Travelling Alone? These 16 Mistakes Could Ruin Your Trip

November 29, 2016 6 min read



Are you considering travelling alone?


It's not for everyone, but setting off to see the world by yourself can be quite liberating.

Travelling by yourself means that you won't be held back by other people's agendas. This allows you to go to the places that YOU want to see, stay there for as long as you want, and then move onto the next place.

But travelling alone does come with its challenges. For starters, you won't have anyone by your side keeping your bag safe, or helping you navigate a foreign city when you're lost.

And the confronting reality is, that if you make one or two small mistakes it could ruin your trip.

So how do you avoid making these mistakes, and enjoy your solitude without worrying?

Here are 16 common mistakes people make when travelling alone, that you can avoid with some simple awareness: 


1. Booking hotels with no reviews

Before you book accommodation for your next trip, try to be smart about researching.

With sites like TripAdvisor you can get an honest review from real guests, at just about any hotel in the world.

So don't make the mistake of booking a hotel without reviews, or customer feedback. It could prove a costly mistake.



    2. Not adapting your behaviour to the culture

    Every country in the world has subtle differences in their culture. These differences could relate to food preference, acceptable behaviour, or even clothing choice.

    If you don't appropriately adapt to the culture, two things could happen that any solo travel will dread:

    • You could stand out like a sore thumb, becoming a target for theft
    • Or even worse, you could offend the locals and get yourself in hot water

    To be safe, learn about the culture before you go and become as accustomed as you can.



    3. Walking down the street with a map open

    Travelling alone - carrying a map

    In most major cities there are going to be thieves... It's just the way of the world.

    These thieves are typically on the look out for tourists that they can target, because you are perceived to be more vulnerable.

    So if you're travelling alone, do everything you can to NOT look like a tourist. Walking down the street with a map wide open sends alarm bells off straight away!



    4. Listening to music with both headphones in

    Listening to music with both headphones on

    It's important to have your wits about you at all times so that if anything does happen, you can act quickly and avoid dangerous situations.

    That means being alert and aware of your surroundings. If you are listening to music on your phone or iPod with both earphones in, you open yourself up to vulnerable situations.



    5. Sleeping on trains

    Sleeping on a train while Travelling alone

    Much like the tip above about not wearing both headphones, sleeping on public transport can present an opportunity for anyone looking to steal your belongings. Especially when you don't have a buddy next to you to keep an eye out.

    The important thing with all of these tips is to stay aware and do everything you can to reduce dangerous situations. 



    6. Taking rides from unlicensed cars

    With the rise of services like Uber, the line between licensed and unlicensed cars is becoming more and more blurred by the day.

    But that doesn't mean you should just jump in any old car and trust anyone. Make sure you are aware of exactly what car you getting into before you do, because if it is unlicensed it may not be safe.



    7. Carrying too much cash

    Travelling alone with too much cash

    Carrying too much cash is never a great idea, whether you're travelling alone or not.

    If you can get by with card payments as much as possible, it will safeguard your money and reduce the chance of people stealing from you. If someone steals your card, you can simply call up your bank and cancel it.



    8. Not knowing where your embassy is

    Before you go on your trip, make sure to find out where your country's embassy is in any cities you plan on visiting. It's easy to do, and will be a HUGE help if anything does happen to go wrong.

    DFAT have a worldwide list of Australian embassies and consulates here



    9. Sharing personal info (like your room number) with a stranger

    This might seem like a straightforward one, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to let your hotel room number slip in a conversation with someone.

    Just be careful about who you are talking to, and what information you give up to them. Thieves or other dangerous locals can be pretty crafty when trying to manipulate a tourist into giving up the information they are looking for.

    If in doubt, don't reveal your personal information to anyone.



    10. Walking around at night alone

    It's hard to know exactly where the "not so friendly" areas are in most cities.

    Sometimes you might be walking down a well-lit, high-traffic street, and then before you know it you've stumbled into the exact place you don't want to be.

    You can ask the staff at your hotel and do some research before you arrive, but the best way to stay safe while travelling alone is to avoid walking by yourself at night.

    If you absolutely have to, stick to well-lit areas and try to blend in with the locals.



    11. Staying on the ground floor of a hotel

    Sometimes you may not have a choice of where you stay at a hotel, but if you do, steer clear of the ground floor.

    The ground floor is the easiest place for thieves or other people to get access, and subsequently they are the rooms that get broken into the most.



    12. Staying in conjoining rooms (even if they seem locked)

    If you are travelling with friends or family, conjoining rooms are a great way to keep your privacy while still staying close and sharing the experience.

    However, when you're travelling alone there is no reason to stay in a hotel room with another room attached. It may seem locked and secure, but if there is the slightest chance of someone getting through that door it's best not to take the risk.



    13. Having an easily “slash-able” bag

    Modern luggage technology is making it harder and harder for thieves to strike a traveller, and ruin your trip.

    With things like RFID blocking technology to protect you against identify theft, and slash proof bags - your things are much safer than they used to be.

    If you're travelling alone, invest in a slash proof bag to help protect your belongings and above all else, give yourself piece of mind.

    We have a range of anti-theft bags  here at Zoomlite, like the one below:




    14. Getting too drunk

    Not everyone likes to have a drink while they're travelling, but if you do it's important to think about your limits.

    Getting too drunk can make you extremely vulnerable, because you lose the ability to make smart or rational decisions.



    15. Telling everyone you’re travelling alone

    One little trick solo travellers use to stay safe is to make it sound like they are actually travelling with other people.

    You don't have to flat out lie to everyone, and turn it into an elaborate story. But just try to be discrete about who you tell that you are travelling alone. The less people that know, the less chance there is of someone taking advantage of your situation.



    16. Not knowing where you are going

    Getting lost while travelling alone

    It's very easy to get lost in a place that you've never been before. So if you don't plan exactly where you are going and become familiar with it, you could end up in a part of town that you don't want to be in.

    Once you're lost, the first tendency is probably to pull out a big map - that makes you look like a tourist. And if you still can't find your way to where you need to be, all of a sudden nightfall hits and you're stuck in a very sticky situation.

    Be planned, and make sure you know exactly where you are going at every important milestone of your trip.



    Travelling solo can be the type of experience that expands your horizons, opens your eyes to new opportunities, and enables you to meet some amazing people all over the world.

    But don't take your safety for granted.

    When you plan your next trip and you're going to do it solo, try to avoid making these 16 common mistakes.

    Do you have experience with travelling alone? What mistakes have almost ruined your trips?

      About to head off on a trip...

      Whether travelling for business for pleasure, the Ultimate Packing list is an exhaustive checklist of everything you could ever need on a trip. This free download will help even the most forgetful to take what they want and not leave anything behind.

       Get the Ultimate Packing List

      2 Responses


      December 18, 2017

      I’ve travelled on my own in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia. Some of these things apply even in a group. some risks you just have to take. I’ve slept on public transport- head on pack- because I needed to sleep. The one thing I’ve always done is be clear someone is expecting to meet me and we’re in contact with each other. I’ve benefited from the kindness of strangers and had amazing experiences. My advice, just do it, you have one life to live, LIVE it. Most people with concerns actually haven’t traveled by themselves, be aware if you surroundings and listen to your instincts.


      December 10, 2016

      Good article, but if make your travel memorable then you’d take little risk.

      Leave a comment

      Comments will be approved before showing up.

      Also in Zoomlite Australia - Blog

      5 Bags Every Man Should Have
      5 Bags Every Man Should Have

      September 15, 2020 5 min read

      The sight of a man with a bag other than a briefcase was once a rarity, but attitudes towards men’s accessories have changed. What was once a nearly taboo trend – man bags – has turned into one of the most popular
      Read More
      What is Ultraviolet Light and How Does it Work as a Disinfectant?
      What is Ultraviolet Light and How Does it Work as a Disinfectant?

      September 01, 2020 8 min read

      It’s normal to be more concerned about sanitation and disinfecting during a pandemic. But not all methods are created equal. Learn all you need to know about ultraviolet disinfection, how it works and how to use it correctly below
      Read More
      What the New Normal of Travel Could Look Like
      What the New Normal of Travel Could Look Like

      August 10, 2020 6 min read

      We’re living in times where the ‘new normal’ for life is being redefined daily. COVID-19 has upended what was once the norm and has forced us to live within new boundaries. Many believe that travel will not be spared. Before we can daydream about travelling again, we should first consider what the ‘new normal’ for travel could look like.
      Read More