Some people are hesitant to travel by themselves that when they hear you’re planning a solo trip, they ask you questions about whether you think that’s safe to do. They’ll let you know in no uncertain terms that they would never travel alone.

Traveling solo can be an enriching experience. Thanks to movies and books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; it’s becoming more common to understand that traveling alone can lead to personal growth. Although it can be scary, you will be more likely to stretch yourself, do new things, and meet new people when you travel on your own.

While safety is still a concern, it always will be in life, even when you stay home. When you’re at home, you are more familiar with practices to keep yourself safe. These things have become so routine you likely rarely think of them.

When traveling alone, you need to develop new safety routines to help you avoid mistakes and keep your solo adventures fun. Here are some tips for mistakes to avoid while traveling solo and making the most of your travels.

A wonderful tool in planning any trip abroad, is to check travel advisories for your intended destination. The U.S.Department of State offers a free online service that allows you to see the world at a glance and check for realtime notices geared towards safety. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

 

Trust Your Instincts

This piece of advice is twofold.

First, it means don’t miss out on fun things you want to do.

Do you suddenly have the urge to cancel on the tour you were planning on scheduling and hopping on a bus to a nearby town instead? Do you want to hit up that awesome looking restaurant you walked past earlier instead of the place you saw in your guide book?

Traveling solos is the time to follow your whims. Not only will it teach you a lot about yourself and what you like to do, but you’ll find things you like a lot more than what you were initially planning before you got to your destination.

This piece of advice comes with another angle. Trust your instincts–if you feel like something is dangerous, don’t do it. Do you have a bad feeling about the street you were about to walk down? Turn the other way. Does the person sitting next to you give you a bad vibe? Look for an empty seat elsewhere, put on your headphones, or do whatever else your instincts are recommending to keep yourself safe.

 

Be Thoughtful About How You Pack Your Valuables

Use a passport wallet to keep your passport and visas in a safe place that is easy to grab when you’re at the airport. When you’re walking with all of your belongings, think about where you’re keeping things, especially your money. If someone steals your wallet, do you have more access to cash in another bag? Don’t keep all of your valuables in one place in case the worst happens.

 

Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

It’s easy to schedule too much into your days, especially at the beginning and end of your trip. Just because you’ve traveled far from home, it doesn’t mean you won’t still need rest. In fact, give yourself permission to relax sometimes. Don’t avoid your adventures and do this all the time, but a little rest can help you make the most of your days.

If you push yourself too hard, you run the danger of getting sick, being too irritable and sleep-deprived to enjoy anything you do, and of getting seriously homesick. Take a little rest and keep yourself in good shape. Practicing mindfulness and bringing attention to our fears can be a huge help in bridging the fear gap.