Imagine marveling alone at the wonder of the ancient Mayan ruins, or embarking on a photography adventure through the Swiss alps, or sitting pensively in a Parisian garden in total peace.

Backpacking solo is one of the most exciting and empowering things a college student can do. While the experience can make you more confident and independent, it can also make you more vulnerable.

The key to avoiding any dangers is knowing which destinations are the least risky.

According to Travel + Leisure, the countries with the best safety rankings are Iceland, Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland, in that order. Following closely behind are Canada and Finland. If you’re eager to explore Asia, consider the fact that Japan ranked No. 8 on Travel + Leisure’s list.
There are also plenty of ways you can protect yourself on a trip, no matter where you’re venturing to. Check back for a few suggestions on staying safe while backpacking solo.

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