Consular Affairs released these safety instructions mainly for women travelers, but the tips really apply to both genders and should be followed regardless of whether one’s a seasoned traveler or if they’re heading out of the country alone for the first time.
The government agency also says it’s important to give someone a copy of your travel itinerary and let them know where you will go, what cities you will visit and what hotels and hostels you’ll be staying in. If your plans change, let someone know. There have been many reports of lone travelers going missing without a trace once they deviated from their pre-planned itinerary and never told anyone.
People traveling alone should also schedule days to check-in with a friend or family member, so others know your current location and that you’re doing okay. However, Consular Affairs also says if you take this particular safety measure, its important you don’t miss a check-in appointment, since missing one will most likely spark immediate worry.
It’s also key to remember to be mindful of how you dress when traveling, say experts, and be sure you’re not wearing expensive looking jewelry or clothes that make you stand out. This is especially important for Americans to remember, as in many countries Americans are stereotyped to be well off with loads of credit cards, money and electronic gadgets on them.
Also, women in particular should be hyper aware of dressing in a way that doesn’t make them stand out, as certain outfits could offend someone of a different culture, who may do more than just roll their eyes.
Experts also say women travelers should be especially aware of local customs when traveling abroad, as there have been reports of lone female travelers getting harassed, groped and even worse for merely speaking to a man directly and looking him in the eye. In some places this can be a sign of being flirtatious or disrespectful, experts say.