8 Important Safety Tips for the Solo Traveler

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time daydreaming about travel, but being single, I would have to make it a girls’ or solo trip. While I’ve always fantasized about going to Mexico by myself, I can’t help but wonder: How safe is it? I decided to speak with an expert to learn how the solo traveler can plan a safe but fabulous globe-trotting adventure. John Golicz is the CEO and founder of the largest series of consumer travel shows in the U.S. Today and tomorrow, thousands of travelers will connect with the world’s top travel providers at his event, the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. While setting up the show yesterday, Golicz shared the following helpful tips with me.

  1. Book a hotel rather than an Airbnb. While Golicz acknowledges that Airbnb is a great affordable lodging option, he says that if you’re traveling alone, you might want to stay in a hotel. “Airbnb is not always a secure option. Hotels have built-in security programs. There is a key card, security staff—there are cameras. There’s a built-in safety scheme that Airbnbs do not have. Also, you can never tell what type of neighborhood the Airbnb is going to be in. You could get there and realize it’s in a seedy area.”
  2. If you don’t feel comfortable someplace, move. “The thing that I always tell my daughter when she travels is ‘security first,’” Golicz says. “If you’re not comfortable staying in a place, get out. Go with your gut. Trust your instincts.”
  3. Get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. Airports are crowded with people, and Golicz recommends moving as quickly as possible to the secure area of the airport.
  4. Always select your own taxi. “Do not ever let some stranger pick your taxi for you,” Golicz advises. “If someone offering a ride seems sketchy, move on. When you get into a taxi, make sure the person’s face looks like the one that’s on the photo at the front of your car.”
  5. Snap a photo of your hotel’s info. At most hotels, there is stationery with the hotel’s address, name, and phone number. Take a photo of that so you can refer to it on your phone. Golicz also says to take a picture of the street that it is on, so later if you’re lost, you’ll know where to go. “Take a picture of the map, the subway stop of the hotel—whatever you may need to remember in the future,” Golicz says.
  6. Store important documents in the cloud. While it’s good to have hard copies of your passport and banking information, Golicz recommends storing all essential documents in the cloud. This way you can go to anyplace with Internet and print out the documents.
  7. Consider booking a travel experience with a tour company. A wonderful way to travel alone is by booking a trip with a travel adventure company. “Pick up a tour that has about 10 to 15 people, and you can do all sorts of things. Experiment with cooking in a local kitchen, stay someplace unusual, do a little hiking, make friends—it’s a really cool way to experience things,” Golicz says. He recommends searching for adventures that will have like-minded travels: “You don’t want to be single and go on a trip with a bunch of couples.” G. Adventures, Goway, and Gate 1 are his favorite travel experience companies.
  8. Use apps to make your trip seamless. HotelTonight and SkyScanner are two of Golicz’s go-to travel apps that he recommends using for finding quick, affordable hotel rooms and to streamline air travel. He also says to “make sure you have the airline’s travel app. It’s the best resource to find up-to-date information on your flight.”

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Have you traveled by yourself? What are your tips for staying safe?