Travel can be dangerous no matter who you’re with, but these dangers become more prevalent if you are travelling by yourself, especially if you are a woman. With no one to look out for you, it becomes your task to look out for yourself. While common sense plays into it a lot, there are some other steps you can take to help ensure you will make it home safely.

Share Your Plans

Having an itinerary when you’re travelling alone is a good idea. Letting someone know where you’re planning to be could save your life. If you were to go missing, it would give the police a place to start looking for you. Give someone at home a copy of your plans and let them know if those plans change. It’s also a good idea to leave a note in your hotel room or hostel bed. Someone will definitely notice if you don’t vacate your room when you’re supposed to and they may be the first ones to realize it if you were to go missing. Leave a note in a prominent place with your day’s plans on it and be sure to change it every day.

Make ‘Phone Home Dates’

I always make plans to phone home at a specific time when I’m travelling. Usually every few days I will call my parents, and they know that if they don’t hear from me, something is wrong. I also try to get access to the internet every day to send them a quick email or update my Facebook page so they know I’m still okay. It helps alleviate their fears, so they can get a good night’s sleep, and it also makes me feel safer knowing that someone is keeping track of me.

Be Choosy About Sharing Information

Everywhere I go, I always get people trying to chat me up. They’ll ask you where you’re staying, how long you’ll be around, where you’re from anything they can think of. I never tell the truth, especially about where I’m staying. While chances are they are just harmless guys looking for some conversation or a nice foreigner to practice their English with, I don’t want to take the risk of having some guy I rejected waiting for me outside my hotel when I return. There is no harm in telling a little white lie to a stranger for the sake of your safety.

Try Not to Act Lost

A lost tourist is a perfect target. Though it can be hard sometimes, try to always look confident, like you know exactly where you are and where you’re going. If you need to look at a map, duck into a bathroom or store to do it. Never accept help from people who approach you. Remember, if you ask directions to a hotel, that person will then know where you’re staying. See above for why this is bad. If you need to ask directions, groups or young couples are a good bet. They are more likely to speak English if you’re in a non-English speaking country and are probably more likely to be harmless.