20 People Share Their Scariest Solo Travelling Stories

Published 1 year ago

Travelling alone is something we all aspire to achieve at some point in order to ‘find ourselves’ or whatever other reason we may have. Truth is, it is our right to make that choice. However, the world is full of dangerous people that are just waiting to take advantage of gullible, naïve and innocent folk.

The following collection of stories were shared by people on an online forum relating their own experiences of solo travelling stories and the incidents they encountered which vary from scary, to creepy to downright unpleasant. While we believe we are all entitled to travel solo, its better to be safe than sorry so read through the following and take notes on what not to do.

More info: Reddit

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#1 Someone Tried To Enter This Woman’s Room In The Middle Of The Night And The Receptionist Told Her She Didn’t Have A Reservation

Image source: slayer-of-vampires, d’n’c

For me it was when I was driving from Georgia to California to visit a friend. I didn’t want to fly because I wanted to site see on the way. When I got to San Diego, the hotel I booked on Expedia screamed run from the get go. But I was exhausted and wanted to rest. Got my room key and checked in. I locked the door and because I am always on guard, I locked the bar on the door for extra safety. About 4 am I was sleeping and heard someone trying to come in my room. They had opened the door but couldn’t get pass the little bar that was locked. I quickly got up, threw clothes on, and went to the door to see what was going on. Two guys outside the door with their hand in the slit of the door yelling at me. They kept saying “come here pretty girl. Oh a pretty face” or something like that. I called the front desk to see what was going on and they said “Oh I didn’t know you were still here.” I was beyond furious and went to the front desk with all my stuff. The lady at the desk said I didn’t have a reservation even though I had my paper saying I checked in, my car decal stickers for parking there, and the room key. She said she rented the room out that I was in for the next month. Flabbergasted I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She looked up my information and said “oh I see you didn’t book with us but Expedia. We don’t partner with them.” Still confused as to why the world I was given a room, paid for it, and had issues being in it. She refused to call her manager at 5am by that point. So I waited until they got in at 9am, demanded a refund, got it, and checked out. No matter how terrified the ordeal seemed I think it would have ended differently had I not locked the bar on the door.


#2 Person Was Harassed By Border Control

Image source: al_yer_pal, Kentaro IEMOTO

I spent a week in Dusseldorf travelling around and never encountered anything creepy. Get to the airport for my flight home and started getting followed by a border control man, he ends up swapping with another person for the security part meaning I had to go through his security bit. The whole time he’s asking me personal thing,
“Do you like Turkish men?”
“Would you like to go to dinner with a Turkish man?”
“Where are you from? how many Turkish men are near you? I know loads in Scotland”
I’m assuming the man was Turkish after these questioning.
I ended up having to get patted down and he made sure to watch (by this point it was beyond uncomfortable). Once I was finished he continued to follow me through duty free, I start walking faster to get away from him
“Have lunch with me” he starts shouting down the airport.
I jump straight on my phone and call my dad and hid behind a shelf in duty free till I saw him walk past trying to find me.
Stayed hidden in the toilet till my flight was boarding.

Through all these questioning I never even answered him, I’m not a rude person but with this guy I was.


#3 Pilot Knew Passenger’s Name And They Started Getting Calls From Russian Phone Numbers

Image source: cavscout43

Had a layover in Moscow, flying from Seoul to Barcelona a few years ago. Aeroflot, of course.

Standard economy ticket, nothing special.

We land as usual, and are leaving. Cabin crew and pilot were thanking us as we left. When I got to the door, the captain looks at me and grins. “thanks for flying with us Captain (last name).” I was a military Intel guy at the time, and it seemed apparent they wanted me to know I was being watched and tracked.

My phone immediately started blowing up with Russian phone numbers calling it once I cleared security and hid out at a different terminal than my follow on flight. Never been to Russia before, no friends or family. Super weird.


#4 Woman Was Cornered By A Pack Of Domesticated Dogs By Their Owner’s Command

Image source: elephantbuttz, Thomas Wanhoff

When I was in a coastal town in Colombia last year, I was cornered by a pack of domesticated dogs.

I was walking back to my hostel on the main strip of shops after dark and noticed a pack of dogs waiting outside a store. The store happened to be the last business on the main strip and also the last source of light between it and my hostel up the road.

As I passed the store, a man inside noticed me and signaled to his dogs to follow me. At first it was cute, but it turned scary when I tried to turn down my street and was snarled and barked at. The dogs cornered me between the road and a house, barking and jumping on me. Flustered, I eventually pushed through the pack to get up the road, but continued being swarmed. I kept swatting and yelling at the dogs until I just a couple houses down from my hostel and the man whistled to recall his dogs.

The family that ran the hostel came outside when they heard all the noise and asked me if I was alright. Turns out this wasn’t a one-off thing; a local misogynist has literally trained his dogs to scare and trap women. I shudder to think what would have happened if I didn’t shuffle up the street when I did or if the family hadn’t appeared in the street before the man caught up with me.


#5 Person Encountered A Puma In Argentine Patagonia

Image source: nebbulae, Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi

In argentine patagonia, almost got hunted by a puma.

It was dusk and I was overlooking the lake when I heard rustling behind me in the tree line. I kept staring for a while before I saw it and thank god I didn’t make a run for it as it would’ve been my initial reaction. Instead I started yelling and cursing and throwing rocks at it as I had been told to do by the locals, and it left me alone.

That night I kept a fire lit until late in the evening and then went to sleep with a flashlight on and my knife at hand (and that’s not to sound badass, I never used it to hunt and I was scared as s**t).


#6 Person Woke Up To Their Hotel Room Being Burgled

Image source: TywinSt**sGold, Gwendal Cottin

Waking up to my hotel room being burgled. Was real annoying.

Thankfully the only thing taken was my petty cash before I woke up and chased him out.


#7 Someone Took A Ring Off This Man’s Finger While He Was Asleep On The Train

Image source: opposablethumbsup, Holly Williams

My brother travelled by night train in Russia. He had bought a nice ring for his wife. He figured the safest place for the ring was on his finger. When he woke up, it was stolen.

So yes, someone took it from his finger while he was asleep.


#8 Woman Was Almost Hauled Off By Some Random Guy In Berlin

Image source: fluxy2535, Seniju

Had some dude try to haul me off my first day in Berlin.

He stopped to ask me a question when I was in Tiergarten, and proceeded to grab me by the wrist and refuse to let me go. I had told him I was going to Alexanderplatz and he started dragging me out of the park, telling me he would ‘show me a shortcut’ that he insisted would only take five minutes to get there (for those of you that have never been, it’s at least a 30 minute walk.) I was so panicked I didn’t know what to do and couldn’t even scream, all I could think was that he was going to take to somewhere where no one would be able to help me. I had a friend who I was staying with in the city text me at the right time and managed to beg off and say she was waiting for me back at Brandenburger Tor station, which was the opposite direction. He only let me go if I open mouth kissed him goodbye and gave me his number, which he made me call so he was sure ‘I had the right one.’ He was pulling me towards the holocaust memorial, so after he let go I rushed to it and hid in it so he wouldn’t follow me.

Funnily enough that night was the first day of the 2014 World Cup. I was still really shaken, but still wanted to watch the game. I also wanted to go somewhere where I could talk to people in English because I was very ‘f**k dealing with Germans’ at that point. I ended up at an Irish bar and the Irish bartender is now my husband and we live in Berlin.


#9 Woman Once Came Into Her Room And It Had Dirty Footprint And The Other Time Local Guys Tried To Lure Her To A Dockside

Image source: TumbleweedFresh, Hans

I have two. In 2007 I went to India by myself, I was going to a friends wedding but first I decided to have some time in Delhi. I was staying at a guest house that was attached to one of the embassies, I think it was the Andaman Islands consulate (edit: I can’t remember which one it was, it was arranged by someone else. It was 14 years ago). My friend’s dad worked in immigration so had arranged the room for me.

When I checked into my room late at night the bathroom window was open and they were muddy footprints going from the window onto the toilet and into the room. I immediately checked the room for any people but it was empty. As a woman travelling by myself it was quite frightening.

The second was a few years later I went to San Sebastian in Spain on a backpacking holiday. I went out to a few bars with the people in my hostel, and late at night I was sitting outside one of the bars by myself enjoying the fresh air. A couple of local guys came and talk to me and I thought we were just having a nice chat but then they started to insist that I come look at something on the dockside with them. I kept saying no but keeping it light and friendly (so as not to p**s them off) and they kept on being very insistent. I don’t know a lot of Basque language or Spanish but I know enough French and Latin to have got the idea that when they were talking between themselves, they were intending to lead me down to the docks and probably [assault] me. I managed to eventually excuse myself and go back into the bar and meet up with my people from the hostel but it was quite frightening and I didn’t feel safe until we were back at the hostel together.


#10 Woman Was Almost Taken To The Jungle By A Tuktuk Driver

Image source: CaveFlavored, peterolthof

Travelling in Asia at the time. I got a tuktuk to go to the center of a village with a young driver. We started driving and he turned around while telling me he wouldn’t take me to the center of the village because he knew a better spot in the jungle – a place he and his friends loved… I told him no, I want to go to the center of the village and that’s it. He got angry and sped up while I was considering my chances of just jumping out. But then he also grabbed my arm in a tight grip so I knew for sure no good would come from the situation. Luckily for me I had an umbrella with me and with my free hand I started slamming him with it as hard as I could till he stopped the vehicle and he offered me to “take me to the center of the village. lol. No. I ended up walking 3 hours to the village. I had planned one more day there and was constantly confronted by people that I was the girl who attacked the tuktuk driver offering me rides. Pretty sure they were his friends.. I strictly stayed in busy areas till I was able to take a train out. F that situation.


#11 Person Almost Got Robbed By A Guy With A Knife

Image source: LonnieJaw748, Gilles FRANCOIS

2009, my first solo trip to Italy, 8th day of a 32 day trek. Arrived into Rome via underground metro at 1:00am. Really nobody around except for this one guy about 35m from me down the platform. As I try to situate my pack and belongings to walk to the hostile, I notice the guy slowly walking towards me. As he approached I felt an awareness that he was up to no good. He nears me as I throw on my pack. Comes right up to me with this crazed look in his eyes. He was probably trying to intimidate me so he could rob me. I don’t know what came over me as I’m not a violent or aggressive person, but I did the flinch/lunge thing at him with my upper body. He jumps back and I see a knife in his hand. I do it again and he jumps back again. Had to toss a couple Euro coins from my pocket on the ground to distract him so I could make a break for the surface streets. He followed, but staying behind me a good 5-6m. All the way up the several flights of stairs to reach the surface where I finally see a few other people. I turn to look where he was but he had disappeared, leaving me looking skittish/foolish to the few locals who were on the street. I have no idea where he went and quick-walked the 2km to my hostile. Scared the s**t out of me and made me a little worried that this was my first taste of Rome. The rest of my stay in the city turned out to be fantastic.


#12 Drunk Person Was Followed By A Massive Man In Colombia

Image source: Slyydog, Daniel Monteiro

Oh god.

Walking through a shady part of the old city in Cartagena, Colombia (Caribbean coast) I was drunk around 3 in the morning. Needless to say i should not have been there being all white and touristy and s**t. A clear target. This massive man puts his hood on as I’m walking past him and he start following me for a block or two. I’m nervous and my pace is getting quicker with every step when out of nowhere this taxi toots its horn at me and signals to get in. Thank god. He points at the guy behind me and says “bad man”

This awesome taxi driver drives me to the main entrance and populated area and let’s me out free of charge. Love that man


#13 Woman Thought She Was Being Abducted By Taxi Driver But He Just Wanted To Convert Her

Image source: lavender142, Andrew Smith

Traveling in South America by myself as a 22 year old woman. Arrived to Santiago, Chile by bus really late at night, like around 10 pm. Shortly after I got off the bus a guy comes up to me from the general area of the taxi stand and asks if I need a cab and I say yes. We start walking to his cab and it’s really far away. Like at least 5 blocks. I start to feel kind of uneasy but I’m also in the middle of this big, unfamiliar city and just try to reassure myself it’s fine. I double check his cab has all the normal brand markings when we finally get to it, and sit up front with my bag (more out of habit, it’s common to do this in Ubers in South America).

I give him the address of the hostel I booked and we small talk in Spanish for the first few minutes of the ride, and then there’s a bit of a natural pause, which he breaks by looking over at me and saying very calmly, “Are you scared?”

Of course that really freaked me out but I tried to seem calm. I just laughed a bit and was “Haha, no I’m good! Just tired and it’s late.”

And he goes “Hm. Well you seemed pretty scared back there when we were walking. You know, there’s a lot of bad people around here. Sometimes they pretend to be taxis, you never know who to trust. I’ve heard of women being sold after taking a bad taxi. Are you traveling here alone?”

This is while we’re still driving through the middle of the city. It’s dark and it’s late, and I’m now painfully aware literally no one knows where I am. I was going to message my family with an update when I got to the hostel. They don’t know I’m in Santiago, they think I’m still on the coast.

Of course I don’t say that and tell him that I’m always very careful and actually my group of friends know I’m on my way and are waiting for me at the hostel!

I see a stoplight coming up and was literally thinking that as soon as the car slowed down I was going to make a break for it and just jump out of the car. Probably the most scared I’ve ever been in my life.

Then out of the corner of my eye I see this guy reaching down for something under his seat and my brain is just going GUN GUN GUN it’s going to be a gun!

Instead, he pulls out a pamphlet. And then goes, “But you know, there’s always one thing we can trust, right? The Lord. Do you believe in God?”

And then proceeded to try and convert me for the remainder of the ride. Turned out to be harmless but in the moment that random religious cab driver scared the absolute s**t out of me.


#14 Woman Got A Ride By A Random Driver Who Was Not Taking Her To The Airport

Image source: eva_zulu, Jed Villejo

My mum, over 40 years ago went backpacking around Europe, at the end of her trip she ended up in Germany with no money left and only a plane ticket to get home, but the plane was from Paris to Canada so she had to find a way to get to Paris. She hitchhiked her way towards the german/belgian border with people who were high and once they dropped her off she immediately found someone else who was willing to take her beyond the border but within 10 minutes she noticed he was taking her away from the highway and taking small roads and she got scared. Since she didn’t want to inform him that she knew something was up she just kept talking about her trips and added some not so pleasant details, talking about how she had recently caught a STD that gave her really painful and disgusting boils all over her genitals. They were quickly back on the highway and he dropped her off 50 meters away from the border before vanishing. 2 days later she landed in Canada safely and STD free. She didn’t tell me any of this until I was well in my 20s .


#15 Seat Mate Took Off His Shoes And Spread His Legs Into This Person’s Space

Image source: WatchTheBoom, Dushan Hanuska

Not creepy in the sense that I was scared but creepy in the sense that I wanted this m**********r to get away from me.

I was taking a red-eye from Miami to Buenos Aires. It’s a pretty long flight. Like an idiot, I thought that a middle seat at the front of the plane would be more desirable than a window/aisle seat at the back of the plane (it isn’t).

So there I was, in the middle seat of the plane with older gentlemen on both sides of me. The unspoken rules of the airplane are as follows- the aisle seat can extend their leg into the aisle, the window seat can lean against the side of the plane, and the middle seat gets *both armrests*. Those are the rules. I’ve been traveling for work for a long time, and those are just the rules. The guy in the window seat must not have known the rules, because he kept trying to push my arm off his armrest. I fought him for a little while, but eventually let him have the armrest and tried to get some sleep.

Things neither escalated nor deescalated until about thirty minutes after we had taken off. A foul stench reached my nose, and I couldn’t immediately identify its source. I briefly inspected my surroundings and discovered that my window-seat neighbor had removed his shoes. Exposed and naked to the world, his greasy toes wiggled and shamelessly exuded an aroma that was a mix of sulfur, sausage gravy, and mold. To my absolute shock, he lifted his foot nearest me, slid it out from the space under the seat in front of him, and placed it in the adjacent space under the seat in front of me; the space my feet were actively occupying.

In the following moments, I realized I had a decision to make as to the severity of the conflict I would instigate. I had immediately decided that conflict would be unavoidable, with the brashness of my rude neighbor’s most recent offense. There was a scale of following actions that I could have taken. I could have nudged his leg and treated the scenario like an honest mistake, which it was not. I could have gone straight to yelling, which would have been uncomfortable in the early stages of a red eye flight. I opted for a multi-step approach. First, I “accidentally” stepped on his toes with my heel. He responded to this by pulling his leg up, clearly looking to readjust and place it back near where it was. I caught his knee as he pulled his leg up and firmly guided it back to the space he was allotted.

No eye contact was made, but he grunted in displeasure of my actions. In anticipation of a retort, I remained ready to defend what little territory American Airlines had loaned me for the evening. As in most scenarios regarding any scale of conflict, my heart beat quickly and my adrenaline surged for triple, maybe even quadruple, the amount of time that the situation actually took place. After the incident, he appeared to abandon his invasion and spent the remainder of the flight impersonating a hibernating grizzly bear with sleep apnea. Between the adrenaline that remained in my system and his unnaturally loud, throaty snores, very little sleep was had.

F**k that guy.


#16 Hostel Guest Offered This Woman To Make A Baby Together

Image source: Isicium, Nik Shuliahin ??

there are way better stories on here than mine … but when I was 20 (f), I travelled through Russia. I always felt very safe around Russians but in some hostels there were weird fellow solo travellers. Like I said, I was 20 and met this Israeli guy who must have been mid- or end of his 50s. we met at the hostel common room and he was very (actually too) talkative but seemed quite friendly at first. he talked about Israel and his trip and then suddenly started telling me about how he enjoys meeting women and that there are about 30 women to whom he has donated his semen for artificial fertilisation (like wtf)

around us, in the common room, there were lots of people talking – but you know the situation when someone says something _just_ in the moment where everyone goes quiet? well, that happened just when he said to me „so, maybe we should make a baby together? and what‘s your name, by the way?“
I cannot even say I was embarrased, I was just like _what??_ – but the best part about this is that two really friendly but mean-looking Russians I had talked to the day before were also in the common room and overheard the Israeli guy saying this and they thought he‘s [assaulting] me and immediately got up to tell him to f**k off – the guy left, I saw him again at the common room the next day but he didn‘t even dare to look at me. I them proceded to have tea with the two Russian guys and we had a nice conversation on _normal_ stuff


#17 Person Didn’t Find Their Hotel Because Taxi Driver Dropped Them Out A Few Streets Away

Image source: Strange_Meeting_5909, guido da rozze

It was my first ever trip overseas (and solo) to Vietnam. I’d booked a nice hotel but the taxi driver dropped me off from the airport a few streets away and I had no idea where to go (this was pre Google maps). It was late at night and a fairly quiet area, I was just wandering around with my suitcase hoping to find the place and a random Vietnamese bloke asked if I was ok. Turns out he worked at the hotel that I was staying at! He walked me there and made sure that I got to reception. I’m so lucky that I ran into him and thanked him profusely, and gave him a generous tip. I’m so glad that I ran into him and not some sketchy character.


#18 Drunk Person Was Told They Were Getting A Free Taxi Ride But The Driver Didn’t Wnat To Let Them Out Until They Paid

Image source: TheColonelKiwi, Evgeniy Isaev

When I went to Prague, my GF was supposed to come too but due to circumstances couldn’t. I spent money on this trip and didn’t want it to be wasted so I went on my own. One night I decided to go to a local club, which was amazing, where I live the club is c**p and closes at 3am at the latest, so this was a nice change to be able to leave at 5am and the club wasn’t even closed yet. I started walking home which was about a half an hour walk when a taxi driver pulled up next to me and asked if I wanted a taxi, I said no, as I didn’t have enough money, but he insisted and said I could ride for free, I clarified around 4 times before I got in and he seemed okay with it (bear in mind I was quite drunk, so I wasn’t thinking straight at all). It was only around a 7 minute drive to my hotel and as we pulled up outside, I heard the car doors lock. The driver then proceeded to try and charge me over £150 for a 7 minute drive, considering Prague is genrally cheaper than the UK and in the UK at that time of night I would usually only pay around £15, so £150 is outrageous. I told him I wouldn’t pay and he shouted at me and threatened to call the police, I shouted back and basically told him to f**k off. He then started to drive again with me in the car, I started kicking his chair and hit his head from behind whilst climbing over the seat, In the end he slowed down and unlocked the door but refused to stop moving, he was only going around 15mph but I had to jump out of a moving vehicle.


#19 Person Got Almots Mugged On The Steps Of Sacre Couer In Paris

Image source: KungFuAllOvaU, flic.kr

Almost got mugged in Paris on the steps of Sacre Couer. Surrounded by five assailants and had no choice but to shout at the top of my lungs. As soon as I did they scattered.


#20 Woman Was Lost In Paris And Two Men Started Following Her

Image source: FoldedButterfly, Moiz K. Malik

I was walking through Paris looking for the closest metro station to go back to my hostel. I was trying not to look lost, but I was very lost. There was this intersection shaped like the hub of a wheel, and I knew the metro was on one of the streets radiating out from it, so I started going down the streets one by one.

As I went down one particularly deserted street I passed two men sitting in a doorway. In French one muttered to the other, “a woman”, and they both got up to follow me. Luckily I could see the train a block ahead, so I checked my imaginary watch and started running. I made it before the train left. I don’t know how far the men followed me, but there was hardly anyone at the station so I’m glad the train was there.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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#travel, #Travel Tips, solo travel, travel, travelling alone, travelling stories, travelling tales
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