Staying safe while I travel solo is my biggest priority as a female traveler. There are many things that can happen while us women are traveling from theft, injury, kidnapping, or worse, so it is important that we take the necessary precautions to prevent these things from happening and enjoy our travels. If you’re traveling and you constantly feel tense and uneasy, you’re not going to be having the time of your life constantly watching your back in case something happens. While it is important that you’re aware of your surroundings and take mental notes, these other twenty-four safety tips are crucial so that you have the time of your life abroad. These tips cannot prevent 100% of anything from happening, but they can greatly reduce your chances and keep you confident, which is the primary goal. If you’re finding yourself anxious about taking a solo trip or going on an up and coming trip, these twenty-five solo female travel safety tips will help you prepare yourself and give you an ease of mind so you can explore more.
Planning a solo trip? Check out my other (awesome) resources!
- How To Book The Cheapest Flights Anywhere In The World
- Everything You Need To Know About Travel Insurance
- How To Conquer Pre-Trip Anxiety + Enjoy Your Travels
Trust Your Intuition
This is not only a safety rule but a mantra, that should be applied in all aspects of your life. Your intuition is your inner compass. Your inner knowing. It’s that small voice that guides you through life and it’s so important that you listen for it while you’re away. Have you ever met someone or been in a situation where something seems off? You may not be sure why, but you just know that you need to remove yourself from the situation. That’s your intuition. We have evolved from primal times and although we aren’t having to worry about being a smaller tier on the food chain, that primal instinct has followed us through history. Sure, maybe we’re not running from dinosaurs or hunting animals, but we’re protecting ourselves from human predators. Your intuition is the first red flag you’re going to encounter, so if the internal sirens are going off, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
While I was in Bali, someone that I had met in my guesthouse had invited me out to get drinks for my birthday. I am not much of a drinker, but I figured I would accept the invitation and try to have some fun since I normally tried to avoid going out too late at night. Our personality types ended up meshing together very well (INF-J here in case you guys are curious), and I knew that I was going to have a good time. Before we headed out, he mentioned that one of his friends that he had met in Thailand years prior was here and that he was going to meet up with him at the place we were headed to. Everything was totally fine up to this point until that Thailand guy met up with us. He turned out to be probably mid-40’s and was SKETCH CITY. I had this unshakable feeling that I should not be involving myself in this situation and luckily I didn’t enjoy my mango margarita, so I was in a great position mentally and physically to handle the situation. Somehow we ended up in a larger group with people that he had known, and I could feel my body shut off. I wasn’t being social. I knew that I was being silent and that I should engage in the conversations happening around me, but I just couldn’t. My body KNEW there was something wrong, and things could have gone really bad. Thailand guy ended up buying my friend a beer, which he tried to drug, but luckily my friend had noticed and ‘went to the bathroom’ to pour it out. It was at this point that we both decided we needed to leave the situation and get back to the guesthouse. The moral of this story is, get out when you can and don’t wait for things to get bad. Sometimes your head will try and reason with how you feel because you don’t want to seem rude, but if you feel your heart rate increase, if you feel like something bad is going to happen, if you feel like your body is trying to tell you something, leave.
This first tip goes hand in hand with tip #25, so make sure you read to the end (or scroll all the way down if that’s your style).
Plan The First 24 Hours Of Your Trip
This is a great way to ease your pre-trip anxiety as a solo female traveler and help you start your trip off on the right foot. I do consider myself a moderately spontaneous traveler except in the first 24 hours before, during, and after I land. These are the most crucial moments for me to feel safe while traveling solo. I plan the safety net trifecta: where I am going, how I am getting there, and who is taking me. This takes the guesswork out of finding a taxi or uber since I am booked with a local guide. I know exactly where I am staying, and I know the method of transportation that will get me there. When I first arrive in a place, settling in is always my first priority unless my stomach is growling. This puts everything in place where I can take a breath after long hours of flying and prepare for what I want or need to do next. If you’re in need of a local and trusted guide, I use the Girls Love Travel Facebook Group. It’s a community of over 700,000 women that will have location recommendations, local guides, safety tips, and personal experiences that will help lift your spirits and get you set up for your trip. I found my guide in the Philippines thanks to this group and she helped me get guides on other islands that made my travels so much memorable. It’s an incredible group and I highly recommend you join and check it all out. There is SO MUCH information there and I have found a ton of new locations to visit from it!
If you like to plan a little more than the who, what, when, and where, you may want to think about what exactly you’re going to do when you land and make a checklist. Think about the little things. Do you need a SIM card? Do you need to exchange money? Put those on the list. Are you planning on eating before or after you arrive at your accommodation? Make plans for both. Checklists and crossing things off always make me feel like everything is put together and organized neatly instead of being jumbled around in my brain. My sister, for example, (hi, I love you) will plan her trips down to the MILLISECOND. Her ability to color code, organize, plan, and distribute an itinerary is actually jaw-dropping and I can’t believe she isn’t some type of travel agent. She plans her trips that way because that is how she is the most comfortable traveling and if you’re the same way, plan your trip around what makes you feel the most comfortable and what makes you feel like you’ll get the most out of your trip.
Keep Your Accommodation To Yourself
I know all of our parents told us not to lie, but in this case, a little white lie never hurt anyone. It seems to be a common question that I received on a constant basis in Southeast Asia. This is a little bit of how my conversations would go:
Local: Hello. How are you?
Me: Good. How are you?
*casually conversation ensues if the vibe is greenlighted*
Local: Where are you staying?
Me: Oh. You know. *gestures broadly* over down this road about ten minutes that way *points in the wrong direction + uses incorrect timestamp*.
Local: What’s it called?
Me: *playing REAL dumb at this point* I don’t really remember, but it’s close by (OR) I am staying at *wrong hostel name*
The key here is to play extremely dumb and don’t let them meddle you with questions until you give away where you are staying. Your hostel, hotel, or b&b is your sanctuary from the outside and you don’t want that ruined by a curious local or random person off the street. Some people really are just asking and mean no harm, but it does no harm to be broad or pretend that you’re staying at a different place.
Try To Arrive During Daylight Hours
The keyword here is ‘try’. I never really plan my trips around arriving in the morning, but so far, all the flights I have booked have resulted in me arriving at my destination early in the morning. It’s kind of funny how that works, but I like it that way. I do like to book cheaper flights and since those tend to leave at around 5-7am, the travel time allows me to arrive in daylight, which I really enjoy. If I plan on flying to Europe, I’ll do an overnight flight so that I will also arrive in the morning, and this has worked out great for me over the years. It is a bit of a hassle getting up before the buttcrack of dawn since I love my rest, but it’s worth it to save some money and feel safe in the process. Plus, the airports are way less busy and noisy during these hours, so they’re great if you want some zen before everything picks up. Most flights don’t tend to arrive super late anyway, depending on the location, so don’t stress too much about this, but do keep your eyes on your arrival time when you’re shopping for the best flight deals.
Look As Local As Possible (Blend In)
I understand that this is not possible in some areas, everyone is bound to look like a tourist in most places, but this tip really means to be as low profile as possible. I like to keep my jewelry to a minimum and carry around bags that don’t scream expensive or put a target on my back. The best way to do this is to research how people dress/customs in the country that you’re traveling to. If you’re in Southeast Asia, most people can get away with wearing modest shorts and tank tops, aside from holy places, since it’s the common thread among travelers, but if you’re traveling to Europe, people tend to dress a bit more “kept”, so you may want to bring along clothing that resembles those styles so that you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. In more conservative countries, it’s a good idea to bring along longer pants and something like a sarong or shawl that you can wrap yourself with. While I was in Kuta, Bali, I had worn shorts out on the touristy streets and I felt uncomfortable with the attention I was bringing to myself, so that very same day I purchased some of those possibly overrated, but extremely comfortable elephant pants and went on my way with fewer comments as I passed by.
As someone that carries around a lot of photography equipment, it’s important that my gear stays under the radar and I can do exactly that with my WANDRD Backpack that is rustic, but still stylish enough to not be spotted as an obvious camera bag. It helps keep all of my belongings safe and it keeps them protected from any rain, dirt, and snow on all of my adventures. If you’re a fellow photographer and need something to keep your gear safe from the elements and have a day pack that will match everything, this is a great choice.
Know How + When To Defend Yourself
Ladies. Listen here. If you want a (relatively) instant confidence boost in your mental and physical aspects of life, take some form of self-defense class. Before I set off on my solo trip to Indonesia, my dad wanted me to take self-defense classes before I departed, and for the sake of my own personal security and my parents’ sanity (I was 18 at the time), I went along with his advice, took self-defense classes through Taekwon-Do and now I have been training for almost two years. I FEEL INCREDIBLE. I N C R E D I B L E. The moves, confidence, and strength that I have gotten from taking these classes over the years are absolutely invaluable. I used to believe that I was weak and that if anything were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to defend myself, but now I believe that I have a solid foundation to throw a good punch if I need to and the stamina to get out of a situation. I know that I can’t be prepared for 100% of the possibilities that could happen to me, but I know that I am prepared to have the confidence to step into a situation and maybe throw some hands (or legs) if I need to. My skills aren’t even close to being 100% sharpened and I am learning every day, but if you can find some type of class to take or enroll yourself in for that time between travels, it’s an investment you won’t regret. Think of it more as an investment for your life rather than an investment for your travels.
One of my favorite YouTubers, Sorelle Amore, posted a video about her 30-Day Krav Maga experiment and how it has developed her sense of confidence and safety as a solo female traveler. I feel that it can be inspiring to many of you that might be looking into something like Krav Maga or another martial art, so I highly recommend you give it a watch if you’re considering this. Krav Maga and Taekwon-Do are two entirely different martial arts, but they both can teach you one of the most important lessons in this entire list. Finding a class is a simple Google Search away and I promise you’ll fall in love with the community, the process, the transformation, and your body.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Surroundings
While you’re walking around, it is so comforting to think to yourself, “oh, I remember passing that” and knowing what you pass on your way back to your guesthouse or hostel and which turns to take. Doing this gives me that sense of familiarity and it actually makes the town or city I am in feel a bit like home once I settle myself in. The best way to get to know your surroundings is by walking around and taking note of places that stick out to you. if you are cruising by in an uber, taxi, or bus, everything, quite literally, goes by in a flash, so if you choose to walk around, you’re able to get familiar with that small coffee shop on the corner right before you make that left turn. This helps to get back to your safe spot easier and easier as the days pass. If you have a poor sense of direction, this also helps since it will help give you cues and images that help you remember your route. I am a creature of habit and repetition, so doing this really helps my navigation skills. If you want to really indulge in a city, I recommend you take up my next tip, planning slow travels.
Plan Slow Travels
What is slow travel? It’s all in the wording; you travel slowly. Instead of spending a week trip like this: one day in a city, then two in another, then one in the next, you would simply spend the full week in one city or location and take the time to really get to know the place. It’s choosing to not rush through to see everything, but rather slow things down and relish in all the things that make a place so special. This is my preferred way of traveling, so I am always okay with spending at least a month in one country just exploring around and being able to take my time along the way. Believe it or not, it’s actually way cheaper to fly this way since most airline tickets tend to be cheaper the longer you’re there, you can get discounts on your Airbnb bookings, and you won’t have to constantly be forking over cash for fast transport. With all the bustle of social media and the pressure some of us may face feeling like we have to see it all in one go, it’s okay to break away and not see every single iconic spot in a country. If you’re able to book travels over multiple months, this can be possible depending on what country you’re in, but if you’re only visiting for a few weeks, dial it back a little bit and see what you can discover in a few locations rather than all of them. You’ll make friends with cafe owners, spend mornings eating dragonfruit with the farmer on the corner and make real, invaluable connections with people rather than skimming over everything and kicking your travels into overdrive. For your next trip, I challenge you to book slow travels and see how it changes your perspective of a location.
Keep Important Information + Copies Of Documents On Hand
I use my WANDRD Travel Journal to keep all my important information in one location. I love how minimalistic the design is and it matches my WANDRD Camera Bag. I am all about matchy-matchy stuff like that. If you need something to help keep your travels organized, I highly recommend picking one of these up and field testing them to see how you like it. With all of that being said, there are a couple of key documents that you want to have saved, printed, or written down in the case that you need them, forget them, or need a copy of them. You’ll want to have copies of your passport, driver’s license, and other important legal documents and possibly copies of your bookings if you want to that extra EXTRA backup. I recommend having physical and photocopies of them uploaded into your Dropbox or Google Drive account. This way you have these things in two spots, and if you want a third, you can send them to a trusted family member or friend via email.
Make Sure At Least One (Trusted) Person Knows Where You Are
This can be a trusted family member, friend, teacher, mentor, co-worker, anyone you trust with your information in the event that something happens. Ideally, it would be someone with legal power of attorney. As nice as it is to run off to an exotic destination and forget everything back home, it’s important that you keep someone updated as to where you’re headed and your plans for the day. Even if it is a quick message telling them when you left, where you’re going, and when you get home, keeping those small updates are incredibly important incase you get lost, or worse. I am really bad at doing this and I know that I stress my mom out sometimes since I tend to book and go spontaneously, but I am beginning to see the importance of doing these things more and more with each trip I take. I fully acknowledge that ANYTHING can happen on a trip, and it is my responsibility to see that people know I am safe and unharmed. Whoever you keep updated should also be the person that has hard or digital copies of those important documents since they will know all the details of your trip and have access to all of your information. Again, this person should be trusted to take care of you if you are unable to do so yourself. I am speaking in drastic terms, but this is what that person is there for when things go wrong.
Walk Like You Live There
Or in other words… Fake it till you make it. If you look confused, lost, or anxious, people are going to pick up on that and use it to their advantage. If you walk around with your head held high and pretend like you know exactly where you’re headed, you’ll be off the radar. If you actually are lost or need directions, I like to do one of two things: walk into a local cafe or shop and check the directions on my phone, or keep Google Maps directions as I walk, so that it looks like I am just checking my phone, when really I am looking at the next street name or how much further till I need to turn. This is also a great way to get to know your surroundings since you’ll be watching for street signs and noting familiar locations that you pay pass frequently. Be confident, keep your eyes peeled, head high, and take mental notes of your surroundings.
So simple, yet so overlooked. I feel a common theme with travelers is that once we start to feel comfortable in the country or city that we’re in, we drop our radar. With that new found comfort, we finally begin to relax, which is a really good thing, but this often comes with a lack of our focus on staying safe, watching our surroundings, and making good decisions. Once I am comfortable, I do tend to branch out more and try new things, but I always make sure that I am still practicing all these other safety tips along with this one. Don’t allow yourself to start surfing your phone while you’re walking, or put in headphones, or slip away because you feel 100% safe or comfortable. I am not trying to keep you on edge, because there is that point in traveling where you can relax, but acknowledge that no matter where you are in the world, nowhere is totally safe. It might seem scary, but it’s realistic and will keep you attentive.
Buy A Local SIM Card or Wifi Hotspot
This is one of my favorite ways of staying safe while traveling because it almost guarantees, depending on where in the world I am, that I am connected in one way or another. If I am lost, I have a map. If I need to contact someone, my phone is online. A SIM card is that extra little safety blanket that makes me feel a whole lot safer while I travel and they always cost under $30 to pick one up at the airport or city that you’re traveling to. Once you get the SIM card, you are going to have a local number which is really really cool, and you’re able to keep your social media updated if you want, stay in contact with friends and family, and have access to the world while you’re gone. The one downside to this is that no country is an exception to be in spots with no signal. In fact, while I was in the Philippines, there were a good five days where I didn’t have a signal at all in the place that I was staying in and they didn’t have wifi. It was really nice to disconnect for a couple of days, but if you want the comfort of always being able to be connected, then maybe a wifi hotspot might be your go-to.
Wifi hotspots are small, portable 4G devices that will allow you to have internet access anywhere in the world. I plan on using one in my up and coming trip to Iceland, so while I can’t recommend one from personal experience, I have heard great things about the Skyroam Solis. My only issue with it is that it costs around $9/Day to rent it out, but if you want to buy it, it’s around $150 AND you still have to pay the $9 daily fee. As someone that runs many social media accounts and a blog, this is becoming more and more necessary, but if you only have the need to keep social media updated, a SIM Card will work just fine.
Consider Carrying An Anti-Theft Bag And/Or Wallet
If you’re carrying around an open shoulder bag, your belongings are bound to get snatched. Anti-theft bags and wallets are a great way to keep your money, camera, and valuables safe and secure while you’re walking around a new place. I haven’t personally used an anti-theft bag, but everyone raves about Pacsafe and Travelon anti-theft bags, and you can browse them here. Normally, I’ll travel with a backpack and I’ll take everything out of the outer compartments and put a lock on the main pocket so that I feel safe and I haven’t felt the need to purchase an anti-theft bag to this date. This is not to say that you don’t need one, but if you’re looking for a simpler alternative, a quality lock is a good way to go. Keep in mind that you do still need to watch your bag even if it is anti-theft because people can easily take the entire thing when you aren’t looking, even if it is only for a second. If you want a rough guide on the best anti-theft bags, there is a great article here that will help you choose the best one for your trip.
Research Your Destination
This was another HUGE tip I mentioned in my post about conquering pre-trip anxiety, and it can also serve up some confidence for traveling safely as a solo female. Unless you’re revisiting a country, chances are you are not sure what to expect when you arrive. What will the airport look like? What do the streets look like? Are there any places around where I am staying? What can I expect from the country I am traveling to? Once you know the answer to these questions, you’re going to feel a lot more comfortable when you arrive. I like using the Google Maps tool, Google Images, or Youtube to help me visualize things because you can find restaurants near where you’re staying, what the landscape looks like, and what places look like between destinations. Youtube has been really helpful for me and sometimes I feel like I have deja vu when I arrive at the destination because I can pick up on things I remembered from images and videos. There is something so comforting about noticing familiar surroundings.
Along with having a rough idea of what things look like, know what the transportation is like, what common scams are, and what areas you should avoid while you’re traveling. Knowing all of these things will help you know what to expect, but still leave room for your imagination to take over.
Try To Learn Some Local Phrases Before You Arrive
In certain places like Iceland, The Philippines, England, Scotland, and Ireland, this won’t be an issue for native English speakers, but anywhere else in the world you go, you are bound to be somewhere, encountering someone, that hardly knows what the heck you’re saying, or trying to say. Learning languages is a long journey, but knowing a couple of phrases for whatever country you’re traveling to is important so that if you need help you can ask for it. It can be a little bit daunting to try and speak new syllables and phrases in a new place, so if you aren’t entirely comfortable speaking you can keep the phrases written down for a little bit of ease. This way you can grab their attention and proceed to show them your paper if you need to. I think that you can get your point across perhaps a little bit easier than fumbling your way through a new language. Honestly, and thankfully, I have never had to do this for emergencies sake, but I have used Google Translate for my laundry service in Indonesia and it was really handy. So if you want something fast and always at your disposal, Google Translate is always my go-to.
I want to start practicing saying phrases and exchanging them because I think you can find a greater connection that way, but if you’re having trouble breaking out of that shell, the other options will work just as well.
Don’t Get (Too) Trashed While Out At Night
I feel like I see a lot of articles that tell women to not drink at all, but I feel there should be a gage for everyone in their situation. Obviously being 100% sober is the safest, but if you plan on going out and treating yourself to a nice time, ask yourself, “If ANYTHING were to happen right now, could I take care of myself?”. This is important because some people can feel it after one drink and some people can feel it after five, AND different alcohol affects different people. There is a lot to take into account and while I opt out of drinking when I am solo, I do want to make sure that the ladies that do choose to drink stay as safe as they can. If you can find other women to meet up with or go out with people in your hostel that you have bonded with that is also a better alternative than going alone. When you’re out, stick with alcohol you’re familiar with in how it affects your body and take things slow so that you don’t hammer down a ton of drinks and find yourself in a bad state to get home safely. Everyone knows their limits and if drinking isn’t really your thing, never feel pressured to join in if you’re a group. Sip your water or cocktail with confidence, gauge how much you’re consuming, stay hydrated, and always make sure you can make it home.
Buy Good Travel Insurance
If anything happens on your way, during, or coming home from your trip, you’re going to want to be covered. Dealing with mishaps while traveling is stressful enough as it is and not to mention if you’re solo. By having proper travel insurance, you’ll be covered for anything that is out of control on your trip whether that is illness, luggage loss, cancellations, changes, and many other things that can go wrong. I never go anywhere without travel insurance, and like most adventurous travelers, I always book mine with World Nomads. I believe they have the best price and coverage for my specific travel needs and it’s important to know the basics of travel insurance so that you’re able to choose a plan that meshes well with what you have planned. I like that adventurous stunts are covered and that I am able to extend my coverage plans on the road if I choose to stay in a certain destination longer. It’s so so important to keep you and your things covered while you travel and it will make bumps in the road a whole lot more manageable when you have a reliable company to walk you through the process, book you on a different flight, and stay with you every step of the way. If you want to get a quote for your next trip, pop it into the search below! It’s extremely affordable!
Travel With Locks
Everyone pretty much already does this since you should always have locks on your checked bag, but as I mentioned before, you want to have locks for your carry-on and checked bag, but not those that are easily hacked into with a 3d printer. If you are checking your bag, a TSA approved lock is required, but if you want some ease of mind for your carry-on since TSA locks have been deemed useless, then you can find locks that aren’t TSA approved, or use this lock that requires a card key rather than a regular key to open. TSA approved locks are going to have a small, red heptagon looking design on it in case you’re looking for one. I travel with 2-3 locks depending on my luggage situation, but I always like to have a few on hand in case I need them. It’s a great way to keep your belongings safe throughout every part of your trip.
Consider Staying In Hostels And/Or Popular Areas
Staying in hostels is a fantastic way to get to know other people and possibly meet some lifelong friends along the way. I am not the biggest fan of hostels because I like having my own personal space, but I always try to stay in at least one on every trip I take. I tend to find one that is nicely decorated and looks like it has a great community and all of the times that I have stayed in a hostel, I have really enjoyed the community aspect of them. It’s interesting to see people come and go and venture out for the day and meet up with fellow hostel mates. Hostels, aside from couchsurfing, is one of the cheapest accommodations you can book in most cities, so if you’re looking to save money and make new friends, hostels are a great option. I book all of my hostels through Hostelworld because they have the best selection and the website is extremely user-friendly which I love. You’re able to read in-depth reviews of certain places, easily view amenities, and gauge whether the hostel you’re looking at is the right choice for you.
Aside from staying in a hostel, booking your stay in a more popular area is going to ensure that there are other people roaming around and you’re not 100% alone. As travelers, I don’t think we are ever totally alone anyway, but when you’re in a well-known area, there are more opportunities for you to seek out help if you need it. I do like to travel off path a little bit, so I like to base myself in a popular place at first and then slowly work my way outside of that. That way I can get a feel for the place I am in and ease into venturing out to lesser populated spots. I don’t always stay in popular spots, so that’s why this tip is a “consider” rather than a staple tip, but if you are traveling to a new place, this is a great way to go. If you don’t know where safe places to stay are, you can easily find neighborhood guides to different cities that will help you pick a nook that makes you feel the safest. Just search “neighborhood guide to _______” on Pinterest or Google and there are fellow bloggers that make these guides for cities all around the world.
Don’t Tell People You’re Traveling Solo
I think that this should be like rule #1 in the solo female travel safety guidebook because this is really important. I do believe it varies from case to case and it all depends on who you’re talking to, but generally speaking, don’t let people know you’re alone because this puts you as a primary target. Truthfully, I don’t always follow this rule since I have met fellow female travelers in the same boat as I am, but if I am talking to a local or some random stranger, I don’t let this slip-up. There are many ways you can avoid this by saying you’re here with your family, you’re meeting up with someone later on, your friend is back at your guesthouse, you’re there celebrating a bachelorette party, or anything else that you can come up with. I think that a lot of the time people are just curious and want to know what brought you to the country, but you never know if someone has bad intentions. Don’t assume everyone is out to get you, but don’t assume everyone has good intentions either.
Carry Emergency Money Separately
Looking back on ALL of my previous trips, if I would have been robbed or had my bag stolen, I would have been screwed in terms of money, identification, passport, and any other thing involving my identity and my financial security. I kept everything all in one central location, sans wallet. Yikes. Over the years I have accumulated a couple of different cards that will help me in case of an emergency. I have an emergency credit card/credit score builder credit card that is a cushion for emergencies abroad. I also have my main debit card as well as a debit card from Charles Schwab specifically for my travel needs so that I am not charged ATM or foreign transaction fees. I like to use that as my main card and in case anything happens to my normal bank card, I can transfer funds onto this card and use it as my normal debit card. On top of that, the first thing I do whenever I get somewhere is convert my American dollars to whatever the local currency is. So at this point, I have two debit cards, an ATM card for those debit accounts, a credit card, and spare cash. The key here is that you want to have options in case shit hits the fan. Since I am still a fairly young traveler compared to the rest of the travel scene, this set up works great for me and prevents me from having too many cards to keep track of while I am traveling. Personally, I love this setup and eventually I am going to try and upgrade to some type of travel rewards credit card when my flights, travel expenses, and good credit history pick up so that I can start earning those MILES.
Aside from your card and cash setup, you don’t want to make a dumb decision like me to have all of these stashed into one location. I like to keep a little bit of cash, my main debit card, and my credit card on me at all times and put my ATM card, other spare cash, and backup debit card tucked away in my checked bag. For me personally, putting every card in a different location is going to get extremely confusing and I know that I am going to end up losing at least two of them if I stuck with that method, so this is what has been working great for me personally. The Broke Backpacker has a great guide on different ways to hide money while you’re traveling if you want some other proven methods to keep your cheddar safe. The dummy wallet idea is actually really great and I can’t wait to start implementing that in my bags!
Share Your GPS Location With Trusted Friends + Family
My dad has my location 100% of the time whether I am at home shopping for groceries or cliff jumping in South America. He has access to the exact coordinates of where I am with our iPhones and it’s comforting to know that someone knows EXACTLY where I am. If you have an iPhone it’s really simple to share your location with a contact. Go to your contacts, click the person you want to share your location with, then click ‘share my location’ and you can choose whether you want to share it indefinitely, for one hour, or until the end of the day. As I stated before, you want to leave this information with the person that you trusted to hold onto your documents, travel insurance information, and contact information. You can also share it with a few trusted people just so they have ease of mind. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can easily use your Google+ account or many other location apps to share this information.
Keep Your Cellphone Charged
This tip can be taken two ways: security while roaming or connection in the event that something happens, or both. I know that in the age of technology, we tend to panic if we don’t have our phones with us, but even hikers that are in the most remote of destinations have a device that can phone for help. The best way to do this is to limit time on your cellphone or bring a portable battery pack that will be able to power up your phone when the battery gets too low. This will help keep you connected and worry free on your travels. Especially when it’s closer to the end of the night and your battery is running low, you’ll have a pack so that you can keep it online at all times. This is really useful if you are sharing your location with someone and that way you never have to worry about your GPS turning off.
“Fuck Politeness, Apologize Later”
In the wise words of my favorite podcasters, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark from My Favorite Murder, “fuck politeness, apologize later”. If you feel uncomfortable. If you feel in danger. If you feel off. If you spot red flags. If you have even the slighest, most minuscule feeling about a person or situation, you are in no way obligated to be nice or stick around. I’d much rather be an asshole and be safe than be polite and get myself into a dangerous situation. Trusting your intuition goes hand in hand with this one because you are the one that will be able to read a situation. I can’t put myself in every single situation behind my laptop screen, so knowing yourself and the way you feel is the most important thing. People feel safe in different situations and that’s okay. I am not saying be rude to every single person you meet, threat or not, because that is not the way to go. I am saying that you aren’t obligated to stick around in a situation you’re not comfortable in because you don’t want to seem rude. Please, be nice to locals and the people you meet along the way, but don’t be ashamed to be assertive or maybe even rude to get yourself out of a situation. Your safety is the most important thing and don’t let the feeling of having to be polite keep you from getting away from someone or something.
Have any of these tips helped you on your travels? Share with me in the comments below!
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