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Solo safety

I am traveling to Europe for the first time, and I’m going solo!

What a great learning experience, and insightful it will be, but also the fear I have going into it.

I’m wondering which areas in London, France, and Amsterdam would be dangerous to travel to, and which areas I definitely need to avoid, to keep myself safe. Any tips on areas I need to avoid would be much appreciated! I don’t want to jeopardize my safety or become a victim of mugging.

Posted by
720 posts

Have travelled in London and France regulary as a solo female, no where made me feel unsafe. As far as i am aware there are no 'no go areas' in the center of Paris or London. Have not been to Amsterdam since i was 4, sk cant comment on there. Just relax and have an amazing trip.

Posted by
32058 posts


As this is your first trip to Europe, reading Europe Through The Back Door would be a really good idea! After that use the country or city-specific RS guidebooks for more detailed information on the places you'll be visiting.

It's difficult to offer any tips on "France" as it's a big country. Which cities will you be visiting?

Be sure that you're wearing a Money Belt, and don't access it where others can see.

When is this trip taking place, and are those the only places you'll be traveling to?

Posted by
3 posts

I will be visiting Paris. I should have thrown that in there. Those are the only 3 cities I will be visiting on my trip!

This trip takes place in October. I have a fairly good idea about blending in, such as the clothes I will wear. A money belt will be worn as well.

I’ll have to check that out! Thank you!

Posted by
720 posts

The money belt is your choice. But visiting Paris every year for the last 11 years, I have never used one, have never felt unsafe, or been pick pocketed. But it is what you feel comfortable with. Just ignore the ring finders and survey girl. Just behave as you would in a city at home , its no diferent x

Posted by
4684 posts

There are a few parts of larger European cities that it's inadvisable for tourists to visit, but they tend to be in regions that it's very unlikely that tourists would find themselves in accidentally. (The exception to this is AirBNB - a few times I've seen properties advertised on AirBNB in locations in London that I really wouldn't think it would be a good idea for tourists to stay in.) Don't worry about it otherwise.

Posted by
2 posts

I would also agree that London is very safe. Been there plenty of times, and everything was always good. Never came across any dangerous areas there. But I am myself very careful and don't visit any bars, nightclubs, etc. or just stroll at night.

Posted by
3896 posts

It's common sense. Just as you would if you were visiting New York, Boston, or Chicago, walk where there are people. London and other major European cities are no different. At night, avoid poorly lit streets. Don't open your purse or wallet on the sidewalk or on public transport. Keep your eyes open. Stay alert. If you get lost, walk into a store. Pack lightly as you will have a bull's eye on your forehead carrying or dragging an enormous piece of luggage. Again, it's all about practicing common sense. Have fun!

Posted by
6701 posts

Being solo is not inherently dangerous. Most European cities are safer than most American cities. Physical assault is less common in Europe than in the United States. Gun crime is almost non-existent in Europe. The only place you might see a visible drug problem is Amsterdam, but it doesn't produce crime the way that it does in the U.S. As you know, there is plenty of drug addiction in Utah and the western United States.

As others have noted, you are vulnerable to pickpocketing and sidewalk scams (like "broken wine bottle" or NYC "buy my CD") when you are suitcase-burdened or jet-lagged. A couple is just as vulnerable as a solo. But with an under-clothes pouch, you don't care about pickpocketing. You will have a wonderful time. I do suggest that you make a concrete list of things you might like to do, so you don't have to focus on your phone while in a place where you want to have your head up and your eyes open (I mean for SIGHTSEEING, not for "safety"!)

Posted by
2498 posts

I've been to all 3 cities--and many more--and have never felt unsafe walking alone late at night. I don't know if you're a man or a woman, but I do avoid drinking to excess in bars and then attempting to take transit or walking back to my hotel. All the previous tips are solid--just be aware of your surroundings is my main focus.

Posted by
3 posts

Awesome! I appreciate all the tips! What a great place to come! I’m very excited to visit such a historical place! It’s just a little out of my comfort zone, but you have to get out of your comfort zone to enjoy life! Thank you for all the advice!!

Posted by
12653 posts

I do recommend a money belt and yes, I got pickpocketed in Paris in 2017 and never even felt anyone near me. They did not get anything other than my little toiletries pouch but I was really glad I had my extra money and my extra CC/DC stashed in my money belt.

I live in a small town of 800 in N. Idaho. There is no way I can have the city smarts that people who are used to traveling in big cities have! Traveling solo I want to have the security of knowing my extra money and cards are safe.

Meanwhile, I'm a senior female and travel solo to Paris and London yearly and never feel unsafe. I didn't even feel unsafe after I was picked! No worries about muggings or violent crime.

It also depends on how old you are and what your activities are going to be. If you are young and going to bars, I'd drink a lot less than you are used to drinking so you can keep your wits about you!

Have a great time!

Posted by
1316 posts

I'll speak to London. Despite what some cable news stations say, the chances of encountering violent crime is almost non existent. There's no place that is of any tourist interest in London that is even remotely unsafe.

However, the pickpocketing can happen to anyone. I had my phone picked pocketed out of my jacket pocket last trip. It was an inconvenience but I'd far rather deal with that type of annoyance rather than a violent crime. A few years ago, here in Chicago, I had my phone snatched out of my hands at a bus stop. That shook me up for a couple of days even though I do consider myself to be quite urban.

I don't carry a money belt. I keep my wallet with as little as possible in it and never more than 100 pounds in cash. I also have backup credit cards that stay back in the hotel.

So, I wouldn't be worried at all. Just be aware that pickpockets can strike anywhere. In my case it was at a crowded pub on a bank holiday weekend. I'm not going to be paranoid, just even more aware on my next trip. .

Posted by
11294 posts

In order for us to help you better, give us more detail.

What specifically is making you feel safety is an issue? Have you had any actual bad experiences with safety? (If someone has actually been mugged, saying "don't worry about mugging" is not too helpful). Or, is this based on something you've read or seen on TV? Is this based on general fear of big cities? Or is it based on fear of the unknown, since it's your first trip to Europe?

Where do you live and work, so what kind of place are you used to on a regular basis? (I agree with Pam that it's easy to say "take the standard big city precautions," but that only helps if you know what they are, and are so used to them that don't have to think about them too much).

What's the largest city you've visited? How comfortable did you feel there?

Are you planning "nightlife" such as bars and clubs? These can definitely have safety issues (anywhere in the world) that are not present when visiting, say, museums and restaurants.

Posted by
3944 posts

Daytime advice: In Paris, particularly, pickpockets depend on distraction. If someone with a petition or found jewelry etc. talks insistently, hold on to whatever is valuable and walk away fast. If you must, shout! Rudeness can be your friend (but this is rare, and Paris, no matter what you have heard, can be friendly.)
Nightime advice: Stay where there are people, and lights. "Feeling" safe is not necessarily safe; feeling wary is.
Anytime: Don't worry about "blending"; you won't. But do look like you know where you are going, head up, walking with purpose. And if you must consult a map/GPS, step away from the centre of the street corner, into a doorway or alcove.
You will be fine. Enjoy!

Posted by
9099 posts

I just spent a month in Paris which I visit as often as possible, have also lived there. I was solo in Paris and walked all over, by myself, until after midnight most nights. There is no where in Paris, 1st-20th arrondissement, that I would feel unsafe as a solo female.

I never wear a money belt.

Posted by
273 posts

I find it's good to just check in with the local news before the trip (Sky news has a Live news channel on You Tube for free), so when there was a rash of moped crime stealing phones in Hampstead in London, I could be aware of it ahead of time. Looked like there was good news with several moped crimes being solved and arrests were made, so there should be less of it now.

If you have any doubts when you arrive somewhere, follow your own intuition, and ask someone at your hotel or hostel, and you can make wise decisions for yourself.

I also found it was really good to make connections with people before my trip too. If you belong to any organizations here that also have branches there, it helps a lot. My first trip, a friend I had made online, and then met in person in Minneapolis, who lived near London, offered to pick me up from the airport and was my tour guide (and flirt) all weekend. Another time I went to Hampstead because I'm a Lifetime Girl Scout and the WAGGGS World Centre Pax Lodge is there (also where I stayed the 1st time). I reconnected my daughter and her uncle and cousins in Essex, and were spoiled rotten by them on another trip. Also I belong to Mensa and they have a way for American members to gain access to their British Mensa calendar. So I did get to one event at a pub, I hope to use it again, I saw they have events like tea at Kensington Palace. Knowing someone personally all these times really removed the doubt about safety.

Have a great trip!