All travel comes with risk. However, if you travel by yourself (solo travel), independent of a group or organised tour (independent travel), you can face additional challenges.
Plan your travel
Before you travel, resarch your destination.
Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance, even if you are visiting friends and family, or know the country well.
Leave an itinerary with someone at home and agree how regularly you will be in contact. You may also want to leave photocopies of important documents, such as your passport and insurance policy.
Have a plan in case things go wrong. For example:
make sure you know the address of where you are staying, in case your host or transfer company does not turn up to meet you
know what other accommodation is available in case your original option is not what you expected
Make sure you can access your money while abroad, including if you need to access funds quickly in an emergency.
Be secure in your transportation
arranging airport transfers before you arrive
using only official, licensed and reputable taxis
travelling in busy carriages on a train
avoiding carrying large amounts of money or wearing excess jewellery, and keeping valuables close to you
if walking alone, avoiding poorly lit areas, particularly at night
Be secure in your accommodation
booking accommodation before you travel, in particular your first night’s accommodation. You are at your most vulnerable when you first arrive in a foreign country as you are likely to be tired and unsure of your surroundings
researching accommodation options carefully, including checking the location and having alternative accommodation as back-up, or knowing where to find alternative accommodation
never leaving your key where someone can note your room number
closing your windows, especially if your room is on the ground floor or has a balcony
locking your door when you are inside the room
using the spy hole or chain, if the door has one, before opening the door to visitors, especially if you’re not expecting anybody
bringing a door wedge to place behind your accommodation door
If you feel uncomfortable or in danger:
do not be afraid to draw attention to yourself by shouting and making a fuss
remember that being safe is more important than being polite
contact the local police if you are fearful for your safety or in danger.
If you have been the victim of a crime, see the victim of crime abroad advice.
Rape and sexual assault is a risk to people of all genders worldwide. The local services and attitudes towards helping victims can vary widely by country.
Rape and sexual assault
Drug-assisted rape or ‘date rape’
Drugs have been used in rape. If someone adds drugs to your drink, you will not normally be able to detect them. Rape drugs also work in non-alcoholic drinks, such as coffee and tea. They are normally colourless and tasteless, and can make you unconscious and defenceless.
be aware of how much you are drinking – alcohol is the most frequently used drug in drug-assisted rape
not leave drinks unattended, and do not accept drinks from strangers
seek help if you feel strange, sick or drunk after only drinking a small amount. You could tell a trusted friend, who should take you to a safe place, or phone the local police for advice
if you feel in danger contact the emergency services
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) takes any allegation of rape and sexual assault seriously. Read our advice on what to do if you have been raped or sexually assaulted abroad, which includes specific advice for the country or territory you’re in.
Organisations that can help
These organisations’ websites provide information about how to stay safe while travelling or working alone: