1. Know Yourself
Before you decide where to travel, consider your personal habits and preferences. Are you hoping to socialize with new people? Do you prefer people watching? Are you comfortable navigating new cities? Since you'll be on your own, relying on travel partners to fill in where you feel uncomfortable won't be an option. Take advantage of your solitary freedom by tailoring your trip specifically to your preferences.
2. Do Extra Research
Do more research than you would for a trip with a friend to be sure you are familiar with your area of travel. You should have a solid understanding of local transportation, emergency numbers, major streets and important points of interest. If you're traveling abroad, learn vital phrases of the local language. All of this ensures you'll be prepared for different, and potentially unexpected, situations.
3. Pack a Book or Journal
Traveling alone means you'll have more time to yourself. Books make for great company when friends aren't around. (Check out this list of outdoor adventure books for recommendations.) If you prefer to get lost in your own thoughts, pack a journal.
4. Give a Copy of Your Itinerary to Friends or Family
Tell friends or family where you're going and leave them an outline of your itinerary so that they know where you are if something happens. Setting days or times you plan to contact loved ones is another good habit to get into that can alert people to send help if they don't hear from you.
5. Leave the First and Last Days of Your Trip Open
This is a good rule of thumb for any form of travel: Don't fill your arrival and departure days with too many plans. You might be exhausted from travel the first day or you might have experienced some delays. Spend the first day of your trip exploring the city, or make flexible plans to prevent unnecessary stress. This same frame of thought goes for the last day; catching your ride home should be your priority.
6. Stay with Locals
Look into lodging with a local rather than booking a hotel or hostel. Staying with locals gives you access to area experts you wouldn't otherwise have. Learn the ins and outs of the town and immerse yourself in the culture by lodging with local residents.
7. Check Logistics Before Hitting the Streets
Memorize your schedule, directions or modes of transportation before traveling through town. Studying maps and bus schedules on busy streets makes you look like the tourist you are, which could leave you more vulnerable to shady activity.
8. Be Open to Meeting New People
You might have decided to travel alone for some quality time with yourself, but you could miss out on meeting amazing people if you never appear approachable. Every now and then, remove your headphones, put your phone away and take the opportunity to meet someone new.
Traveling alone gives you the chance to do what you want, when you want, without worrying about anyone else. By following these basic precautions, you can stay a little safer and make the most out of your solo travel.