Photo by Georgie Pauwels. cc

Photo by Georgie Pauwels. cc

“You are out of your mind.”

It’s the first thing you hear (and it’s usually out of your mom’s mouth): “You can’t travel alone. You’ll be assaulted, killed, and dumped in a river.” You roll your eyes, but your mom keeps worrying.

For many, traveling alone sounds like a risky endeavor, but those who have tried it usually say that solo tourism is a rewarding and exciting experience. It’s a great way to meet new people, to live according to your own cadence, and to expose yourself to new situations. And it can be convenient and inexpensive. Still, unsuspecting travelers not willing to use their street smarts and precautionary gear expose themselves to unnecessary risks. Here are some of Stowaway’s favorite solo gadgets and safety tips to keep you unscathed and your friends and family worry free.

A safety whistle. Sound silly? Remember that a lot of people dismiss yelling as a hoax. A series of whistle blows is more difficult to dismiss. A whistle is small and lightweight, so it won’t burden you while traveling, and it’s easy to use even if you are scared or out of breath. Staying in well-lit areas and knowing the territory you’re traveling in will also help you to stay out of unwanted situations.

A rubber doorstop. Hotels and hostels almost always have locks on their doors, but a rubber doorstop under your door is an extra precaution that makes it very difficult to enter the room unsolicited. It’s also a good idea to stay with roommates and to establish clear expectations about who comes into the room and when. An established curfew may do even more good than a doorstop will.

A money pouch. Most money pouches are thin and can be worn under your clothing without any sign of a lump. A money pouch is a great way to keep valuables (cash, passport, plane, and train tickets) close at hand, rather than leaving them in a bag or in the hotel safe.

A money card. Avoid the risk (and the hassle) of cash by using a money card, available at most banks. You can load money onto the card via phone or online and then use the card at any venue in the world that accepts debit and credit cards. If your money card is lost or stolen, you can generally get a new one within one day.

Sarah Juchau