Solo traveling is truly exhilarating and amazing. It’s also the mark of ultimate independence. So why should women have to miss out on all the fun?Times are changing, and nothing should be a barrier for what you want. But we all know that traveling alone can difficult, especially when you’re a woman. In fact, you’ll definitely have to take more precautions than usual.
Don’t worry, though; you too can go off on an adventure alone—as long as you’re careful and prepared. Simply taking some extra precautions can help your trip go smoothly.
Follow the safety tips below, and you’ll be good to go!
Do Your Research
When traveling solo, you are the only one completely responsible for yourself, so, it’s important to be well informed about where you’re visiting. Do your research about the location, its problems, the places you want to visit, and tourist reviews.Make sure you know where the hospitals, police stations, grocery shops, and pharmacies are in the area just in case.
Save a few addresses and numbers, and always carry them with you. You should never be totally dependent on your hotel, tour guide, or phone.
Basic Communication Skills
When you go to a foreign country, you should know a bit about the language. Even if you have a tour guide, you need to be able to communicate, especially in emergencies.So, learn a few basic words and phrases like “hospital,” “price,” “yes,, “no,” and “please help” by heart.
There are plenty of language translation apps on your phone that can help you out, but you should also keep a travel dictionary with you at all times as well in case of technological difficulties.
Dress Like the Locals
The more you blend in, the more chances you have of being left alone. Although women should be able to wear whatever they want, it’s not wise to wage that war in unknown territories.
It’s also not realistic since what you want to wear may clash with the religious and cultural values of where you’re visiting.In hot climates, our first instinct is to opt for sleeveless tops and shorts. But if you’re traveling to a more conservative place, this would be considered disrespectful. This will also attract a lot of unwanted attention.
Dressing locally will give people the impression that you’ve been here for a long time. Vendors are less likely to overcharge you, and thieves won’t target you instantly either. Adding something as simple as a scarf to your outfit might make your trip a lot easier.
Know Your Transportation Options
How you travel in the new place is very important. You should know the expenses and options beforehand. Uber and taxis are found in most countries, so those tend to be the safest option. Uber even lets you track where you’re going and holds the driver accountable.
If you’re taking the local transport, keep an eye on the surroundings. Don’t let the drivers take shortcuts or stray away from the main roads.In fact, pick drivers who are the least interested to take you. Overly eager drivers might have other plans in mind.
Always keep your things in the backseat with you. Don’t let drivers put your bags in the back or front. This way, if something does go wrong, you can get out immediately without hassle.It’s also wise to jot down the address of your accommodations or carry their business card with you. That way, if you’re lost or having communication problems, you can just show them the address.
Conceal Your Valuables
When traveling, it’s best to carry lower-valued items when possible. And whatever you do carry should be hidden well. For instance, don’t flaunt your wedding ring or other expensive jewelry on the trip. Opt for fake ones instead.
As for essentials like cash, keep a small amount in the bag you carry. Never carry large amounts with you. Hide most of your cash in places that people are least likely to check. This can be in the most unusual places like in your bra or inside an empty tampon applicator.
Secure Your Bags
We all want to look great on trips and take the best pictures, but in reality, convenience should be your first priority. Don’t take flimsy bags with you. Make sure they’re sturdy, secure, and easy to carry.
There are also a lot of anti-theft bags available that have mesh wires. These are difficult to pickpocket. Some of them can even be locked and attached to poles while you wait at the train station.Crossbody bags are also a very good option. They stick close to your body and are more difficult to steal from.
Keep Everyone Informed
Just because you’re traveling alone, it doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Let your family and friends know where you’re going and what you’re doing for the day. You don’t have to be in constant contact, but even just an Instagram post can be helpful.
Make sure people back home know your accommodation, tour guide, and agency and have their contact details. Even if you get in an Uber, it’s wise to send a trusted contact the license plate number.Don’t give off the impression that you are alone either. Let it be known that there are people who know your whereabouts.
Take Safety Precautions
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you’re equipped properly for the trip. Pack a first aid kit with your necessary medications. Also keep a good quality flashlight with you in case it gets dark, or even to use as a weapon if needed.Pepper spray or mace is a good idea as well, but this might not always be allowed through airports. In that case, keep a mini hairspray or mosquito spray with you. This works just as well in blinding and distracting your attacker.
You could also get a personal safety alarm for your pocket your bag. If someone pulls at it, there will be a loud noise that will alert others and scare off the attacker.Investing in an alarm door stop is quite helpful as well, so if you’re sleeping alone, it will alert you if someone is trying to get in.
Don’t Be Reckless
When you’re a solo girl traveler in an unknown place, you should always be super aware of your surroundings. Of course, you’ll want to have a few drinks, but don’t go overboard. Being drunk makes you vulnerable and an easy target for those who mean you harm.Also, don’t walk around with headphones on. This might be okay in your neighborhood, but it’s definitely a bad idea in a new place. This will attract muggers and slow down your reaction time.
Always try to avoid traveling at night and through deserted alleyways. Stick to where the crowd is. And of course it’s great to make new friends, but don’t go out with just anybody you meet.There’s no need to tell everyone where you stay. If you want to meet up with someone, pick a nearby café or restaurant.
Make Local Connections
It’s always a great ideal to make local friends. They’re the ones who will be able to guide you the best. If you have friends living where you want to go, definitely let them know beforehand.
Posting on Facebook, travel groups, trustworthy forums, or even just asking around can be very helpful. This way, you might be able to connect with people already living there.Of course, having a tour guide or going with a touring agency is also a good idea. But if you are completely alone, then you could also try joining walking tours. This will help you understand the layout of the place, and help you make connections as well.
Trust Your Instincts
Us girls have a sixth sense that usually tells us when something is wrong. We’re also more likely to ignore those instincts in fear of overreacting. But you know what? Your gut knows what’s up, so listen to it!If you feel uncomfortable somewhere or around someone, try to get out as soon as possible. Don’t stay in a bad situation out of politeness. And never be afraid to raise your voice.Causing a commotion might be embarrassing, but it will help you.
If the accommodation you picked seems off, don’t stay there for too long either. Always have backup options where you can move to. Keep a list of hostels and their numbers with you, just to be safe.
Traveling solo can be scary, but it’s also the most amazing and life-changing experience. All you have to do is be prepared and use your common sense. Don’t do anything in new places that you wouldn’t do in your own country.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone is out to get you. Be careful, but also take in new experiences and have fun. Tourists are usually welcomed everywhere, and locals can be very friendly.If you take the necessary precautions we discussed, there are fewer chances of anything going wrong. So, get packing and go on the adventure you deserve!