Mr Barrow’s departure came a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside.
The President-elect, a former real estate agent, won a December 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin. Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind.
Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on January 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results.
Barrow is in Dakar, Senegal and he will be back for the inauguration. His supporters think he left because he felt vulnerable given a lack of security.
The African Union on Friday said it would cease to recognise Yahya Jammeh as Gambia’s president as of January 19, the date he is due to hand power to the winner of the December election.