I hate that we live in a world where articles about safety tips for women are necessary – but we do. I’ve been lucky enough to have really great experiences while traveling alone, or attending movies or shows alone, and I actually felt really safe in my entire 10 years of living in Manhattan. That said, now that I’m on the road, I’ve realized that there are a few key things to keep in mind as a solo female traveler. Check out my list, below, of some easy safety tips for women traveling alone.

1. Research where you are headed.

It’s not a good idea to drive or fly to a location totally blind about what to expect. If you don’t know what the lay of the land is supposed to look like, you’ll have no idea whether you’re in the right place when you arrive. Do some research so you’ll know exactly what type of place you are headed into – and even better, research the safest ways to travel and the safest places to stay long before you get there.

2. Travel during the day.

Although this isn’t always feasible with late-night flights and long drives, try to travel during the day as much as possible. When you’re driving, it can be really scary to stop for gas at a dark, almost abandoned gas station. When you’re flying, although the flight itself might be okay, arriving very late to a destination and trying to find your way can put you more at risk than you need to be.

3. Stay in touch (including a regular check-in).

Stay in touch with people you know and love – that includes Facebook, Twitter, the phone, Skype – anything and everything that may work for you. I did a post a few months back about how I planned to use the Find Friends app from Apple to let my family and friends keep tabs on me – that’s just one of the ways I’m keeping in touch with loved ones from home. Not only that – it’s a good idea to schedule a regular check-in with at least one or two close friends – this can mean a text every day or twice a day or a call once a day, or even a Facebook post at a set interval. If you don’t check-in at the set time, your family and/or friends know to touch base to make sure you’re okay.

4. Carry some kind of safety device (or several).

Pepper spray and a taser are my favorite safety resources, at least while I’m in the States. I know some women don’t like to carry tools like this, but for me, I feel a lot safer knowing I have a usable method of protection if I need it. The sound of the taser serves an added benefit of scaring away any stray dogs while I’m running (of which, there are plenty). Pick something (or several somethings) that work for you, and never go anywhere without it.

5. Get to know some locals.

It’s not only super fun, but getting to know some locals can be a great way to make sure you stay safe. Although you will be checking in with family and friends back home, it’s nice to have someone in the destination you are staying to rely on. Most travelers stay in one location for at least a few days, which is plenty of time to meet someone local on Couchsurfing or Meetup. You’ll make a new friend and feel a bit safer on your trip!

Remember, traveling alone as a female doesn’t have to be scary – it’s a great, enriching experience. Unfortunately, because we do live in a dangerous world, it’s important to stay alert and make sure you are looking out for your own safety – after all, you only have yourself to rely on!

Have you guys got any great safety tips for women traveling alone I missed? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!