Safety Tips For Solo Female Travellers
While solo travel may be one of the biggest trends right now, it’s still a daunting prospect, especially for women.
With so many things to potentially worry about, just the prospect of going to a foreign country by yourself can cause anxiety. But this can also be an amazing life changing experience.
If you are female and currently keen to travel solo here are some top recommendations how to stay safe on the road and enjoy the best trip ever.
1. Do Your Research
Researching your destination well in advance of departing to have an idea of where you will be going and what to do. Read blogs, websites and view YouTube videos for advice from past travellers. This is important regardless of whether you are travelling solo or in a group of 10.
It’s also a good idea to know what typical tourist scams may be, if there are any areas you should avoid and what the local emergency numbers are.
2. Buy Travel Insurance
A lot of people see travel insurance as an added expense but it is it probably the most important thing you can buy before you depart on your trip. Being covered for any accidents, theft, illness will really give you peace of mind and could save you thousands. For example, if you travel to the USA and get ill, without insurance you could get a huge bill. Or if lose your luggage whilst flying, travel insurance will allow you to get your money back.
3. Use Your Phone
There are so many apps and websites which can make travelling easier. From meeting travel buddies, to navigation and maps, to communication. You might want to also buy an international phone package which will allow you to text and get online for free whilst overseas. You can also buy a local SIM card on arrival.
4. Be Open & Friendly
Travelling is a fun way to meet people from all over the world, and also interact with local people. Don't be an ignorant traveller and try to be friendly to everyone you meet, the chances are they will reciprocate. It is always good to make new friendships, and interact with local people, this will ensure you have friendly faces there if you ever need any help.
5. Stay Healthy
Try to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and also eating well. When travelling it is easy to not remember to do both, which can have a negative effect on your health. Also if you notice any changes to your mood, or mental health try to talk to friends, family or seek help. Sometimes travelling solo can be lonely and a challenge and so it is important you are aware of any changes to yourself and mood. The more healthy you are, the better the whole experience will be.
6. Have Confidence
Confidence can really help you to look comfortable in your surroundings with both locals and other travellers. For example, walking down the street with your head in a map you might as well put a big sign above your head with tourist written on it. It will make you an easy target for thieves. Try to be discreet and confident in your surroundings and you will attract less attention.
7. Don't Carry Round Expensive Valuables
Do you really need to take an expensive camera, phone, laptop or lots of cash on you when sightseeing? Accommodation usually provide locks and places to store valuables so take advantage of this. Only carry what you need and also be aware, your phone might be a couples of months rent in some countries. You could buy a cheap phone or laptop, or just be careful when using and not in tourist hotspots.
8. Choose Accommodation Carefully
When choosing somewhere to stay there is a lot of choice, hotels, hostels, guest houses, AirBnB etc. By choosing to stay in female dorms you are likely to meet other female travellers and it is generally more safe than mixed dorms.
Always check reviews of accommodation when booking and see what past travellers say. Also sometimes it is better to spend a bit more for a better quality and safer/more modern accommodation.
If you are planning to stay in private rooms, then you might want to carry a little plastic doorstop. These are great safety decides that slide under doors and make them harder to open.
9. Don’t Drink Too Much
Getting really really drunk while traveling alone is not a good idea. You are likely to create problems and can put yourself in potentially dangerous situations. Try to take it easy when drinking especially when arriving somewhere new or meeting people for the first time.
10. Learn a Few Key Phrases
Being able to communicate, even if it’s just a few words, is a great way to engage with the local people. Knowing how to say standard greetings and words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ never goes unappreciated.
It’s useful to know how to ask for directions, as well as the word for ‘help’ should you need to grab people’s attention. You may also want to write down the name and address of your accommodation to show someone if you get lost.
Another option is to book a language course abroad, this is a great way to gain a better understanding of the local lingo.
11. Join a Tour
If you’re nervous about meeting other people, there are plenty of tours for solo travellers out there. Not only will you find yourself surrounded by other, like-minded travellers, but solo tours often have all your accommodation, transport and activities arranged for you. So you don’t need to worry about any of the logistics.
12. Book Structured Experiences
Having things planning in advance is recommended, it will give you some structure, allow you to meet people and have fun. There are lots of options, from cooking courses, dance classes, paining workshops or things like short term volunteer programs.
13. Dress Appropriately
In an ideal world, women would be able to travel dressed however they like. But if you are visiting a country where the locals dress conservatively, it’s best to do the same. By blending in, you avoid attracting attention to yourself as a tourist and show your respect for the local culture. For example, in traditionally Muslim countries, you should keep your shoulders and knees covered.
14. Arrive in the Day
This is an underrated tip, aim to arrive in your destinations in the daytime. Arriving anywhere abroad that you don't know at night is a scary prospect, but arriving in the day is usually a lot safer. There are usually more people around to help and more transport options.
15. Be Extra Cautious at Night
Nighttime is potentially more risky in a foreign location due to less people being around and also not knowing where you are going. Try to avoid wandering around by yourself at nighttime and try to either join groups or book public/private transport. Lots of hostels organise social events like bar crawls which are a great way to make friends.
16. Listen to Advice
Staff at your accommodation and also fellow travellers are your best source of latest information when on the road, listen to tips and don't be afraid to ask questions.
17. Stick to the Tourist Trail
Always try to book accommodation or stay in touristy areas. This might be a little boring surrounded by other foreigners, but it is safer. For example, in a city like Rio de Janeiro, the idea of exploring a favela might seem exciting but it can be dangerous. Again, try to leave valuables in your accommodation and only take enough money for what you need.
18. Always Take Official Transport
The chances are when you arrive at airports and transport hubs there will be people waiting offering you rides to your accommodation. Always take official taxis. In airports there is usually tourist information or an official taxi rank. If you take an unofficial taxi you take a big risk of something happening, or getting ripped off.
19. Keep in Touch With Home
Always keep your friends or family back home updated with your travel plans. By sharing your itinerary, hotels and flight information, you’ll not only put their minds at ease, but cover your bases should anything happen. If you’re wanting to spend a little time off grid, try and at least tell the front desk of your hotel where you’re going each day.
20. Buy a Whistle
This might sound ridiculous, but whistles are light making them easy to carry around and also very loud. If you encounter any problems you can blow the whistle to attract attention. Some backpacks have built in whistles whilst you can also buy them cheaply online. This is one of our most underrated recommendations for things to buy when travelling solo as a woman.
21. Allow for Spontaneity
While it’s a good idea to have a plan in mind, leave some room in your itinerary to be spontaneous. You may make a new group of friends you want to hang out with for an afternoon or stumble across a destination you want to spend more time in. You don’t want to come home feeling like you missed out on a great opportunity, so try not to be too fixed with your arrangements.
22. Trust Your Gut Instincts
Your gut instinct is usually right - so it’s important to listen to it. If someone or a certain situation makes you feel uneasy, there is no shame in getting out of there. Travelling solo is great for getting you out of your comfort zone, but it should never challenge your safety.
Travelling solo as a female doesn't have to be scary and with our tips you will give yourself the best option possible to enjoy a safe and amazing trip.