14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel
Sep 15, 2015
Since travel played such a large role in my journey from grief to joy as a new widow, I have blogged almost weekly on the subject in the five months since I created my website. I listed what I had learned from the past six years of travel, and I had few readers when I got started. I am concluding this series with a revision of my first blog—this time with links to each of the blogs that I have written since. I have also inserted links to two additional blogs, where I expanded on previous tips.
Have you lost your favorite travel buddy? If you have never traveled alone, don’t despair. I have traveled around the world on my own since my husband died, and you can too. Your husband may have managed more or less of your travel arrangements than mine did, so your list of unfamiliar new tasks—I call them the chores of widowhood—may be different from mine. Here are 14 tips to get you started.
- Find a friend with similar interests and budget OR join a nonprofit organization with a strong travel program OR select an experienced travel agent who can recommend appropriate tour operators.
- Try baby steps at first. Start out by spending a few days alone in a familiar city before or after joining friends or family on vacation.
- Take necessary pre-trip precautions such as canceling the paper and securing the house.
- Assume that no one will help you with your luggage. Carry no more than you can handle and lift by yourself.
P.S. More about carry-on’s.
- Embrace technology. Your smart phone and tablet can be your best friends—alarm clock, calendar, reservations, flight update, electronic boarding pass, map, books, newspaper, camera, weather report, flashlight, currency converter and language translator—as well as your 24×7 communication link.
- Spend more on hotels and transportation if necessary to assure your safety and comfort. It costs less for one to travel than for two.
- Determine hotel in-room amenities in advance. If there is no in-room safe, leave valuables at home.
P.S. Check current hotel conditions before booking.
- Plan your after-dark activities carefully. Are there restaurants near the hotel? Does the hotel have a restaurant and room service? Are cabs available and safe?
- Make all important reservations in advance and organize all your confirmations and other travel documents for easy access.
- Keep emergency contact and medical information in your billfold or purse.
- Invest in a cross-body purse for travel, sightseeing and shopping to free your hands and discourage purse-snatchers.
- Check the expiration dates on your credit cards, debit cards and passport. Copy the numbers in case of loss.
- Carry lots of one- and five-dollar bills for tips. As a rule, tip 20 percent in the U.S.
- Sign up for Global Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.
If you are a seasoned solo traveler, what tips will you share?
What have you learned by trial and error?
If you are a novice, what questions and concerns do you have?
If you have a special travel experience to share, please pass it on.