Here's How To Be Safer While Traveling Alone

"Solo traveler safety" probably isn't the sexiest phrase ever uttered, but it is an essential mindset for anyone embarking on an adventure alone. Even though traveling solo allows you to discover as much about yourself as the places you're visiting, that added freedom comes with the price tag of being responsible for your own actions and well-being. So with that in mind, let's consider some practical tips for staying safe while on the road, whether your destination is across the country or overseas.

The first step is to build a health kit for common medical emergencies, as recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). As silly as it may seem, having a few essentials like aspirin, Band-Aids, antiseptic spray, Pepto Bismol, or whatever you need on hand to keep you comfortable, could make the difference between an awesome and an awful trip.

Solo travelers should share their itinerary with friends

The next safety step for traveling alone is to devise a plan to protect your travel documents. According to Carol Margolis, founder of Smart Women Travelers, the general rule of thumb is to keep your passport and other identifying documents with you at all times along with a list of important names and numbers, like your local embassy if you're traveling overseas (via U.S. News & World Report). Snap a color photo of all your identification in case those items get lost or stolen and you have to verify your identity to hospital or law enforcement personnel (via U.S. News & World Report).

Cailin O'Neil, a Canadian-based travel blogger, also recommends avoiding evening travel (via Orbitz). Instead, always arrive at your destination during daylight hours so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout of your accommodations and the exteriors surrounding the building in case of emergency. It is always best to be prepared with an escape route in case of fire or terrorist attack.

Another great tip comes from Kate McCulley, founder of the travelogue Adventurous Kate, she says, 'It's also a good idea to have a trusted friend or loved one have a copy of your itinerary and know where you'll be and when. Don't forget to let them know if you're going somewhere with limited internet so they don't worry about you" (via Orbitz). Call that person at least once a day to confirm your well-being and make sure they know how to contact you if you're unable to check in each day. Charge your phone each night, and carry a power cord with you so that you never have to worry about power outages.

When traveling alone remain alert

On the other hand, don't broadcast the fact that you're traveling alone to strangers. Today show consumer correspondent, Vicky Nguyen, recommends, "If you're riding the elevator with a stranger, let them press their floor number first. If it's the same as yours, go up another level just to be safe." She also adds that it is best to stay on the upper-level floor of a hotel with 24-hour staff as an added buffer between you and a threat (via Today).

Some of the more standard safety tips also bear repeating, like keep your bags with you at all times when en route to your destination, and make sure that valuables are securely stored. This includes cash, which shouldn't be flashed around. In fact, store money in more than one place. Pickpockets are pervasive in crowded tourist areas, so it is a smart idea to have extra cash available (via Today). Plus, not all vendors take credit cards.

Finally, stay alert and sober so that you can rely on your intuition. If you have a feeling that something may be amiss, trust your gut and leave the vicinity as quickly as possible. Avid hiker and travel photographer Elena Burnett says, "Don't be hesitant or afraid to take defensive action if you feel uncomfortable or threatened" (via National Geographic). Better to be safe and explore other options than put yourself in jeopardy when away from your normal support system.