Safety Tips For Females Traveling Solo
Are you a woman who is thinking of traveling on her own? Are your friends and family telling you it’s too dangerous? Many women travel alone all the time, in all parts of the globe. It’s absolutely possible to travel solo and stay safe, even in developing countries, or if you don’t speak the language. By taking a few extra precautions, it’s possible to travel solo, and not only survive, but have the time of your life.
Research Your Destination Thoroughly
While you’re scoping out the best tourist attractions and the most beautiful beaches, make sure to take some time to research some safety information for the area where you’re headed. Find out which neighborhoods are safe and which ones are best avoided. Look at the safety rating of the hotel you’re planning to stay in. Make sure you know how you’re going to get around. Find out how to get to the train station, and how long it will take, etc. What is the public transportation like? Should you rent a car instead or rely on Uber? It’s worth spending a bit extra in order to stay in a safer location or have your own transportation if necessary.
Have a Backup Plan
It’s possible for you to do thorough research and find when you get to your destination that things aren’t quite how they were represented online. Maybe the neighborhood your hotel is located in doesn’t feel quite right, or the hotel itself looked better on the internet. When you sense that something feels off, it’s usually for a reason. Trust your instincts and go with plan B. Find another hotel in a different area of the city, or rent a car at the last minute instead of taking public transport. Never sacrifice your safety just because you have reservations.
Use Street Smarts
Be well prepared, so that you don’t need to depend on anyone. Carry cash, a guidebook, a map and a phrase book, but keep your valuables well hidden. Walk purposefully with your head up. Looking confident will give the impression that you know where you’re going. If you do need to ask for directions, be discerning about who you ask for help. Seek out another woman or a family, or go into a local business and ask for directions. Or sit in a local cafe, have a cup of coffee and study your map. It’s ok to make a quick judgment and decide not to trust someone. If someone on the street tries to harass you, ignore them as much as possible and keep moving.
Be Careful How Much You Drink
When you drink, your senses diminish and your reaction time slows, leaving you vulnerable. This is not to say you shouldn’t drink at all, but be aware of how much you’re drinking and know when it’s time to stop. Pace yourself. Be smart about what you’re drinking and with whom. Have a glass of water in between cocktails. Take your drinks directly from the bartender and never let someone else hold your drink. Make sure you are always in control of your senses so that if you do need to react quickly, you still can.
Dress Like a Local
While you’re doing research into your destination, take a bit of time to check out what the locals wear. As normal as it is to wear a t-shirt and jeans in the U.S., it’s uncommon in most European countries. Do the women at your destination dress conservatively? If so, then leave the shorts and flip-flops at home and opt for a longer skirt and ballet flats. The more you stand out, the more obvious it is that you are unfamiliar with the location, making you more vulnerable to criminals who prey on tourists.
Check in Regularly
It’s smart to give a friend or family member back home a copy of your itinerary including your flight numbers, accommodations, and a general schedule as well as any information on your travel insurance, and a copy of your passport. Plan to check in with someone via text, social media or Skype on a consistent basis. Staying in touch will help assuage fears of those back home, and if you do find yourself in trouble, they will be able to locate you much more easily than if they only have vague information on your general destination.
While this list is far from complete, it will give you a solid foundation for traveling safely. As always, use common sense and trust your instincts. But, most important, don’t be scared. The world is generally a good place. It’s important not to let fear prevent you from traveling alone. Solo travel gives you the skills to be strong and independent, which will continue to serve you long after the trip is over.