So many women travel alone daily for various reasons. It could be business, pleasure or adventure. Solo traveling can be a life-changing experience. You’ll discover new countries on your own pace, meet new interesting people on the way and do things that normally you wouldn’t have a chance of experiencing. You’ll go wherever you want and change your plans as you wish, with only yourself to please.
But the fact is that when women visit foreign countries they are somehow affected by the religious and cultural beliefs in a quite different way than men. We know that we are not to blame if any bad assault happens but we should do everything we can to stay safe.
Choose a destination you’re comfortable with. Take the advantage of the many online resources that can help you decide which cities and countries are the safest and friendliest for a visit. If you want to make your trip great and worth remembering you need to use your common sense and give respect to those cultural norms of each country you plan to visit. By carefully planning your location, itinerary, and transport you make your travel safer and thus happier.
Whether traveling in your country, in the big cities or to foreign destinations here you’ll read about the things you can consider practicing for your own safety.
In some countries showing too much affection in public, like kissing or hugging it’s not appropriate. In others, body talk and gesturing can be taken as very offensive. It’s good to know what is expected from women in the destination visited. What is or isn’t allowed and what is accepted as good behavior. Try to follow some of the rules.
Do good research of the country you’ll be visiting before you go and ahead of time. Search the web for the most common scams in that country. Make sure to read everything you can about the safety and security too, the crime and which local areas to avoid. As a general rule avoid dangerous spots and quiet alleys or isolated quarters. Every time you think you’ve been followed head for busy areas with many people around.
If you travel light, with less weight on you, and in your luggage, you can move more easily and freely in that way. Pack only items and clothes that you can afford to lose. Choose a small wheeled suitcase or backpack with a locker and inner compartments. The safest way to carry your bag is in front of you and close to your body with one arm placed over the bag.
While walking on the streets bring cross body bag so you can have both hands free. It would be much harder for the thief to grab it. Make sure not to keep anything in your back pockets too.
When you arrive in your room
Arrive in the destination at daytime. Or if you must at night arrange or book transportation ahead of time. If you can, find yourself a safer accommodation and room. Hostels are a great option if you don’t want to stay alone and you’d like to be with other travelers.
When you check in to a hotel, no one else should see or hear your room number. Your location and room number should be very private and you shouldn’t reveal any of this information to anyone you don’t completely trust. The clerk on the front desk should be very discrete when he hands you over the key of the room. Keep your door locked whether you’re or not there, in the room.
More to Read:
- Here Is How You Can Practice Sun Safety
- Safety Tips For Females Traveling Solo
- Castle Or Palace? It’s Not Quite The Same Thing
When you are on the streets
Plan daytime activities and avoid staying out at night alone in foreign destinations. So, except that you’ll need that information about the weather which will determine the type of clothing you’ll bring along another thing to think of are the sunrises and sunsets. And that’s not only for the beauty of the view you’ll get a chance to enjoy but for safety reasons too. Knowing when it’s getting dark is a good idea. While somewhere in summer the sun goes down at 7 p.m. in another place it does at 9 p.m. You want to know because you want to get back before it gets dark. It’s much safer that way.
Be extra careful when you withdraw cash from ATMs. Make sure is during daytime on a busy street too. Assure nobody is suspicious around when you use ATM and never count your money in the street. Don’t keep all of your money and credit cards in one place. Use a money belt, bra pockets or scarf with pockets to put them in separate places. Consider taking a fake wallet with you with canceled credit cards and a few small bills. If a thief wants your wallet you can hand over the fake one.
Don’t walk with your map in your hands or talk on your cell phone or listen to the music. You put yourself at risk in that way when walking on the streets. Be aware of your surroundings all the time and don’t get distracted by doing other things.
Walk with more confidence on the streets, like you know where are you going. Even if you don’t really have a clue. If you do need to ask someone for a direction on the street let that be women too or families with kids. But if someone offers to show you the way by having you follow them, don’t go.
When someone bothers you feel free to be unfriendly if you have to so he can leave you alone. If some local guy harasses you or follows you on the streets while trying to engage you in the conversation be polite but make it clear that you’re not interested. You don’t need to try to be nice in those circumstances, but clear so the other side can get what you are saying. Think of your safety first. Keep your cool, don’t smile and avoid any eye contact if possible so he won’t be encouraged to proceed and would leave.
Lastly, avoid walking and sightseeing alone in secluded, deserted areas including beaches. Always tell someone where are you going and for how long or at least leave some kind of note in your room or accommodation about your daily activities and plans. Just in case if things go wrong and you don’t return as planned.
When traveling with buses, trains or taxi
Before you leave to go out make sure you know how you’re going to get back. Make sure you know the last bus and train times. Keep your bus or train tickets at hand and small bills in a pocket, away from your wallet. Don’t open your wallet full of money in public, like never ever. When you wait for your public transport such as train or bus opt for more crowded stations where a lot of people pass by and there are many connections. If the bus or train is empty choose a seat near the driver or the person sitting next to you it’s good to be a female too.
Make sure when you take a taxi to always look for legit ones or licensed taxis. The driver should have an ID and the car will have some sort of license displayed on it. Taxi vans that pick up passengers on the streets will probably be illegal and
It’s good to pre-book your taxi every time with a reliable company. Ask for recommendations on the reception desk of your accommodation, hotel or hostel or ask your host for advice if you’re staying in a private condo or something similar. Hitchhiking or accepting rides from strangers is not a safe option at all.
Many criminals have female travelers as a target. Don’t get too comfortable into a conversation with strangers too soon. Always be aware of the surroundings and stay alert. Don’t get too relaxed when you are traveling on your own. As a general rule you should make a safe distance and be reserved in what information you share and what you are saying with any new friend you meet abroad, local or foreigner. Be cautious until you have a good enough reason to believe otherwise and make deeper friendships. If you like to chat with cab drivers and locals, like ask questions about the place, be careful not to reveal any personal information about you, and your plans.
When choosing what clothes to wear
Each country has different customs about the clothing and appearance. Know how do locals dress and choose your clothes accordingly. Simply the cultural norms will make you stand out of the crowd if you don’t prepare, do your research ahead and adapt to the culture. Expect that in some areas you’ll be stared at for no reason. Prepare for that and you won’t feel so awkward. People will think about you one way or the other depending on what you wear. Your trip will be much better if you respect local expectations.
Sometimes only being different by your physical appearance is enough for you to stand out in the crowd and draw attention. But, if you walk confidently and dress up as locals do you won’t get so much of that unnecessary and unpleasant attention. In some cultures, the way you dress encourages men to approach you more freely. In other destinations may be inappropriate and offensive to the cultural norms. You have to be very well informed what should you wear for which location or occasion. You may be not allowed to enter a religious building if you’re not up to the dress code. As a rule of thumb make sure not to reveal much of your body parts when on the streets and in the cities. Cover your legs and shoulders. If in doubt wear something more casual and conservative.
You can as well check some popular websites to get a more clear picture of the fashion trends of the destination. Many times you unknowingly will send wrong signals because of the wrong outfit.
When going out or dating
When you sit in cafes or restaurants, especially those located on the sidewalks, don’t hang your handbag or backpack on the chair, behind your back. Put it on the floor next to you with the straps around chair legs. It will be harder for someone to snatch it out and run. Don’t show off your expensive belongings either, like a camera when you are alone on the streets and away off tourist areas. At locations where showing openly that you’re a tourist, it’s not in your favor.
When you are out eating alone pick a quiet place where food is fresh. Crowded places and eateries will make you feel more alone and uncomfortable. Or somewhere near your accommodation should make you feel good. Avoid places where most of the guests are male. When eating out alone in the restaurants unless there is some kind of tremendous view or it’s a great spot for people watching try not to just stare around in the walls. Instead, read a book or magazine. Avoid any unwanted eye contacts with men. Entering a restaurant or cafe alone may appear like you are looking for company.
Be cautious with whom you talk and what you say. It’s good advice not to reveal to anyone that you are traveling alone. What’s appropriate in your country and considerate as a harmless flirt in other parts of the world can be taken as a serious offer. Wearing a fake wedding ring can come quite helpful in some situations. And that should be the only jewelry you’ll be wearing out of the safe tourist areas, I guess. You can make yourself an easy target to thieves by wearing valuables on you. In general, is good to avoid clothes inappropriate for the occasion and terrain. There is no better accessory than a scarf if you ask me. It covers your shoulders, gives that fancy look, it can even hide your money. So, have one with you wherever you are headed.
Make things clear as much as you can before going with someone somewhere. Keep in mind that in many countries decent and respectable women don’t go out at night at all.
When traveling solo in foreign and unknown destinations, without any friends or close people to you avoid drinking (too much) alcohol. Alcohol can make you vulnerable and someone sometimes can take advantage of it. And don’t accept drinks from strangers. Or food and cigarettes. There are so many drugs out there and some people won’t even ask you if you’d want any. That said, keep an eye on your drink or food at all times when eating out and don’t leave them unattended. Watch the bartender as he pours you a drink. Make sure you’re not being drugged via the food or drink. If you feel something unusual call the police. And that number you should definitely have on speed dial in your cell phone, just in case.
Pack your common sense, confident and intuition and you’ll be fine and good to go. You’ll probably meet very nice people and other female travelers on the way with whom you’ll share your experiences and good memories.
Remember to stay safe and trust your gut. If you feel threatened by someone don’t hesitate to shout out loud, scream and make it a big deal of it.