13 Safety Tips For Solo Female Travel:
Traveling solo is one thing, but traveling solo as a woman comes with its own set of concerns. When I share my solo backpacking tales with other women I get this response every time:
“Wow! You’re so brave. I could never do that. Weren’t you scared?”
No, I wasn’t scared and I don’t want other women to be either. I wasn’t frightened but I still took quite a few precautions before and during my trip. Take a look at these safety tips for solo female travel and see what you can make work for you. I wanna see you ladies out on the road!
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Research every destination. What is the history of this country? Is there any political unrest? Have certain groups of people been facing discrimination? Have people been protesting in the streets every day for a month? Does this country or city have a problem with certain crimes? For example, is this city known to be a hotbed for tourists getting pickpocketed?
Do your own homework. Do not rely on anecdotes or “X is the safest place in the world. Nothing happened to me when I traveled through X.” X probably is very safe but you’ll feel more comfortable when you have checked that out for yourself. This is also important because sometimes people aren’t basing their opinions on anything but their own bias. I have had people tell me not to travel in places they have never even been and couldn’t point to on a map. Gather your own information and make your choices from there.
Once you know where you want to go and how long you want to stay, get started on your itinerary by using this post as a guide. Be as detailed as possible. Write down where you will be throughout your trip. Put the name of your accommodations and the contact information. If you are bouncing from city to city then include your transport info. What airline is taking you from Dublin to Glasgow and what time does it leave?
Type up this itinerary and email it to people you trust. Worst case scenario if something happens your friends and family will know where you last were and be able to get in contact with someone.
Make A Map
Something I like to do is use the travellerspoint website to chart my route. I pin my destinations and then I put the pic on my Facebook page as my cover photo. This is again so that if anything happens people will have some kind of record of where I was.
Register Your Trip
Inform your government of your trip. If you are a US citizen then look into the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Your trip will be registered with the nearest embassy or consulate and you will receive updates about anything important happening in your area. If not a US citizen or national then see if your government has a similar program.
Buy Safety Items
Buy personal safety items. They are worth the peace of mind. On my trips to Europe and Thailand, I carried a personal alarm with me. It was small, discrete and LOUD when it was set off. I kept it on me and in easy reach at all times. I also bought an anti-theft bag. My research told me repeatedly that I needed to be aware of pickpockets and I didn’t want to test that. I bought the anti-theft bag and it made me feel secure knowing my money and passport was safe. It also looks pretty cute.
Read Solo Female Travel Safety Items for my in-depth list of what to pack to protect yourself on the road.
Get Travel Insurance
Make sure you are covered in every situation. If illness strikes or you get hurt while doing all those extreme sports, knowing that you are covered will slightly lessen the pain.
Post Photos Every Day
Before you nod off post all the pics you took that day to social media. Your family and friends will love following your journey and more importantly, they will know where you are.
Arrive During The Day
Try to arrive in a new place during the day. Trying to get your bearings and find your accommodations is hard enough. Don’t throw the darkness of night into the mix. If arriving during the day is not possible due to a set flight time or train timetable then try to arrange a pick-up. Have an Uber or airport shuttle booked and waiting for you when you step off the plane.
Know Where To Go
Ask the hostel or hotel staff where to go. If you are in a country where you don’t know the language then don’t be shy about asking the staff if they would write down directions in the native language so that you can show them to taxi drivers and the like.
Keep Your Wits About You
Go out, have fun and enjoy yourself but just make sure that if you run into a problem you have the ability to get yourself out of it, and that might be difficult if you’re fall-down drunk.
Carry A Battery Pack
Being lost can be an adventure and lead to you stumbling on something you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. But being lost with a dead phone is a recipe for a panic attack. Wander to your heart’s content knowing that you will always be able to call for assistance if needed.
The Cheaper, the Better
Keep the really expensive jewelry and accessories safely at home. Not all the attention these items draw will be positive. Besides, you don’t need them anyway because I’m sure you look amazing in whatever you wear!
It really is better not to carry too much cash on you. My advice is to only have on you the cash you’ll need for a day or two and one credit/debit card. Keep the rest locked up in your hostel/hotel. This way if you’re robbed, you won’t be forced to beg for change on the street afterward. You can also travel with a money belt if you want to keep your emergency stash on you instead of in your hostel.
That’s What I Got!
These are my tips to keep you safe on the road. I want to see more women and women of color out there exploring our world without fear. Even though safety can never be guaranteed, I hope these tips will at least help you feel more comfortable and in control.