50 Travel Safety Tips - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

Travel

50 Travel Safety Tips

By  

We’ve all been there. You’re in your room, almost naked, and room service or the maid walks in. It feels scary for a second, before you see their embarrassment and you squawk “later please” in your broken version of the local language. It makes you wonder, however, if someone else could come in just as easily.

50 Travel Safety Tips

I’ve done my fair share of traveling. From going to Tokyo as a teenager, to traveling Europe by myself and making new friends as I went, I was blissfully unaware of the dangers that existed. Luckily, I had common sense (and a worried mother), which likely helped me escape an incident or two.

It’s not always easy traveling as a woman, but you can make your sojourns safer by following a few (okay, make that fifty) of our essential travel safety tips:

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

70 Comments

  1. Catherine White

    Oh my gosh. So much drama in the comments section. This article is saying here’s how to be an adventurous woman and still be safe. An anti-feminist would write about to never travel alone or better yet, to never travel ever. Most of these tips work just as well for men; nobody, male or female should EXPECT to be robbed, killed, kidnapped or raped, but you know what IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY. So as unfortunate as it may be, in order to enjoy life one is better off knowing the safety tips.

  2. Emma Blackwood

    Can everybody stop with all the drama please? This article isn’t about whether women are weak, strong, smart, or dumb. It’s about how, as a women, you can take care of yourself when PEOPLE AROUND YOU are dumb, stronger than you, and can’t keep from breaking the law.

  3. Amanda Roberts

    I love the article, and I really appreciate that you care about our safety. But I can’t not say something about some comments… This isn’t saying that women are weak. It’s a reflection on the rest of society and the fact that women are targeted more frequently for violent crimes like assault and rape, especially when they’re alone. Women are not to blame if these things happen to them, but some women (like me!) may want to take precautions. You can be scared and still be a feminist.

    • Kimberly Thompson

      No offence but Yyu are ignorant. And worse, you are deliberately staying ignorant instead of choosing to educate yourself. Feminism does not deny that women are at greater risk for certain dangers. Feminism exposes, protests and seeks to change that fact.

  4. Frances Seifert

    Its a pity a woman has to do so many things to be safe. I saw comments about wearing a fake wedding ring? Seriously? This world is no place for women. :/

  5. Roberta Bennett

    As much as I love being a woman sometimes I wish I was born male instead female… 🙁

  6. Lynn Hayes

    It’s sad that there has to be articles like these but I really appreciate how this is written. It’s good to be informed as a woman traveling alone. Unfortunately some people see a lone woman traveler and will do bad things to her. It’s not an article stating women are weak! This is an informative article that is good for a future traveler.

  7. Diana Hewitt

    I find it absolutely disgusting that being a woman in today’s society we have to learn how to travel safe so we avoid harm. Instead of society teaching boys not to rape, we are teaching girls how to avoid being raped. Also half of the tips in this “guide” could be helpful to men too, so to label it as tips for women is completely ridiculous. I agree that anyone should know how to feel safe traveling, but when a woman has to go so far out of her way, and constantly be an alert simply because she is a woman, all of the fun that comes with traveling is ruined.

  8. Sabrina Grattidge

    Not sure why this has to be aimed strictly at women. We often forget that many countries across the globe are not as safe as the western world, but it doesn’t mean that caution shouldn’t be exercised by both men and women travelling abroad. Most of these are applicable to everyone.

  9. Sasha Rosswell

    Men need to read this so they can maybe start to understand the term ” male privlidge”. Not all of these things are really gender specific, but enough sadly are.

    • Jennifer McSween

      I know right?!!! Not hating on the article but this shouldn’t even have to be a thing!

  10. Amelia Beckons

    I always fasten everything I have to the chair I am sitting in with a wire and a snap. You don’t even need to lock it, if you just slow down a purse snatcher when they grab your stuff then they will let go and run away…or they take off with the chair too! You can also tie with rope, wind your purse straps around the back of the chair once. Of course I do this in the USA too. I travelled six months by bike and train through Europe alone, it was the best thing I ever did.

    • Kim Hartford

      Ha, I do it at the grocery—if I put my purse in the seat area, I put the little kid seatbelt through my purse strap and lock it. Anyone who tries to grab it will get the whole damn cart!

  11. Evelyn Sandler

    ***Don’t keep all of your ID’s in the same place. Keep a copy of your passport tucked away in case yours gets stolen, and keep some emergency cash tucked away with it.***

  12. Ayla Pennington

    Some general advice for both sexes: Having a friend that lives in the country you’re going to is a major advantage. When I was backpacking in the UK, I checked in with my friend every day, and he was my point of contact in case something went wrong. I’d say check out online sites like interpals.com and make some friends where you’re going. They can be really helpful not only with safety precautions but also awesome for recommendations on hotels, meals, trains, rental cars, things to see, etc.

  13. Sabrina Wellington

    Some of these seem a bit extreme, but as a woman who has travelled on my own some are definitely useful and things I’ve come across before going – I would carry a cheap bag with very little in, only around €30 in it and a cash bag with a bit more money plus my bank card down my bra in case my bag got stolen. I’d also put my mobile down my bra too for the same reason and look at maps / phone as little as possible or when I had stopped for lunch / a drink. Knowing I had very little in my bag to steal made me relax a bit more and be able to enjoy myself. Plus not looking at the map so much means you discover bits of the city by accident you might never have seen!! Solo travelling is so liberating and the best fun, I would advise anyone to try it!!

  14. Melissa Princeton

    I live in a pretty messed up neighborhood, so sadly I already have to do many of these. The best thing that worked for my safety, however, was cutting my hair and wearing looser/baggier clothing and other clothes typically meant for men. Now when I go out I am generally left alone. Now, I am non-binary, but I was born as female and presented as one while in the closet for many years, so I have firsthand experienced the fear of walking alone at night or even in daylight. After I started passing as male, it’s startling at how much safer I feel. It’s even gotten to the point where other people will cross the street when I’m walking by at night, so much is the fear of men in my neighborhood. It’s sad how horrible things like these to keep women safe are necessary in our day and age.

  15. Susanna Milton

    These are pretty useful tips for anyone travelling. Not just women. I’m sure guys also feel equally threatened/prone to attacks and theft while travelling.

    • Molly Twain

      Yes, most of these do apply to men as well, and everyone should be careful when travelling alone, especially in a foreign country. However, in many countries around the world there is very little respect for women as opposed to men. This does not necessarily mean that women are weaker or more vulnerable, but it does mean that they are often targets for theft or rape. So yeah, most of them can be used for both, but men are often less likely to have these troubles.

  16. Matilda Parker

    Interesting. And also confused. I traveled a lot on my own. Never got in trouble. Trust your instincts, be alert and relaxed at the same time, know who you are, get really loud if you have to, don’t be shy. But also be polite at the same time. And have the courage to slap the other person in the face by surprise if the situation would ask for it. Most people back off by surprise if you act differently than they would think you would.

  17. Felicia Stewart

    Where I live, taxis have a visible registration number on the door. I always make it a point to call someone during the ride and say, “I’m on my way, currently at XYZ street. I’m using taxi provider ABC and the registration number is 12345.” This way, the driver knows that someone knows exactly which taxi I’m in. Might come in handy for anyone travelling in Indonesia or anywhere where the taxi registration number is largely visible (which I assume is most places, but I’m not well-travelled enough to know).

  18. Lena Dzeko

    It’s so frustrating that as women we have to incorporate these defense mechanisms into our daily routines, and, sadly, many men are completely oblivious.

  19. Sonja Fallow

    It’s so incredibly sad that we have to think about our safety like this. A lot of my guy friends didn’t know that I think about things like this when I go places and just thought I was being ridiculous…

    • Jae Medina

      This reminds me of when my boyfriend asked why I always locked the car doors as soon as I got in. I had to explain to him that it’s out of habit because many predators look for younger or older women sitting in their cars to attack or rob.

      • Cassi Braun

        Men just don’t get it!! My ex got mad at me for being so furious that he was 30mins late meeting me, when we were doing study abroad, downtown at night…. on a street corner where I had been flashed a week before. He could not understand why I was so terrified and angry with him.

  20. Christina Norelli

    Both men and women can use these tips, but it’s a fact that everywhere women are more likely to be thought as prey than men.

  21. Although this article is very good and have personally used some of these tips when I travelled alone, it’s sad that we still live a world where such posts are needed and smart, capable women have to go through all this for a simple trip.

  22. Elin Hanks

    Not sure what other people’s thoughts are but I have met a couple girls who were given safety whistles before they went traveling.

  23. Debbie Jones

    Great tips! Very useful. Overall, I really enjoy reading your blog and being able to live vicariously through all our travels. I wish you the best of luck and safe travels always and to always have a good time! Tank you for being a travel blogger!

  24. Samantha Anthony

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog for the past few weeks and must say that I am very inspired to pick up traveling after I graduate from college. Your blog posts are so motivating and makes me want to know what it means to fully be alive in a world in which is hard to do so.

  25. Lucretia Asher

    I like to keep my essential documents (passport, tickets and the like) in a lightweight, nylon money belt that I only take off at night. Thanks for this good idea. I am 41 years old and have been traveling solo since my twenties. I prefer the freedom to go where I like, when I like, without compromise. I hope your blog will encourage women to try solo traveling.

  26. Dana Rosatti

    Liked your safety tips for female travelers. I agree with everything you said and would add that it is never a good idea to volunteer the info that you are solo. Years ago I was in a pub in the UK and a group of locals (couples) invited me to get my husband and join them. I said I was traveling alone and a hush fell around the table. I realized at that moment that they must have found me very foolish. No harm done in this case but it would have been better to say he was in the room resting! haha

  27. Nancy Musselman

    Really awesome safety tips for female travelers! Hope i can do what you do some day soon! 🙂

  28. Monica Collins

    Great tips here, Hilary! I’ve been travelling for 5 years and know that you can never get complacent about safety, so matter how experienced you may be. These are great tips for newbies and those well traveled. I always lock my valuables in my room, even if this just means locking them in my main backpack.

  29. Bethany Miles

    Lots of great tips here…and most are relevant to all travelers not just women, and not just women traveling solo. The one about dressing like a local is very true – the other dead giveaway that you’re a traveler to potential pickpockets is standing in a crowded place consulting a guidebook or a map. As you suggest….its much better to slip into a semi-private spot to consult a map or guidebook if you don’t want to paint a target on your back.

  30. Janet Roper

    I’m so glad I came across your blog. I’m currently in an office job and using all the holiday I have to travel. Thanks for the really helpful tips 🙂

  31. Ariana Rhyder

    Thank you for the great tips. Doing my first solo backpack trip to Europe in two months and a bit nervous and excited. Wish me luck! Everyone keeps telling me I’m crazy for going alone lol, I’m looking forward to making great memories and coming back to LA with awesome energy and stories 🙂

  32. Charleen Washington

    This is a treasure trove of info. You would think a lot of this is common sense but it is easy to lose sight of some things. Especially when you are vulnerable and in a new country. Having copies of documents is definitely also a good idea. Perhaps it is also wise to have an idea of where the nearest consulate or embassy of your country is if you need assistance.

  33. Shelley Donalds

    I am a big fan of the passport card as a back up document, especially when running or going to the beach. It is only the size of a drivers license and it is waterproof. It easily fits in a secret pocket in bathing suits or running shorts. So I can have a federal US id with me while my passport is locked away safe in my hotel or cabin of a cruise ship. The peace of mind is worth the extra $30 when I renew my passport.

  34. Deborah Henry

    I would suggest not to reveal too many things. In the past I’ve had other girls tell me all about their backpack content and the valuables. One must watch what we share with strangers as you don’t know what their intentions might be.

  35. Ingrid Winston

    The very first thing I do now is buy travel insurance. You never know what may happen to having a health and travel insurance is totally worth paying a bit extra (including trip cancellation, lost bags, medical checkups etc.) Luckily I’ve never had to use it but it was one less worry.

  36. Brenda Nelson

    It is almost like a checklist all females should read prior to traveling. It is also common sense! Love it! Big thanks.

  37. Winona Miller

    Totally nodding with each and every single tip, Hilary!

  38. Christina Cavanaugh

    Travel insurance is definitely important! I have terrible story because I have forgotten to do once…

  39. Rosemary Robles

    I’m glad I added this post to my favorites. It’s quite comprehensive.

  40. Catherine White

    Hi there Hilary,

    Loved this blog post! Although, I don’t travel alone to far away places, this post was very informative.

    I feel from reading your posts, that you are such a friendly and open person that it must be so easy for you to meet people along the way or at your point of destination.

    Overall, I really enjoy reading your posts and being able to live vicariously through all our travels. I wish you the best of luck and safe travels always and to always have a good time!

    Thank you for all the great advice!

  41. Danielle Wilson

    Brilliant tips, Hilary! I’ve been really lucky so far, nothing bad has happened to me on my travels. I do generally trust people, but hope that the instincts will kick in if someone dodgy ever comes along

  42. I found that getting up early to get photographs in Paris was a mistake to do on my own. The city was quiet, but alone I found myself the target of early morning scam artists. I decided it was better to take someone with me for those 6-7am shots that always end up being the best. I had three people “find” wedding rings, and not a policeman in sight. I was told later early mornings are as much of a target as late in the evening in some Paris spots. Criminals know people with expensive cameras like to get shots without crowds of tourists. Also in Belgium, as well as most of Europe, that cute small child begging does not need your money. Big brother or sister might be just waiting to see where you keep your cash. Children in most European countries are NOT starving, especially ones like Germany, France and Belgium. Yet there are always children begging there! For the Middle East, borrow a wedding ring. My daughter was horrified in Oman when she found women travelling alone in tank tops, shorts, and no wedding ring. She has worked there many times, never had an issue, but always dressed correctly and was “pretend” married until she was married. The wedding ring was recommended by the US State department for single women travelling in the Middle East.

  43. Awesome tips Hilary! I’m definitely bookmarking this for future use. I recently got into a discussion about solo travel as a woman with my father. According to him the world is a scary place. I beg to differ, so I’ll show him some of your tips!

    • I have that same “discussion” with my mother every time I bring up spending six months hiking the Appalachian Trail. She is convinced that some evil person is just waiting for me to start and they will make off with me because I “won’t have a man with me.”

  44. I love that you are inspiring women to travel independently! It’s wonderful in and of itself but I also love that independent travel also empowers us to embrace independence in other areas of life too. Thank you for keeping it real with the safety tips. There’s plenty of glamorous things to highlight about travel but safety obviously comes first. 🙂

  45. Fantastic tips Hilary! 🙂 I’d say the most important tips would be to try and blend. We all stick out in someway or the other Ha! Ha! but there’s a difference between looking like you’ve just arrived and looking like you’re an expat. I always try to act as if I know where I’m going, even if I don’t! Shoulders back, head up, wide stride, and fast walking with a purpose. Spend that extra dollar for your safety is really, really important. I try not to arrive at an unknown destination at night and if I do, I take a taxi LOL no matter what. I don’t walk through parks at dusk. If a hotel feels wrong, I check out ASAP. I’ve had that a few times where there was no one there. In August! I also used to ask people if we could walk together rather than walking alone. Don’t be shy if your safety is at risk. Quit the drinking. I’m a light weight. During my packbacking days I didn’t drink at all and when I did. Never, ever with strangers. You want to keep your wits about you at all times LOL! Hide a secret stash. I used to stuff money down my knickers and in my socks. Just in case. Also, if I needed to get a huge amount of cash, I would do this INSIDE the bank rather than OUTSIDE in full view. I would just face the wall and then stuff the cash in my knickers until I got to my hotel. It always worked LOL!

  46. Fantastic tips that are a great reminder to stay safe and aware, but not be paranoid about travel. These are all great ways to make sure that you feel comfortable.

    My advice to those who are reading this article, don’t misunderstand what Hilary Rowland here is saying! She’s not saying that traveling isn’t safe for women, especially if they’re traveling solo. She’s just giving tips so you can be safer!

    I haven’t traveled solo in a long time, and I’m looking forward to making arrangements for future travel plans.

  47. Researching your destination is SO important! That solves 90% of your problem and your trip can roll smoothly. I am also a seasoned solo traveler and I have to say that nothing helps more than trusting your instinct. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.

  48. Sharry Lennon

    Great tips, Hilary! I’ve learned over the years not to be a tightwad when it comes to my personal safety. If I’m arriving late to a destination or heading home alone from a night out, I’ll splurge for a cab if I don’t feel 100% safe in the area. Your safety and peace of mind are priceless.

  49. Thanks for these tips, Hilary! I agree with them all. Even when I am in my hometown and walking alone at night, I use the “walk confidently” strategy so I don’t look like an easy target. Another tip is for people to keep their smartphones tucked away when they’re walking in low traffic areas where an opportunist could rob them easily. Same for listening to music while you walk – it makes you an easy target.

  50. These are great tips! I just returned from a solo trip in Mexico and am glad to see that much of what you wrote here aligns with what I did. Safety is key when traveling, especially as a solo female, but if you do these things you will have the time of your life. I did!.

  51. Great tips! I travelled solo for the first time (properly) over the autumn and as a seasoned traveller I had learned some of these tips already.

    I certainly know to watch my alcohol intake: lightweight? Uh huh!

    I find packing light really helps, I feel much more confident without a huge, lumbering pack and on this last trip I used a small, carry on wheeled case so I totally blended in with the locals – it was a rail trip around northern Europe/Scandinavia.

    I research accommodation, I like to know exactly where the location is, how I can get there and whether it has lockers. I don’t want to spend all day with my laptop in my day bag!

  52. Get tips Hilary. In more dangerous cities, I don’t drink at all anymore because these days it seems I’m becoming a lightweight and a few beers might hit me, when back in uni days it was much more haha, so I don’t risk it. I think if someone is bad at limiting their booze, they should maybe skip it altogether. 😉

  53. I’ve been a victim of not expending extra money to be safe. I arrived almost at midnight to Bangkok and my hostel was within a 10 min walk according to Google Maps. I ended up being completely lost with my suitcase (laptop and camera included), my best non-Thai appearance and empty streets. Luckily an old man appeared out of nowhere and was kind enough to walk me to my hostel. I know it was pure luck that he wasn’t a serial killer.

  54. Gabrielle Williams

    Great tips! I’ll forward it to all my girlfriends. While I don’t want to be scared while traveling, it’s so important to know these things. They’re easy to do and just might save you from being robbed or raped. I’ll insist that my girlfriends read it. I love them too much not to!

  55. Jen Spillane

    Have you seen the movie Taken? Lesson learned from that is: don’t let anyone know where you’re staying, and make sure you’re not followed.

  56. Really, really useful tips! I would have to agree with selecting a place in a busy part of town. Doing personal research of the place is the key to a safe travel 🙂

  57. Great tips! I believe technology plays an important role in ensuring a safe travel. Because of technology, I can always do my research at least a month before my travel. I make sure to read personal blogs and pertinent government agencies info on my destination.

  58. Hannah Mayers

    I have had out of the country trips alone, both for work and relaxation. 2 weeks before leaving, I make sure to do my research! If it’s work-related and paid by my employer, I usually don’t have problems because everything is set — from flights to hotel accommodations to itinerary… everything. But if I travel for pleasure, I do 1-2 months of research. I just don’t book or buy tickets or reserve hotels. But I research first. I check on other people’s insights and experiences on the place I want to go to and learn from them. I even check currency exchange.

    … And yeah! I make sure not to look as tourist 🙂

  59. Joanne Samonte

    Sometimes, we get too excited when traveling that we tend to overlook at safety issues. This is a really helpful article, Urbanette! Thank you very much! You’re the best 🙂

  60. Randie Cadiogan

    Wow, great list for my next trip! 😀 

  61. Courtney Watson

    I usually research about a place before going there. I usually prepare printouts (but nowadays, with the help of modern technology), I have my research saved on my smartphone. I think it greatly help to ask the locals for help and it would be to your advantage if you can speak their language a little.

  62. Andrew Givens

    I definitely think dressing down is a “great” advice. A friend went to Malaysia once, strutting her jewelry in the streets (as if she wasn’t noticeable enough with her very blonde hair and abnormally white skin). To make long story short – she was robbed. 🙁

    ALWAYS BE SAFE!

  63. Angela Davis

    Very useful article! THANK YOU!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *