“Safe travels”: Meaning & alternatives + Example sentences

There are numerous expressions we use in our day to day lives that we seem to take for granted. We say these expressions without a second thought to others, believing that they know what we are trying to say and expect them to respond back. For instance, good morning is a greeting we say to others. This isn’t actually the full expression as it comes from the “I wish you a good morning” expression. Nevertheless, we shorten fully cognizant that the other person knows just what we mean. Another expression like that is “safe travels”.

What does “Safe travels” mean?

“Safe travels” simply put is a way for us to wish someone that’s traveling a safe journey. The entirety of the expression is “I wish you safe travels”, however, over time, we have abbreviated it fully cognizant that the “I wish you” aspect is implied.

Additionally, when you tell someone “safe travels” you actually wish them well on their trip, hoping that it turns out to be successful. This takes the meaning further than just being safe on the journey, it is more about having a great journey.

Where does “Safe travels” originate from?

While the expression “safe travels” might seem out of place in today’s world, given the relative safety associated with modern travel, there was a time when this wasn’t so. The time “safe travels” originates from was a time when traveling meant danger. These trips lasted weeks or even months. There were hardly any paved roads to make the journey easier and there was also the possibility of encountering armed robbers or wild animal. Considering the many dangers associated with traveling back then, it is no surprise that well-wishers, wanted those going on journeys to not only have a successful journey but to be free from harm.

2 examples of how to use “Safe travels” in a sentence

Using “Safe travels” to wish someone a pleasant journey

This example is a run of the mill one, as saying “safe travels” to someone means just that. You are wishing them well and hope that they have a great trip.
John: I’m taking the family down to Florida for the holidays

Mike: oh wow, that’s amazing buddy. Safe travels”

OR

You: What time is your flight?

Me: In 2 hours. I’m excited

You: safe travels man.

There are other synonyms used in place of “safe travels”

Alternatives to saying “Safe travels”

“Safe trip”

This is perhaps one and the same with “safe travels” it connotes the same thing meaning you should be safe. If you want, you can add “have” at the beginning to make the expression a more personal one.

Person A: hey, where are you off to?

Person B: the airport. I’ve got a flight to London that I have to catch

Person A: Alright the, have a safe trip. See you when you’re back in town.

“Smooth travels”

This is a new iteration of the “safe travels” expression. It is typically used by those that want to get rid of or not highlight any dangers about traveling when wishing someone well. When you say “smooth travels” you are wishing someone well and hoping that their trip is smooth and goes off without a hitch.

It is important to note that this expression in this form is typically best reserved for those you are familiar with. It is also best used in an informal setting

“Travel safely”

It can be said that this is simply the same expression, however, it is expressed in an imperative form. While it might sound like an order it really isn’t one. It is more akin to a wish, something like “look after yourself” or “be careful”. This expression is typically used with someone that you are close with.

“before you get out on the road, I just wanted to say travel safely”

Is there a difference between “safe travel” and “safe travels”?

You might wonder if it actually mattes if you use the singular “travel” over the plural “travels”? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Generally, when you are using the plural form “travels” you are doing any of 2 things:

On one hand, if you use the singular, you mean to talk about a singular event, a travel. This can imply that the person you are wishing has a trip that contains various stopovers and travels. You can use this for someone that’s for instance, backpacking across Europe.

Conversely, when you use the plural form, you are speaking of travels as an abstract. Just like how you would tell someone that lost a person dear to them “my condolences”.

Oddly enough, there is a third form, which means that you are trying to contain all the travels someone might have into one. Basically, you are combining everything that person has to do with traveling in one go.