Traveling is a great way to meet people from all over the world and experience new cultures.

As wonderful and intriguing the world can be, travelers must also be aware of potential security risks when visiting other countries.

Additionally, cultural norms in other parts of the world require a different form of dress in order to respectfully enjoy yourself as a tourist and makes those around you comfortable.

Hear from the following entrepreneurs, authors and writers on how they stay safe when they travel.

1.)    Be aware of your surroundings

travel solo

Whether you travel for leisure or business, it is important to research the country and area where you stay.

Map out and plan your stay around your schedule. Pick places to eat before you head out and know where the nearest hospital, clinic, and police stations are located.

Familiarize yourself with the city and the street blocks where you will be spending most of your time.

Jamie Gibbs says,

“situational awareness is key, especially for women. I’m more apt to carry a cross body purse, with my keys and cell phone in hand. I’m also careful to avoid parking garages, empty stairways, and going out after dark.”

2.)    Keep valuables safe and readily available

Cross Body Bag

Knowing where your valuables are at all times and keeping them in a safe place doesn’t have to be based strictly on the security level of the visiting country.

Traveling requires your attention for tasks such as booking hotels, flights, researching where you want/need to go, etc.

Athena Valentine says,

“When I traveled abroad for school… I left my passport locked in a safe in the hotel if I didn't need it to access certain landmarks (I was in Israel and their security is pretty tough)."

You can still carry identification, but if you know you won’t need it, ask your hotel or property staff if there are safes for your room available.

If your lodging doesn’t already come with a safe, ask for the best place to store valuables or important documents.

3.)    Dress accordingly

traditional dressh

In addition to non-verbal gestures, some countries have differing cultural norms that also apply to the way you dress.  

Sarah Li-Cain says,

“Some countries are very conservative, so dress accordingly. And it depends on regions too. For example, in Malaysia parts of Borneo are more conservative, so I made sure never to show my shoulders, but in Kuala Lumpur it was a bit more acceptable.”

Knowing the culturally acceptable dress code for certain countries will ensure a smooth visit. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and Sudan may even fine you for not adhering to their dress code.

Other countries like Buthan or India may be more lenient toward tourist and their dress code, however adhering to their cultural norms is a great way to be respectful and embracing of the community.

4.)    Stay in constant communication

Erin Lowry says,

“I always let someone know my itinerary when traveling solo. When my husband and I used to leave our dog Mosby with a sitter, I would always let our friends in NYC (where we live) and my parents know who had Mosby and how to get in touch with that person. I had a fear that something would happen to us and no one would know how to go get Mosby.”

Whether you are looking out for your pets, or simply let family and friends back home know your whereabouts, it’s a smart idea to stay in constant communication with loved ones.

This can ensure that everyone is up to date in case of emergencies.

You can also download location-tracking apps and share your location with family and friends to make them feel better and keep you safe.

5.)    Keep personal information private

Breanne Reish says,

“Do not tell anyone where you are staying, do not say your room number out loud.”

Keep personal information private unless it is absolutely necessary to disclose it. Provide personal information only for things like reservations, or to trusted friends or colleagues.

When you are about town, be mindful of who is round you. If possible, be part of large group outings, this tends to be more fun and safer for your visit.

If you made a connection with a Pen Pal from the visiting country, feel free to ask them for recommendations and local info that will help you better navigate the city you will visit.

Whether you are looking to make friends from all over the world or business partners, solo traveling does not have to feel so lonely.

Connect with friends from around the world and keep these travel safety plans in mind. Having a well-planned trip will give you a better sense of security and a greater appreciation for your time in the visiting country.