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One of the main questions that people have as a solo traveler is whether or not it’s safe. Without someone with you, you’re more vulnerable to criminals and scammers, as well as health worries. Safety in numbers isn’t always true though. A solo traveler can blend in more easily with a group and not draw attention to themselves as a tourist can help you to stay secure.
- Do your homework before you arrive. Know how long it will take and how much it will cost to get from the airport to your hotel, like LAX transportation, or from your hotel to the city center. Solo travelers can be taken for a ride, so always ask for an estimated fare before you leave. If it’s very different from what your research has told you is right, take a different cab.
- Choose the right accommodations. Book a hotel with a front desk that is open 24 hours a day if you know that you’re going to be arriving late. You don’t want to arrive and find you can’t check in safely.
- Trust yourself. Your gut instinct will be useful. If something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it.
- Carry good identification. Carry it in more than one place. If you choose to wear a money belt while you’re traveling, use it for storage and not as a purse. Reaching under your shirt all the time for money draws attention to where you’re keeping it, which defeats the purpose of the belt. Instead, keep your passport, extra money, and other important documents tucked away somewhere safe. Use a theft-resistant bag or purse for carrying your daily spending money.
- Stick to open and public spaces. This is especially important at night. Don’t stray from well-lit areas with other people when it’s dark.
- Exude confidence. Walking confidently and with a sense of direction is a handy way to deter unwanted attention. Appearing to be lost or confused can make you vulnerable to unwanted attention or crime. If you’re lost, go into a restaurant or shop and ask for directions instead of looking lost on the street.
- Avoid appearing like a tourist. If you can, try not to look like an obvious tourist. Don’t walk around with your face in a guidebook. Avoid flashy jewelry, impractical shoes, national flags, or other touristy-looking clothing.
- Lie a little. When you ask someone for directions, don’t give away the fact that you’re on your own. Instead, go into a shop or restaurant to ask for directions and say something like, “Can you tell me the way to the museum? I’m meeting a friend there?”
- Check your maps and transportation schedules before you leave the hotel, train, car, or tourist office. A solo traveler who is absorbed in their phone is an easy mark for unsavory characters.
- Leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member at home. Stay in touch regularly with them, via phone, text message, video chat, or email.