Don’t become a target while traveling alone.

A tragic story in the news told of a 33-year-old married mother of two, Sarai Sierra of Staten Island, New York, being murdered while vacationing alone in Turkey in February 2013.

While traveling alone definitely has its advantages, including being able to go where you want and when you want, there can be safety concerns that aren’t quite as crucial as when you’re traveling with a group of people. But if you want to travel alone, there are steps you can take to improve your odds of staying safe.

Check out this article “How Can I Stay Safe While Traveling Alone?” for some interesting pointers, including a few from the U.S. State Department.

Following are a dozen tips for traveling safely while alone:

  • Give family members and friends your complete itinerary and keep them updated during your trip.
  • When possible, select a hotel room on the third to the fifth floor.
  • Learn exactly where all the exits are in your hotel, especially near your room.
  • Don’t discuss your room number in the hotel lobby or elsewhere.
  • Dress casually – not flamboyantly, which can draw attention to yourself – and according to the local custom. Blend in as much as possible.
  • As you exit your hotel room, leave a note that says where you are going, who you’re planning to meet with and when you expect to return.
  • Stick to public, well-lit areas. Know the neighborhoods in which you’re traveling so that you can stay out of areas where crime is higher.
  • Visit the same restaurant several times in order to make friends with the staff.
  • Beware of common pickpocket tricks, including the one where someone “accidentally” bumps into you.
  • Always be alert to your surroundings. Know when you’re being followed and how to get safely away.
  • Learn basic self-defense moves.
  • Know at least the key phrases in the local language, including the word for “help.”

Have you ever traveled alone in the U.S. or in a foreign country? What precautions did you take? Which precautions do you wish you had taken? Did you encounter any safety issues during your trip? I’d love to hear from you about this.

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