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Travel smart, travel safe: 15 safety essentials for solo travelers, plus tips from experts

Explore the world with peace of mind.
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Solo travel tips | Expert-approved products | More for your travels | How we chose | Meet our experts

Safety is always top of mind when exploring an unfamiliar place. It’s even more of a priority for solo travelers who don’t have the assumed safety that comes with numbers. But with the right tools, solo travelers can visit all of the destinations on their bucket list with peace of mind.

We spoke to travel experts who gave their tips for traveling on your own and even highlighted the best products to get you ready for your next adventure.

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Solo travel essentials

What to consider when solo traveling

Solo traveling can be intimidating, especially for newbies. Many people have a fear of sticking out as a tourist and getting lost in an unfamiliar area.

Our experts say that’s all a part of the experience.

“I don’t think there’s much use in trying not to stick out as you inevitably will unless you’re really comfortable with a place, speak the language, know all the local customs, etc...” travel content creator Anela Malik says.

Experts suggest taking the following safety precautions to make sure you have the best experience.

Always have an eye in the sky

While it may seem simple, sharing your location with friends goes a long way in solo travel. This can help give you (and your family back home) peace of mind as you explore the unknown.

Be sure to share your plans with your close circle. Sharing your itineraries with trusted people lets them know when you’ll be busy and when you plan to call it quits for the night.

“Folks have to know where you’re supposed to be to have any idea of where to start looking if you get off track,” Malik says. “I share my itineraries for trips in advance with my mom and friends so that if something happens and I’m just not on track — maybe I’m hurt or maybe I never showed up to my hotel — folks know where to start digging.”

Skip the real-time updates

While it’s tempting to show everyone what you're doing as you're doing it, save the social media posts for later. Alerting everyone on the internet that you’re away from home may make you vulnerable to robbery. Also, sharing your itinerary with anyone and everyone can allow people you know — and don’t know — to track you throughout your trip.

Our experts say another red flag is going live on social media when solo traveling. Malik says sharing your active location with the world can be dangerous because anyone the ability to follow you as you explore.

You may want to share your experiences but remember, social media is not just your trusted friends. It can be accessed by virtually anyone.

Budget for safety

While you may be tempted to save instead of splurge, remember safety comes first. When traveling alone, it’s better to spend a little more and book accommodations or transportation that ensure your safety.

“That might mean allowing a bit of extra money in the transit budget so you don’t have to walk in the dark or booking a hotel in a safer and slightly more expensive area if possible,” Malik says.

Solo travel without truly being “solo”

Making friends along the way not only makes you feel safer but also makes for a fulfilling trip, according to travel blogger Erin Holmes.

“It’s so fun to make friends as you travel and numbers reinforce safety,” she shares.

Do your research

Research online, read books and ask other travelers about any local crime concerns and safety tips for the places you plan to visit.

Our experts advise every U.S. citizen traveling abroad to register with The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, also known as STEP, before every trip.

The program allows any U.S. citizen traveling or living abroad to register their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to their destination.

This program is run by the State Department and provides safety updates when visiting a country. It also ensures the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that country has your contact information in case of emergency.

Be mindful of what you pack

Holmes tells travelers to be mindful of what they bring with them as carrying items like large cameras and expensive jewelry can make you more susceptible to scams or theft.

However, one piece of jewelry is vital to slide into your carry-on before you take off: a wedding ring.

According to Harvard Global Support Services, women perceived to be wives and mothers are less likely to be harassed in many countries. So they recommend wearing a wedding band on your finger and even sharing stories of a significant other back home — even if it's all fake.

While it may seem antiquated, seeming to be married or partnered may protect women solo travelers from potential gender-based violence.

Best safety products for solo travelers, according to experts

Greenpod Tungsten Wedding Band

What we like
  • Understated for travel
Something to note
  • Rose gold fades over time

Reviewers and travelers alike praise this product for its quality and durability.

"This started as my 'burner' ring for travel and intense activities, but I like it so much that I might just use it as my wedding band," one reviewer wrote. "It’s been in all different waters, beat up and worn for weeks and still has yet to tarnish. I also have very sensitive skin and have had no reaction whatsoever."

Life360 Platinum Membership

What we like
  • Real-time updates
  • Emergency contact features
Something to note
  • Free plan has restrictions

Holmes recommends Life360 to every solo traveler. The platinum membership plan features an SOS help alert and crash detection.

The plan also includes 50 miles of free towing if your car breaks down, a $500 stolen phone protection plan and the Tile starter pack to track all of your items.

"There is something very comforting about having someone know your whereabouts at all times," Holmes says. "It also acts as an emergency app and can let all parties know the percentage of your phone battery."

Birdie Personal Safety Alarm

What we like
  • Can distract an assaulter
  • Draws attention
Something to note
  • Can accidentally go off

Malik suggests solo travelers pick up a sound alarm before their next trip and this one is a personal favorite of hers.

"I also use and recommend a sound alarm like the Birdie Personal Safety Alarm," she says. "It’s small, will attract attention if you need to in an unsafe situation and you don’t have to worry about the legality of it like some other personal protection products."

Adventurous Kate Modern Bohemia Scarf

Looking for a more fashionable way to keep your items safe? This scarf is large enough to hold money and other valuable items. "This can hide all your documents without you sticking out like a sore thumb with a backpack," Holmes says.

The brand says it's even perfect for warm weather, too, with rayon fabric that's cool to the touch and protects your skin from the sun.

Pacsafe GO Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag

What we like
  • Spacious
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-theft technology
Something to note
  • Depth could be increased

A crossbody bag is Holmes' go-to for keeping documents safe when on the move.

Pacsafe's anti-theft crossbody has securable zippers and cut-resistant materials so you can walk around confidently knowing your items are secure. It even has a RFID-blocking pocket so your passport and credit card information are safe.

"Split things up. Keep originals in the safe at the hotel and copies in your suitcase and handbag, as well as digital copies on your phone and laptop," Holmes advises. "This also goes for credit cards. One in the handbag, one hidden in socks or somewhere in your suitcase."

Uber $100 Gift Card

What we like
  • Electronic
  • Works on Uber and Uber Eats
Something to note
  • Not a universal gift card

Our experts suggest solo travelers pay for Ubers or taxis instead of walking alone at night. This gift card will ensure you have enough in the budget to make that happen. An Uber gift card is also a great gift for the solo traveler in your life.

More safety products for solo travel

Hair Scrunchies with Zipper Pocket

What we like
  • Holds small valuables
Something to note
  • Zipper is visible

If you’re looking for something smaller to hold your valuables, these scrunchies are an ideal solution. This multifunctional accessory also gives you the ability to stash some cash in a discreet place.

“I took it when I went on vacation abroad. Had Chapstick and some emergency cash and, ironically, some hair ties in it. It wasn’t bulky or obvious,” one reviewer shared. “It made me feel much more secure. If I lost my phone or purse, I still had cash for a cab.”

Door Stop Alarm with 120DB Siren

What we like
  • Works well in hotel rooms
Something to note
  • Battery not included

TikTok has labeled this product “the thing they never knew they needed” for travel. The (very loud) siren goes off if someone tries to open the door. But don’t worry, it has an on and off switch so it won’t go off while you’re in transit.

“As a flight attendant who spends a lot of time in hotels, I use this as an alarm to put in front of the door inside my room,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “There have been so many stories I’ve heard of people opening other people’s hotel rooms, and I wanted something loud and annoying that’s going to alert me right away as soon as it’s cracked. It’s perfect.”

Portable Door Lock

What we like
  • Doesn't require tools
Something to note
  • May not fit cruise cabin doors

This TikTok-viral portable door lock is an easy way to add an extra layer of protection in hotel rooms or Airbnbs. But be mindful that while this lock is not a weapon, it may be flagged in an airport security screening.

“The quality of this product is excellent. I’ve used it several times in various doors and it works perfectly. It adds another layer of security when I travel,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “However, every single time I travel with it, TSA flags it on my carry-on and then I have to wait while they go through my bags, they always take it out and inspect it and ask me what it is. So I travel with it with the instructions, the bag and box it came in... Plan for a little extra time in TSA line to account for inspection time.”

Solar Charger Power Bank

What we like
  • Included cables
  • Wireless charging
Something to note
  • Excess heat will ruin battery

Having a charged phone is key to ensuring safety on a solo trip. While some products do allow your phone to be tracked even when it’s dead, its best to err on the side of caution and have a full battery.

Keeping a portable charger handy is the secret to staying safe and connected with family and friends. This power bank charges itself with solar energy making it convenient to juice up your phone.

Small Crossbody Sling Bag

What we like
  • "Functional and secure"
  • Won't give off tourist vibes
Something to note
  • Logo is visible

If you're looking for a chic and secure bag, associate editor Shannon Garlin has got you covered. She says this is her go-to when traveling overseas.

“This large (but not too large) crossbody bag has become the star of my latest trip abroad,” she says. “Not only did I get tons of compliments from friends, but also it fit everything I needed for a day exploring a foreign city, all while feeling secure!”

Lewis N. Clark Safebox Portable Safe 

What we like
  • Secure combination closure
Something to note
  • Not slash proof

Don’t let safety fly out the window on tropical adventures. This waterproof portable safe is designed for a day by the water. Reviewers have used this product on cruises, at the beach and the pool and they said it kept their valuables safe every time.

“I used this as a safe when snorkeling to store personal belongings (i.e. wallet, phone). It has provided the safety and peace of mind needed when underwater. Especially at this price point, can’t be beat,” one reviewer said.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag

This bag is so secure, it earned the Shop TODAY stamp of approval during last year's Travel Awards. It's designed to be worn close to your body, has a passport slot and even a locking mechanism for the main compartment.

Lion Latch

What we like
  • Fits on a key ring
Something to note
  • Too small for large jewelry

If you can’t part with your jewelry for a solo trip, you need to keep it secure. The Lion Latch took the internet by storm in the past year as a new way to store small jewelry on the go.

“I would recommend this to anyone who travels with jewelry. I felt way more secure than using small jewelry bags, boxes or plastic bags. My necklaces didn’t get tangled either,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “The clip is a great way to lock the container, is so cute and is pretty incognito clipped inside the key ring in my purse.”

Apple AirTags

What we like
  • Multipack
Something to note
  • Audio alert is quiet

Apple's AirTags have become a staple for any and every traveler. They can be used to keep track of luggage, wallets and other personal items. They're a personal favorite of associate editor Kamari Stewart for keeping track of her luggage when she's checking a bag.

"I'm always in fear that my checked bags will get lost or not make it on the plane with me, so being able to check on its location provides me a little more peace of mind when traveling," she says.


How we chose

We asked travel experts and fellow editors for their favorite safety items when traveling. We also sifted through thousands of customer reviews to find more options that shoppers can't stop raving about.

Meet our experts

  • Erin Holmes is a travel blogger sharing travel tips and nomadic lifestyle content.
  • Anela Malik is a food, travel and lifestyle content creator. Her platform Feed The Malik highlights travel accommodations and Black-owned restaurants.