Safety While Traveling Abroad, Solo



Abby Lister -Safety While Traveling Abroad Solo

All I could remember was the creaking of the hotel door opening while asleep in my single room. The sudden adrenaline that lifted the jet lag fog from my brain as I glimpsed a man entering my room. I yelled as he headed in and he immediately exited the room with a slam. I wish I could tell you that was the beginning of a cheesy horror flick but this really did happen to me. My heart is racing just thinking about it. 

I traveled by myself for a week in England before meeting up with Abby, the author of the Abby List. I often travel by myself and I have a few set rules.  PS I am not 20 and am very cautious! This helps you understand why I do what I do. 

Preparing: I have a money belt hidden at my waist. In this waist belt I have the following:

1. passport in a Ziploc bag

2. vaccine card (especially useful when entering countries that require Hep vax or other vax – before some trips I have felt like a pin cushion)

3. credit/debit card

4. number for the US Embassy – (depending on the country I register myself as in country visiting)

5. local cash – You can always buy some from the bank before you go- my bank is really good about this. My bank also reimburses ATM fees worldwide. I don’t have to take much with me because I can get what I need once I am there.   Shout out to FRB! 

Sharing Travel Information 

I always give a family member a copy of my passport and have my phone on Find A Friend and share my location. I share my flight information and itinerary with family members. My family also asks that I check in every day (some older movies motivated these travel preparations. The Net with a young Sandra Bullock and Taken with Liam Neeson). 

Arrival to a new place 

The first day I acclimate to the time change and or travel jet lag if any. I eat local within two blocks. The second day I wake up early and set out to explore a museum where I can self pace . Each day I get up early and have a plan of what I am doing, know my route, my transportation and cost (now I download my travel apps before I go) and make my sightseeing plans where there are lots of people. If I need money, I prepare and place some in my pocket before leaving – not take it out of my money belt for all the world to see at the time of purchase. I usually get to the room by 10pm if can, to avoid the darker side of some destinations. You can almost hear your mom saying, “Nothing good ever happens after 10pm.”  Pick pockets and thieves are always watching

Once in Barcelona on the metro, I made a rookie traveler mistake. I was checking my flight info on my iPhone in front of everyone and then zipped it in my jacket pocket as I moved to stand in front of the doors to exit. A clean cut college aged kid “reading a book” started unzipping my jacket pocket where my phone was as we were pulling into the station. It was obvious I was distracted waiting to exit. Thank goodness my jacket zippers were loud and I grabbed my zipper and bumped into him hard and fled the metro at my stop. This was the only time I came close to getting anything stolen. I was lucky I did not lose my phone. 

Back to England, I was switching rooms because Abby was coming and I was checking out of my single room into a triple room. I noticed the guy at the reception desk was none other than the late night door opener. I guess he used the single room to take naps in. He tried to give me a dungeonous room in the basement area for the switch to the triple room I reserved (more spacious for a few $$ more)! Needless to say, he gave me an upgrade after I mentioned that he did break into my room. It is amazing how a 3rd floor room with a view became available. 

Upon Abby’s arrival we switched rooms and and I shared my story with Abby and of course she came armed with a portable door lock (similar to this one for home, hotel, apartment, and college dorm doors Now I carry one with me whenever I travel solo . It blocks people from opening the door from the outside even if they have a key but you can safely get out.

All in all it ended well. 

There are many more quirky things I do when I travel solo but these are the main safety tricks I do every time I travel. 

Does anyone have any travel safety tips you want to share? Leave them in the comment section on the blog page under the article. 

Safe Travels

Susan Sawczuk
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Eddie Grassi
Eddie Grassi
1 year ago

Excellent travel safety tips from a seasoned globetrotter, Susan Sawczuk!

Trish Althaus
Trish Althaus
1 year ago

So many great ideas and a lot to think about. Thanks for the insight! Happy travels.

Harvey Althaus
Harvey Althaus
1 year ago

Thank you for the great safety tips while traveling abroad. These ideas work for family traveling as well.

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1 month ago

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