It is no secret that solo travel as a woman can be quite difficult, we face a lot of dangers out there in the world (as well as do men) but we are more of a target. That should certainly not stop that strong independent gypsy soul in you that wants to explore the world. Go and let the world consume you, feel the sand between your toes, the sun on your skin. It is the greatest feeling in the world and we should not be left out.
Here are is a very useful solo travel guide for women.
Some places in the world this is a requirement, especially in the more conservative countries. It will draw less attention to you as a woman travelling solo and make you feel a bit more comfortable.
Research your destination
Always do your research. Don’t just turn up at a destination and not knowing basic information like how to get to your accommodation especially if you arrive at night.
Check what the countries customs are, any advice for women travellers etc. Lonely Planet has a great section in their guidebooks on solo travel.
Always keep your wits about you. Practice common sense when travelling alone. You are alone and therefore drawing more attention to yourself than other people necessarily will be. Be aware of your surroundings.
Watch your drink and drink in moderation
Everyone likes a party but unless you are with a large group of people, you should definitely drink in moderation in a foreign country and watch it. I remember when I was at the Full Moon Party in Thailand and had a bucket as you do. I was guiding it well as it quite big to quickly be slipped something. I took my eyes off the ball for like 10 seconds and 2 guys were staring at me and as I was about to take a sip. Something didn’t sit well with me there. So I poured it out and didn’t drink it. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instinct.
Blend in as much as possible
It’s no secret that you will be stared at when you are travelling. In some countries seeing a young woman travelling alone is one of the strangest sights to the locals. The independence of western women is baffling to them. You will stand out. So for you comfort blend in as much as you can.
Spend a little extra if it means safety
When safety is involved, spending that little extra on accommodation and travel should not be questioned. You can save in other areas, like food where you can eat incredible food for cheap on the streets of Bangkok but when it comes to all-around safety you should consider spending a little extra.
Check reviews for your accommodation
Check what other like-minded travellers are saying about a place. Look at the location of a place, is it well located so you can get back OK at night? Are the options for female only dorms? Do they have lockers? What’s the overall safety of the place? Read them all when taking accommodation into consideration.
Sit near local women when travelling
You will find that the local women experience the same level of dangers you could face as a solo female traveller. They will be sympathetic towards you and you will that their hospitality will be amazing especially if you are taking an overcrowded train.
Tell someone at home your plans
In case of emergencies, make sure that someone back at home knows your itinerary. Your flight number and times, when you will be on the road and the addresses of the places you are staying at.
Get travel insurance
No brainer really. It’s better to be covered for anything that could happen that be sorry for not having coverage later on.
Have copies of all documents and save some electronically too
Have serval copies of your passport and visas just in case. Save some online too on an email or Dropbox so you have backups just in case you lose your copies too.
Don’t keep all your money in one place
Invest in a money belt. Get a travel card. and scatter money throughout your belongings. Hide it in places where no one will think about looking and don’t flash it about. Take only what you need out with you, that way you have some in case anything goes wrong.
Dress like a local
This one kind of ties in with #5 to blend in is also to dress like a local if needed, that way you will draw less attention to yourself. If in a place where it is mandatory to wear a headscarf, then do so. It’s also respectable to the culture and you will be respected more by the locals. Perhaps think about getting a bright coloured sari in India to blend in more the sea of colours.
Wear a fake wedding ring in some places
In some cultures, it is somewhat ‘frowned upon’ for women to be gallivanting around the world. The men are curious about our wandering souls and can try to cross the line and intimidate us. But a very useful tip is to wear a fake wedding ring because as soon as they see that they back away as they have more respect for men and would never do anything to harm another man’s wife.
Consider getting a slash-proof bag
Slashing of bags happen more than you think, to be safe consider getting a slash-proof bag. They are a small investment that could steer away from any potential danger. Even get pack safe which is a lockable metal net that you wrap around your bag which is extremely useful when travelling on trains and buses.
Carry a safety device that you feel comfortable with
Consider getting a safety device that you are comfortable carrying. To give you a piece of mind and the people at home too. Chances are you probably won’t use it but it’s there just in case to make you feel a bit safer too.
Have the address of your accommodation written down.
Have the address written down so you can show taxi drivers etc. Plus you may not be able to get signal, battery or data to find it later on when you arrive at your destination. Just make sure you know where you are going. Research the directions before you go or easiest ways to get there.
Don’t feel guilty about saying ‘no’
Never ever feel guilty about saying ‘no’. That is your right and it’s your life. Never let anyone intimidate you until the point you agree on something you don’t want to do. Do only what you think is right and nothing more.
It’s OK to lie
Especially if it’s about a significant other back at home. These people don’t know any difference, so make up a story to get out of an uncomfortable situation. I have don’t it before. When I was travelling in Sri Lanka, a tuk-tuk driver tried to intimidate me one night and from that moment on, I had a husband back home in the UK working whilst I was on holiday. They questioned it, naturally but stick to your story and you eventually find they will back off.
Trust your gut
Nothing is better than a woman intuition, right? If something feels off then it probably is. Go with your gut and trust it. It’s never wrong. In my experience it has never been wrong, I got out of some potential horrible situations thanks to that ‘icky’ feeling.
Check out some more of articles on Solo Female Travel safety