It seems like more and more women of all ages are traveling and they’re choosing to do it alone. But theft, harassment and violence are some big concerns for solo female travelers. But with a little caution, and careful planning, you can have a safe, smoother, and far more pleasant trip than you ever imagined.
1. CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION WITH CARE
Choosing a destination carefully is an important step for travelers, but you should also consider whether the place is safe for you, and that means checking to make sure there’s no tension or civil unrest in the area. Google other women’s experiences online and see what it was like for them to be in that city or country. Join Facebook groups of expats and/or locals living in that area and ask them about the place and how safe it is for women. Don’t be shy!
2. RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO
Now that you know where you want to go, go to TripAdvisor.com, Travelfish.org, or find travel blogs and find all the info you’ll need about your destination. What is the attitude men have towards women? How do women dress? Are there any areas you need to avoid? Does the law make it hard for female tourists to feel safe while living in that country?
3. IGNORE BEING CATCALLED
Unfortunately, you can’t expect every culture to behave acceptably towards women. So if you hear someone whistling at you, don’t react negatively or you could wind up in a physical fight or get sexually harassed. Try to walk near well-lit areas so that if anyone decides to follow you or makes you feel threatened, there will always be someone to call for help.
4. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
You can’t predict when you’re going to get mugged, attacked, or raped, but if you have a hunch that you’re in danger, get to safety. But also keep a close eye on anyone that looks suspicious, and if possible, try to stay within the tourist areas, where cops are usually patrolling.
5. JUST SAY “NO” TO STRANGERS
A stranger might approach you with an enticing invitation to a restaurant, a bar, a park or even their own home. But if they’re not taking no for an answer politely, then boldly shout “no” and don’t worry if it comes off impolite.
6. DON’T HANG OUT WITH STRANGERS
Most female travelers fall victim to seemingly friendly strangers who are just looking for some overnight companionship. So avoid going home with a stranger and stay in a public place surrounded by people who seem relatively safe, like a family, until the stranger goes away. Don’t avoid people you don’t know altogether, but rather be careful and think about where to safely meet and greet your new friends. Don’t be trustworthy, make them earn your trust first.
7. GET HELP AT THE EMBASSY
If anything bad should happen or you feel you’re in danger, then find your embassy in the country you’re visiting first, before you go to the local police, who may sometimes be unfriendly and unwilling to help. Not only will the embassy give you advice, but also protection to get your home.
8. PICK HOSTELS WITH GOOD REVIEWS
If you’re looking for a Bread and Breakfast or a hostel to stay in, because they’re cheaper than hotels, check the ratings and the reviews. The better the reviews, the safer the place you’re staying at will be. Plus, previous guests can alert you to any potential dangers in the area.
9. GIVE SOMEONE YOUR ITINERARY
Unless you’re not sure where you’re planning to go, make sure and leave your itinerary with someone back home. That way, if something goes wrong, or they need to reach you, they’ll know where to have someone find you.
10. CONSIDER TRAVEL INSURANCE
Unexpected things happen during a trip. So you might want to invest in travel insurance for yourself in places like World Nomads in case you experience rental car damage, lost baggage, medical and dental emergencies or any other unexpected cost. Life is unexpected, but it doesn’t have to affect you in the slightest, particularly when you’re covered.