There’s no use tip-toeing around it. Women traveling alone (and living life in general) face more risks than men in pretty much any destination. But that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t hit the roads by themselves. It just means they may want to take a few extra precautions to stay safe on solo trips.
Here are a few tips for going solo from the female travelers on our team:
- Pick a hotel or hostel in a safe neighborhood on a brightly lit street if possible, especially if you’ll be returning late at night.
- Dress like a local. Be aware of the cultural norms for the country you are in, and try to respect them. If you’re not sure, err on the side of conservative clothing that covers more skin. What’s acceptable where you live may be offensive overseas.
- Don’t overindulge. This is good advice for solo travelers of either sex, but if you’re concerned about safety, drink carefully and in moderation.
- Don’t wear headphones. It’s tempting to wear headphones jogging, walking, or even just riding the bus. But you’re far better off staying alert and aware to what’s happening around you.
- Choose your arrival times carefully. Avoid arriving really late at night or early in the morning when it may be hard to get a taxi, or change accomodations if you get to your hotel and don’t feel comfortable.
- Only ride in official taxis, especially at night. It’s best in many places to get an official taxi from a taxi stand or have your hotel or hostel radio one in rather than flagging one down yourself. Most airports have a taxi kiosk you can use rather than picking up a random cab outside or going with someone who offers you a ride.
- Pack a doorstop to wedge under the door to keep people from barging in on you in bathrooms and bedrooms on the road.
- Spring for a private room on night trains. If you must share, get a top bunk for privacy.
- Be very cautious of strangers. If you’re setting up a date, meet in a very public place and take a cell phone and cash for a cab back to where you’re staying. Be sure to tell someone where you’re going, who you’re with, and when you expect to return.
- Protect yourself. Contraception isn’t as widely available in all parts of the world. If you’re sexually active, in addition to packing condoms, you should pack enough birth control for your entire trip, or a Plan B pack from your doctor. Getting an IUD is another good birth control option for long-term travel.
Check out more great resources and information for female solo travelers at the sites below:
- Adventurous Kate – the solo female travel blog
- The Blog Abroad
- Wanderlust and Lipstick
- Women on the Road
- The Blonde Abroad
- Legal Nomads
Photo Credits: Leonid Dushin