9 Safety tips for solo female travelers

Over the years, I’ve talked to a bunch of friends, family members and colleagues about my solo jaunts, and those conversations have made me realize safety is THE biggest concern for women considering taking a trip on their own. Now, while rational fear of the unknown is understandable, I think the debilitating dread that keeps some people in a perennial state of inertia can be avoided. In my experience, reaching for your dreams involves pushing through your fear, not caving into it.

So, if you’re reading this and anxiety is holding you back from taking that dream trip alone, don’t let it! The best moments and memories happen when opportunity meets preparation.  If you’re feeling scared or uncertain about making that reservation, don’t worry, I ‘ve got you.  Below are 9 simple safety tips to help you prepare for your first solo getaway.

1. Do your homework ahead of the trip.

Spend time researching destinations by surfing the internet to find news and travel articles about the safest neighborhoods and modes of transportation in each.  Being aware of things like local dress codes and customs in advance of arrival helps you to be better equipped as well.

2. Try to arrive in your destination during daylight hours.

Plan to do this if you’re visiting someplace new, and especially if you don’t speak the local language. Things like signage visibility, distance and depth perception change after dark, all of which can impact your ability to follow directions and your ease of mobility. Also, sometimes service counters at airport or city information desks go on skeletal shifts or are not manned after regular business hours, which means it’s harder to ask questions of designated officials.

3. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish.

That’s a very British Commonwealth way of saying ‘stop yourself from penny pinching’ for the rock-bottom, cheapest accommodation if the location or building gives you the creeps when viewing it online (or when you get there). To help with place selection, avoid looking at hotel videos or images only. Use traveler-sourced photos and reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and YouTube too, and check others like HotelTonight if you need to make an on-the-spot booking change.

4. Pack a doorstop alarm or door wedge to secure your room.  

Since reading about one woman’s horrific attack in her locked hotel room, this precaution will be a 2019 addition for me, for sure. Whether you’re staying at an Embassy Suites, a 5-star property, or an Airbnb, you never really know how many people have access to your room key or how foolproof the deadbolt is. If you can take anything that prevents the door from opening inwards or gives you fair warning that someone is trying to enter, it’s worth the extra investment in my book.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for one, don’t worry. I wasn’t either. Thankfully, two gadgets came highly recommended from a FaceBook group of frequent travelers I’m a part of. The first is a called a Door Jammer, and the other one is a Wedge Door Stop. You can click on the images below to find them on Amazon, and the great thing is, neither of them is priced to break the bank!

5. Always be observant of your surroundings.

Even though you’re checking things out on the sly, walk around confidently, not tentatively, and with a sense of purpose. Most crooks are looking for easy targets and can sense fear.

6. Try to blend in.

Dress modestly so as not to attract undue attention. If your GPS or directional apps don’t work without WIFI or data, try not to pull out maps that mark you as a tourist in public locations. Write out directions before you leave your hotel instead. Also, join day tours when you can to sightsee within the safety net of a small group.

7. Know when to stop sipping those margaritas and martinis dah-lings.

Not going overboard with your alcohol intake is a good guideline for life in general, but it is even more important for a woman on vacation alone. A good night out is a good night out. However, it’s no secret that excessive drinking clouds our judgment and weakens our reflexes, which makes us vulnerable.

8. Avoid posting to social media in real-time. 

In this world of prolific social sharing, I know this might be the hardest bit of advice to swallow, but it just might be one of the most crucial ones to know. To a certain extent, Facebook check-ins and live Instagram Stories are like flashing neon lights. Think about it. If you’re by yourself and are tagging your exact location in real-time, anybody with a phone or device attached to the internet can find you and show up where you are.  Wait a day or two to post that picture at your favorite attraction or restaurant find, and if you absolutely must show your friends how much fun you’re having, tag the country only, not the exact city or hotel you’re in.

9. Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone trustworthy.

And check in regularly with a family member of friend at home. I always give my family a list of my flights and the hotels I’m staying when I take off alone. Also, I don’t have an international phone plan, but I only stay at hotels with free WIFI so I can hop on WhatsApp to call or text home FREELY and REGULARLY.


I hope these tips help alleviate some of your fears. But if they didn’t, you can read this related article for more inspiration: The benefits of traveling solo.

Disclaimer: The Amazon product links included in this post are affiliated, which means I have the potential to earn a tiny commission from qualifying purchases.

The benefits of traveling solo

People ask me all the time if I’m not afraid to travel solo. Usually, the three most common questions I get asked are:
Don’t you get lonely?
– Aren’t you afraid?
– Do you feel safe?

Most persons are curious because they are considering jetting off by themselves and aren’t sure what to expect or how to go about it. Others ask with admiration in their gaze, so it’s easy to guess they think people who explore on their own are just #TotallyBadAss. But since I always keep things real here, I’ve got to admit that a select few come at me with coy smiles on their faces and barely masked pity in their eyes. Why? Because they feel solo travelers live a joyless life that is lacking in close family bonds or friendships, lacking in love, and ultimately, lacking in substance.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m here to tell you solo travel can be very fulfilling. I have traveled with family, friends and loved ones, and will continue to do so as I’ve always enjoyed those trips immensely. However, I’ve also gone on trips alone and repeatedly had amazing experiences. There is no rule to stop someone from mixing things up and taking a holiday either way, depending on what’s most convenient.

If you’re trying to decide if you should let go of your inhibitions and just go for it, I encourage you to keep these benefits of solo travel top of mind.

Florida beach_Solo Travel

Trip planning is easier
You know what things you want to see and do, the type of accommodations you like to stay in, the dining experiences you enjoy, and the budget you have to work with. That means you get to side-step dramatic disagreements and lengthy decision-making emails or phone discussions as there’s no need to check in with multiple people to gain consensus. An added bonus is that you get to decide on the perfect timing of your getaway because there is no need to align time off.

You have total freedom
Part of the challenge of traveling with a buddy or in groups is that you don’t always get to be spontaneous or decide your own schedule. Whether you like to sleep late and skip breakfast, get up at the crack of dawn to go watch the sunrise, or do walking tours instead of soft adventure expeditions…on a solo trip, the ball is completely in your court. There are no mood swings, no guilt trips, and absolutely no drama. It’s just 100% pure self-indulgence!

It’s a great confidence booster
When you visit a foreign land, overcome cultural and language barriers, successfully navigate a totally different landscape, conquer a new public transportation system and still come back with amazing travel memories, you’ve undoubtedly stretched yourself. And going outside of your comfort zone always leads to personal discovery and growth.

You meet interesting people
When you’re traveling with a significant other, friends or a group, sometimes you end up being quite insular because the bulk of your interactions are with each other. It’s different when you’re on your own. People introduce themselves to you all the time, invite you to join them at their table if they notice you’re eating alone, or you simply make the extra effort to talk to people you don’t know. I can’t tell you how many persons I’ve met that way  – on tour buses, at an attraction, or over a shared meal. And believe me, some of their stories are just epic.

So seriously, there’s no need to be afraid of traveling alone. If you truly find yourself terrified of taking that first step,  ease your way into it by booking a small group tour. You’ll start the trip with strangers and likely leave with a bunch of new friends.

Looking for more inspiration? Forbes just published a list of 33 Best Trips And Tips For Solo Female Travel


Editor’s Notes:

In case you want to know my answers to the persistent three questions I get asked, you can see them below. I tend to give a variation of the following responses:

Q. Don’t you get lonely?
A. No. I get so immersed in the novel experiences, I don’t really have time to feel lonely.

Q. Aren’t you afraid?
A. Sometimes before the trip, I may feel a little anxiety about the unknown. But I’ve always believed that the fears I don’t face become my limits, so I get past them. Because fear is temporary, while regret lasts forever.

Q. Do you feel safe? 
A. Security, whether at home or abroad. is always a priority. The key to achieving that is to keep sharpening your instincts and routinely taking basic precautions to avoid potentially harmful situations.

Cool Travel Apps I still need to download

If you talk to me about most things web-based we can have a decent conversation. But ask me anything too techie that’s mobile-related and I am likely to sound – how should I put this delicately – planted firmly circa 2002. Other than my use of basic apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter, I am still one of the few people who primarily will use a phone to talk or send messages to family and friends, and to snap and edit pictures.

Photo credit: www.FreeSocialIcons.com
Photo credit: www.freesocialicons.com

No, I am not a complete dinosaur. And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I know there are many helpful and innovative apps that are only a few clicks away. I’m just extremely hesitant to turn over “complete access to my identity” in order to join the digital party.

Yet, I keep hearing about all the great travel tools that are available for free. I reckon I may have to break down my mental barriers soon to try a few. When I do, I feel these four apps are cool enough to entice me to hit download.


Findery is like a digital compilation of detailed post-it notes from travelers (Photo credit" Mashable)
Photo credit: www.mashable.com

Findery is a user-generated guide that helps you gain insights from travelers who have been in a destination before you. Quite different from a mere restaurant recommendation or hotel rating tool, it is a compilation of tips made up of unexpected, spontaneous and personal notes that enhance your local knowledge beyond what the regular guidebook says. Anybody with the app can add his/her own notes.

Available on iOS, Android, and Windows.

Hipmunk Hipmunk

Fundamentally a flight and hotel aggregation search tool, Hipmunk sets itself apart by including accommodation listings from non-traditional lodging platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway in its results. It also allows you to bookmark searches to return to them later. Its newest feature, “Discover”, gives users the option to research your trip according to vacation themes. So, if skiing, diving, or hiking is your objective it will help you narrow things down.

Available on: Android, iOS, Web


Photo credit: Screenshot by Joel A. Fineman/USN&WR

I was in NYC for a conference in September and I missed the free Global Citizen concert headlined by Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Beyonce and others because I had no clue it was happening. Perhaps if I’d had the Goby app such a royal travesty could have been avoided. Goby goes beyond listing attractions and eateries, and drills down to the minute detail of helping you find concerts, plays, and other events happening around you.

Available on Android, iPhone/iPad


Photo credit: Maps.Me website

The feature that appeals to me most about Maps.Me is that I’ve read you can download detailed maps ahead of time and use them at your destination- even without an internet connection. That’s great news for those of us who get annoyed with spotty Wi-Fi connections and who shy away from racking up huge roaming fees while overseas. I’ve also heard their maps are more reliable than Google Maps for places on the road less travelled.

Available on: Android, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry, iOS



I am a mood-driven eater so I rarely make dinner reservations well in advance of meal times. According to all reports, the OpenTable app seems perfect for persons like me because it would save us the hassle of walking and driving around a city in search of a decent restaurant to suit our then frame of mind. When I approach things that way, usually the lines spill out onto the sidewalk for the good places. With this app, I could use it to vet the hotel concierge’s recommendations before I leave the lobby and simply book my dining experience online.

Available on: Android, Amazon Fire, BlackBerry, iOS, Web, Windows Phone

Which ones would you recommend? 


I have exciting news!! My Travel Stamps has partnered with GPSmyCity to offer 20 FREE promo codes of one of their FULL VERSION city walk apps to my readers.  For a chance to win, all you have to do is go to the comments section below to tell me your predictions for the best travel apps for 2016 (one that is not already mentioned) AND if you have not already done so, also subscribe to my blog.  Winners will be selected on November 30, 2015.

Please note that the promo codes are good for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) only at this time. [And in case, you’re wondering, I am an Android girl so that’s the only reason they weren’t included in my list.]

About GPSmyCity:

The company makes popular apps that feature self-guided city walks in over 470 cities around the world. Each app contains anywhere from a few to over a dozen self-guided walking tours per city and each one enables you to explore the best sights and attractions on foot  – at your own pace. Yes, minus timelines and without distracting group members! For a list of cities that are covered, click here.

The app has been featured in major publications like The New York Times, Marie Claire, Philly Voice, TimeOutDubai and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others.