8 Street Smart Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

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Last Updated on June 30, 2021 by Christine Kaaloa

VIDEO: 8 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers


A YouTube viewer asked What are some safety tips that I’d recommend for solo travelers?

In the last video post, I spoke about a smart traveler being thoughtful of safety, making smart choices and decisions and taking preventative measures to deter crime. In this video, I’d like to share some of my 8 smart safety tips for solo travelers.

Now some of this stuff may seem like every day common sense. When doing this video, I had to constantly remind myself that what may *seem* like common safety sense to me, isn’t always common sense to everyone else. If it were,  I wouldn’t see tourists dressing inappropriately, encountering crime or allowing themselves to appear like fresh targets for theft, when they wander around looking lost and dopey-eyed.

Being a smart traveler is in part, thinking in the way of both, a criminal and victim. You need to have an idea of what a criminal is looking for in a perfect target and you have to be worried enough about being a victim, in order to want to prevent crime from happening. This is all part of travel survival.

But travel safety isn’t full proof, no matter where you are. Most crime in general happens when we let our guards down or when we’re too assuming of the safety of our environments.  If you’re a traveler, you may already know much of these tips I’m sharing. You’ve probably gotten burned or encountered your own share of “exciting stories”. Travel will keep you on your toes.  I’ve encountered many travel mishaps along the way; luckily none really bad, but I try to make safety one of my travel religion.


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safety tips for solo travelers

8 Street Smart Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

Going through our daily lives, we often place common safety sense at the back of our thoughts. We take our safety for granted. The ongoing question many ask is — is solo travel safe?  Dealing with your worries can feel challenging and after you finally convince yourself, you have to deal with naysaying family and friends .

I’m going to share are safety tips that we use on a daily basis but forget that it applies to travel as well.

1. Be Aware of your Surroundings.

Be aware of what’s around you and who’s around you. The idea is “If you can see it, you can deter it”.  This example is much like driving a car. We take special attention in observing and being keen to things going on around us so we can make quick decisions to avoid accidents. I always scan my surroundings. I scan it a lot, not only because I’m sightseeing a place but also because I need to be aware of entering my safety space in an unusual manner.

2. Hold Valuables Close to your Body

Thieves and pickpockets always search for the most vulnerable target. Usually these are travelers who aren’t paying attention and leave their belonging unattended. Here are some ways to hold your valuables close to you, so as to make yourself a difficult target for thieves.  For those with backpacks, the method I show looks silly and awkward, but this is a common precaution to take and one you’ll see solo travelers using, as well.

Read Ways to Outsmart Thieves and Pickpockets

3.  Act Confident

It’s all in the attitude. Criminals target tourists who look distracted, lost, vulnerable and naive. Learn to develop your street smart look. I lived in New York for some time and if you look at an every day New Yorker, you’ll notice they have a  bold and confident stance. They look aware, focused and like they know exactly where they’re going. This is a look to develop. If you don’t have the confidence, fake it.

4.  Trust your Gut

Always listen to your gut and intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. Trust that. As a solo traveler, reliant on the helpful strangers trusting your gut intuition is key. There are many good and helpful people out there, but there are some bad ones too. Your gut  is your radar that can help you sift them out.

5. Avoid sharing personal information with strangers

Never give stranger personal details about your relationship status, whether you’re traveling alone or what hotel you’re staying at.  When you tell people you’re traveling alone, you’re telling others that you’re unaccounted for. No one will miss you if you suddenly disappear.

6.  Avoid Dark and LonelyPlaces at Night

People are often surprised when I tell them as a female solo traveler, I go out at night. I take overnight trains and buses.  I like to take photos and explore the city after dark, because a city has a completely different look and feel at night.

But it’s certainly open to danger, so I take stronger precautions and preventative measures regarding my safety. With my night activities,  I crank my alert on high. I make myself ultra sensitive to the sounds of my environment and more observant of things around me. I scan my surroundings a lot. I’m make myself more aware of potentially dangerous zones and peoples’ proximity to me.

Avoid dark and unlit areas. Instead, go around them, avoiding any areas where you might be pulled into dark corners.Stay on the main street in well-lit zones. Avoid having earbuds in your ears, so you can hear the sounds around you and be alert to anyone coming up behind .

    Simple objects can be used as weapons.

I also carry a small weapon, like a pen. I hold it in my hand vs. keep it in my bag. If someone jumps me, I won’t have time to dig in my bag for it.  If I’m in an uncertain area, where I notice people watching me, I make it obvious that I’m carrying it. I flash it around. This is my way of letting potential attackers or criminals know that I won’t be an easy victim to jump.

Check my Packing List for Solo Travel to see some extra safety devices I pack.

7.  Dress Appropriately

Research the country dress and dress appropriately. It may be a 100 degree Indian summer, but if I’m in India, I know it’s a conservative country. Showing your shoulders or wearing mini skirts in the open is not cool. India has a strong problems with sexual harassment and as a foreigner I know I’ll stand out. So I dress to respect the culture. Even to blend. Some travelers will buy the clothes of the country so they can blend more. This also helps.

You’re single and you want to find love or meet men. I get it. But the way to go about it is not to tempt every male in the surrounding area by dressing opposite of their norm.

Read my 30 Tips on Traveling As a Female Solo Traveler …Safely

8. Research the Country

Research Safe Countries to travel to (especially if it’s your first solo trip). Ask friends what they’d recommend and read up on the safety of the country. Choose countries that would be considered safe for women to travel in.

9. Check Travel Alerts 

Americans travelers have a website to get up-to-date information on country alerts and travel warnings. The site is www.travel.state.gov  and it let’s us know what countries are safe for Americans to travel. Check your government site to see what’s considered safe for you to travel to.

Read How to Plan a Solo Trip

10.   Know common scams and dangers of the country

I’ve been scammed  more times than I’d like to admit to myself. This has all made me a wiser (and slightly more jaded) traveler. On a good note, you learn to spot scams quicker.

I always like to read up on the crimes  prevalent in the country I’m traveling to as well as, those targeting travelers.  If I know what the crime is, I can avoid it or take precaution. Sometimes, scams can be as simple as a taxi driver wanting to drive off-meter. Or maybe it’s thinking you’re being taken to the Tourism Information Office and discovering its a scam tour agency. Or it can someone telling you your hotel burned down or the tourist site you’re visiting is closed. The scammer will redirect you to another hotel where they get a commission or lead you to another site where there’s either a larger scam. Here’s an awesome article by Traveling Canucks about When Travel Bloggers Get Scammed.

How do you deal with a scam?  The best thing is to take precaution to avoid it.

Read  How to Avoid Travel Scams.

Hopefully, this was helpful to you.

 What are your Street Smart Safety Tips for Solo Travelers ? Leave them in the comments.

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17 Comments. Leave new

  • Thanks for this safety tips. I am sure this tips will help more people.

  • Not only solo travel.
    You can use your info
    for travel anywhere.

  • Samantha Deuchar
    April 1, 2016 10:10 pm

    Thank you for your awesome tips for me to help my daughter prepare for her trip!

  • There are some excellent tips shared here and you’ve made a great video.

    Personal safety and self-defense is so important for us women travelers and we should all be prepared to fight back effectively if the need ever arises.

    I have been teaching Krav Maga to women and girls for over 5 years now and we teach a very effective technique which should be in every woman and girls arsenal. We are a women only event, run by women, for women, and this is what we teach to women of all ages.

    This is the “groin grab” self-defense technique to be used against a male attacker which is taught in many womens self-defense classes, and there is actually a little trick to it…

    You’re going to take your hand and grasp between the attackers thighs underhand. Its going to feel like you’re “cradling” the testicles. Dig your fingertips into the fragile skin BEHIND the scrotum. Then, once you have a good grip, you turn your hand into a vice, with your fingers digging inwards, around the back and over the top of the testicles. If you do it right, you should feel the testes INSIDE your hand which is holding the scrotum. You want, whenever possible, to hook your fingers over and around at least one testicle. One of them is enough.

    Then, with your hands in a claw and your fingertips latched around the testes, you turn your hand sharply, as though you were turning a doorknob. Simultaneously, squeeze hard and pull the testicles away from his body as fast and as hard as you can. Do not let go of them, but continue to squeeze them with all of your strength. This is important. What happens then, is that your assailant usually screams out in pain and then tries to grab the wrist of your hand holding him in a futile attempt to try to get you to release him. Don’t. He then quickly loses one of the natural advantages he usually has over us (his strength) within a matter of seconds. Vomiting, curling over, collapsing and convulsing is common. Shock and unconsciousness can set in within 8 seconds. When he collapses, which he will, you get away to safety as quickly as possible and call for help.

    It’s never too late to perform this technique at any stage of an attack, and that even includes the option of reaching down if he’s on top of you, but it is easiest to do when the testicles are exposed and closest to you where you can grab hold of them. I’ve actually met several women in my life who have fought off their attackers in this way and one did it when her attacker was on top of her and raping her at the point he lost control. Don’t ever hold back. Some women scream while they are doing this, and some women think of a loved one being harmed to help overcome any bad feelings of hurting someone else even if they are being hurt themselves. Do whatever you have to do if you feel it helps.

    If done properly, and done with enough force, this technique can even lead to the testicles rupturing. It’s actually easier to do than most women believe, and just about all of us have the capability to injure an attackers testicles in this way – whether we are young girls still of school age, or whether we are great grandmothers. After all, if you think about it testicles are just small objects of extreme vulnerability to pain squishiness wrapped in a delicate layer of skin which offers them no protection at all from this kind of counterattack. Most importantly, this fact holds true no matter what size your attacker is, nor how strong he is. And no matter how angry he is, and how much he’s threatened what he’s going to do to you, he’s going to drop. Don’t let anyone (usually men) try to convince you otherwise.

    I know that this advice would have been a difficult read for many women, but our lives are worth far more than a rapists testicles and we should be prepared to do whatever it takes to get away to safety. Please help to share this advice with as many other women and girls in any way you can. It could one day be a life saver.

  • […]  Call me crazy but when I look at purse-toting tourists, my Xray eyes see only four worldly things that fit in it– credit cards, an I.D., a mobile phone and money! Who did you think you were fooling?  But if its something you feel comfortable with, then make it work. Purse straps are too easy to cut and snatch. Drape your hand over it to let offenders know you’re aware of your possessions. Watch my video on safety tips for solo travelers. […]

  • […] I don’t know if you get over that fear. Fear is largely what keeps you safe, so there’s a healthy aspect to it. With safety, the best you can do is prepare, research the dangers and cultural etiquette of a country beforehand. For me travel is like breathing. There’s no question about whether you want to do it or not. You simply know you must find a way. So I try to be proactive about it. I try to build safety into the way I travel.  Here’s some of my solo travel safety tips for women (and men). […]

  • Fantastic video Christine. My friend, Christine found it for me. First time 50+ solo female traveller. Off for 3.5 weeks to Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore on Thursday. I am aware – just hope I remember it all! haha

    • Christine Kaaloa
      February 9, 2014 7:40 pm

      @SandiB Glad you shared that with me. You are an inspiration for all solo travelers. I suspect with most solo travelers, especially first timers, there’s a heightened sense of awareness, so you may be overly cautious on this trip. That’s natural. A lot of the street smarts you use at home will be helpful. =)

      Vietnam tip: It’s a beautiful country/beautiful people. But be aware there’s a surprising amount of counterfeit tour agencies; some are obvious, some aren’t. Always shop around if you’re looking for tickets or tours (https://grrrltraveler.com/countries/asia/vietnam/how-to-find-good-budget-tours-in-vietnam/). Let me know how it all goes! =)

  • Thanks for essentials tips. But i think in India this tips in not useful. If you are a solo women in India then avoid travel by buses and trains. Capital Delhi i most unsafe and highest crime rate city in country. You can travel by city cabs in Delhi for safety and comforts.

  • Very practical tips. Mostly useful for people travelling India and else where.

  • Awsome video, thankyou! You perhaps have saved many some heartache : )

    • Christine Kaaloa
      September 8, 2013 9:35 pm

      @Velvet: Thank you.Hoping this helps so more solo women feel better about taking the leap!

  • So so true. We need to act and be confident and trust our gut. Well said Christine, love your travel spirit!

  • This video was awesome! Thanks 🙂