hitting the road on my own. Traveling alone can be intimidating for many reasons:

  • Loneliness: Many people worry about feeling isolated during their journey.
  • Safety: Concerns about personal safety while in an unfamiliar destination are typical.
  • Lost in Translation: If you’re considering traveling abroad, dealing with language barriers can add an extra level of stress and isolation.
  • Navigational Nerves: The fear of getting lost and the hassle that comes with it can quickly stop people from hitting the road on their own.

Of course, solo travel concerns can differ for each person. According to Radical Storage, in the U.S. 46% of men have solo traveled, while only 17% of women have taken a solo trip.

For men, the most significant worry about solo travel is the cost of the trip. Whereas, for women, the primary fear of solo traveling is for their safety.

Is It Safe to Travel Solo?

So, is it safe to travel solo? The short answer is yes, but it involves planning with caution. If you’re scared to travel alone, solo travel can be perfectly safe as long as you correctly prepare. Thoroughly researching your destination, including local customs and potential safety risks, is a key step in ensuring a smooth journey.

Preparation includes packing well to ensure you have everything you need, learning any critical routes you will take if you are planning to hike or go outside of densely populated locations, and booking safe accommodation. While there may be certain destinations that aren’t the safest to explore alone, there are also plenty of safe spots.

Pro Tip: Make sure you pack these 12 Essential Items for Women on the Move on your solo adventure.

Hiking solo
Traveling alone may seem scary at first, but over time it can be a great opportunity for self-discovery.

What Are the Benefits of Traveling Alone

Traveling alone carries numerous benefits. Solo travel provides a unique opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. It empowers you to navigate unfamiliar territories independently, embracing the freedom to create your itinerary. The experience promotes adaptability and resilience as you learn to overcome challenges without the support of a familiar network. Cultural exploration takes on more depth, fostering meaningful interactions and an understanding of diverse perspectives. 

In addition to external exploration, solo travel facilitates internal reflection. Traveling solo offers moments of solitude that contribute to self-awareness, confidence, and self-reliance.

Man no longer scared to travel alone
Where you decide to solo travel can make all the difference in the outcome of your adventure.

How to Get Over the Fear of Traveling Alone? 9 Top Safety Tips

Overcoming a fear of traveling alone takes time and practice. If you’re scared to go solo, give yourself some peace of mind by using these safety tips for traveling alone.

1. Pick Your Destination Carefully

Choosing the correct destination for your first solo adventure can significantly impact the outcome. You may have big dreams like hiking Machu Picchu alone or going motorbike camping through Vietnam.

However, while I have done both and highly recommend one day doing these adventures, it is best to start with something more in your comfort zone.

  • Pick a destination where your first language is commonly spoken
  • Look for similar cultural norms
  • Check the U.S. Department of State’s site for any travel advisories and plan your trip accordingly.

As you gain confidence, you can gradually venture into more challenging areas.

2. Try Short Test Runs

Before embarking on an extended solo journey, consider shorter test runs. This allows you to familiarize yourself with solo travel dynamics, build confidence, and assess your comfort level in different environments. Book a weekend in a nearby city or go camping in your backyard to practice trying new things independently.

3. Learn Basic Self Defense Strategies

While you will hopefully never have to use self-defense, knowing a few basic moves can give you peace of mind if you have a fear of traveling alone. Self-defense isn’t only throwing a punch or correctly using pepper spray. It also involves reading your surroundings and not appearing vulnerable. Learn these 10 Self-Defense Strategies Everyone Needs to Know to Survive before you head out alone.

Pro Tip: It won’t hurt to learn these Basic Survival Skills Everyone Should Know before you travel solo.

Solo travel in Machu Picchu
While solo travel is exciting, there are moments when it can feel stressful and intimidating.

4. Share Itinerary with Loved Ones

Communicating your travel plans is one of the key safety tips for traveling alone. Before I leave for my trip, I like to have an outline of where I will be on each day of my travels and my activities. While I allow for plenty of spontaneity during my travels, I have a general idea of where I will be and when to share with friends and family. It ensures that in case of an emergency, it is more likely someone will call for help if they do not hear from me. If you plan on hiking, share what time you expect to return so your friends or family can check-in.

5. Always Have an Exit Strategy

Whether you’re exploring a bustling city or hiking in nature, an exit strategy is a top safety tip for solo traveling. Have a safety net in case you need to buy last-minute transportation or accommodation in a safe location. If you have a fear of traveling alone, it is good to have a backup plan. You may arrive on your solo trip and find it isn’t as enjoyable as you wish. Maybe your gut is telling you where you are isn’t safe. Most likely you won’t want to leave. However, it’s good to be reminded that you can if you have or want to.

6. Don’t Skimp on Safe Accommodations

Your choice of accommodations will significantly impact how safe you feel. Opt for places with positive reviews, secure locks, and well-lit surroundings in a central area. Prioritize safety over budget, especially regarding lodging during solo travels. 

Getting over the fear of traveling alone
Getting over the fear of traveling alone will open up a world of possibilities to you.

7. Keep Your Valuables Secure

Among these safety tips for traveling alone, safeguarding your belongings is non-negotiable. After navigating crowded markets during solo adventures, using anti-theft accessories and remaining vigilant became second nature. Keep important documents secure and easily accessible, minimizing the risk of loss or theft.

8. Pack Safety Gear

Including safety gear in your travel arsenal adds an extra layer of preparation and can help ease the fear of traveling alone. During my solo hikes, a basic first aid kit and a reliable flashlight were indispensable. There are also several key items I prefer to pack for extra security, like this anti-theft hotel door lock and this GPS tracking tile. Tailor your safety gear to the destination and activities, ensuring you’re well-equipped for any unforeseen circumstances.

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9. Trust Your Gut

Intuition is a powerful safety tool. When your gut prompts you to change plans, listen to it. If something feels off, it likely is. Even if it is just fear, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Solo travel is about empowerment, and your intuition is a valuable guide to ensure your well-being on the road.

Tile Mate 1-Pack. Black. Bluetooth Tracker, Keys…
  • VERSATILE TRACKER – Tile helps you keep track of your things….
  • FIND NEARBY – Use the Tile app to ring your Tile when it’s…
  • FIND FAR AWAY – When outside of Bluetooth range, use the Tile app…
WHY I STARTED SOLO TRAVELING (and why YOU should, TOO!)

Should You Go Traveling Alone?

Solo travel provides unmatched freedom, flexibility, and cultural immersion. It fosters self-discovery and resilience. Overcoming initial fears becomes a stepping stone to building confidence and experiencing empowering moments. The solitary nature of solo travel allows for valuable reflection, offering insights into personal goals. Ultimately, solo travel is not only about exploring new places; it’s a transformative journey that shapes the destination and traveler.

Where would you like to go on a solo adventure? Leave a comment below!

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About Jessi Blanarik

While originally from Pennsylvania, Jessi has spent the last few years living in various countries throughout South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. She started her career as an ESL teacher in Prague and then taught online to kids in China while traveling around the world. She fell in love with the culinary, beverage, and tourism industries throughout her travels. She received funding from the European Union to pursue her master's degree in Wine Tourism and Sustainability with the Wintour Erasmus Mundus Program. Throughout her master's she researched the benefits of blog writing within the wine and sustainable tourism industries and developed models for writers to apply to their tourism-centered content. She has experience as a freelance tourism writer for various online platforms focused on wine tourism, sustainable tourism practices, and unique travel experiences. She also runs her own personal website Jessi's Journey where she helps travelers plan their trips, gives tips for digital nomad life, and encourages solo travel.

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Not So Free

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I remember the story about a woman who traveled alone. She would put a large dog chain and a large dog bowl. outside her door. . In another story the woman put size 11 men's hiking boots outside her rig.

The Mortons

Sunday 11th of February 2024

It's always be good to make it look like you're not traveling alone. Those are great tips!

Rip

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Absolutely a great article: if I may add a few notes to just a couple of the sections. Just add-ons, mostly relating to travel within the U.S.

2. Try Short Test Runs - either find others who go out on their own or in small groups and see if you can get an invite. This could be something where you are going into the outback or a spot you know. It's easier to figure out, who to trust, in your environment rather than in the wild. I've gone on 4-wheel trips deep into the Rocky mountains and forests with people I had taken the time to know, where I lived. Then you can explore an area maybe within your State or Region and get to know it in relative safety. I then returned to the same spot and or another spot I had seen, on my own. Don't be nervous if you find the first night a little "scary" - it happens to all of us. You'll learn to trust in yourself. And your senses will come alive after a few days of quiet.

3. Learn Basic Self Defense Strategies - The best defense I've learned over some decades of being away from the crowds is to always be aware of your surroundings. And whether that challenge to your safety is from man or beast, never turn your back on them. They both look for a moment of weakness. While in the U.S. I always carry bear spray, the kind meant for a grizzly.

I've driven dozens of miles on dirt roads past the last human I had seen and spent 2 weeks exploring the area. So follow this last piece of advice (from the article), make sure someone knows where you are headed and when you will be in contact. Make sure you contact them when you said you would.

Again, great article!!