Now I hope that this list doesn’t frighten you into thinking that traveling alone is scary, but the reality is that it can be for women.
This list is meant to be useful, practical, and applicable. By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay alert and take appropriate precautions so that you can enjoy a safe and fun vacation.
1. Research the Area You’re Visiting and Know Where You’re Staying
Use Google Maps to get a better visual so that you know exactly where you’re heading once you leave the airport. Map out the routes from your accomodation to the tourist attractions you plan on visiting. This will help you to avoid dangerous areas and keep you from getting lost.
2. Make Friends with Other Female Travelers
Making new friends is nice, and chances are that other travelers are planning to visit the tourist attractions in the area as well. You’ll have some company on your trip and maybe even find someone that’ll help you take your gorgeous Instagram pictures. Making new memories in another country can be a great foundation to a lifelong friendship. However, always use your common sense and judgement when making friends, as there are those out there with ill-intentions.
3. Don’t Make it Obvious that You’re Alone
It’s best to not tell anyone that you’re alone and try to fit in with the locals. You don’t want to attract attention to yourself and make yourself a target. Naturally, sitting at a table alone is quite difficult to hide, stay close to other groups or toss your sweater on the chair across from you at the restaurant.
4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake and Don’t Stay Out Too Late
While obvious, it needs to be said. The less coherent you are, the more difficult it’ll be to get yourself out of danger, should you get into any. You want to be alert at all times, it’s much easier for someone to take advantage of you in an inebriated state. It’s also a well known fact that the probability of danger rises in the night time.
5. Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
As you should be, regardless of if you’re traveling or not. However, moreso if you’re traveling solo as a woman. Notice where you are, landmarks along your route, the faces of people around you and their proximity to you. If you notice anything suspicious, take precautions immediately. Too often bad things happen because people don’t act quickly enough. Be weary of “coincidences” and don’t wait to see what will happen– take action.
You may also want to keep something small in your purse that you can use in case of emergencies, like pepper spray or a whistle. Ideally it would be something that could fit onto a keychain.
6. Stay Around Larger Crowds
This will help to make it less apparent that you’re alone. It’s also good to be around people in case you need help with anything. If you plan on visiting attractions, this will also help to indicate that you are in the right place. Joining a guided tour will allow others to notice if you’re missing, and gives you the opportunity to mingle with others who have may have similar interests.
7. Protect Your Personal Items: Wallet, Passport & Phone
Keep your important documents locked somewhere safe in your accommodation. Most hotels have a safety box, but if you’re staying at an AirBnB or somewhere that doesn’t have one, keep it in a secure part of your bag. Use small locks on your bags, especially when leaving the accommodation. Always have your purse hanging in front of you as opposed to behind you over your shoulder. You may even consider a fanny pack that you can tuck under a top or sweater.
Don’t wear your camera around your neck while walking for long periods of time, put it away. You don’t want anyone to snatch it away from you. Also, wear a less expensive watch so you don’t have to take out your phone as often.
8. Stay connected!
Pick up a SIM card at the airport so that you always have access to the internet and phone usage in case you need it. Being self-sufficient is key when you’re alone. Having to repeatedly stop and ask strangers for help makes it more obvious that you’re not from there, and can draw attention to you when you want to be blending in. Make sure that you’re checking in with someone back home a minimum of once a day, whether it be a family member or friend, a text or phone call is ideal.
9. Join a Facebook Group Based on Your Destination
Search: Expats in (x) , Women in (x), Digital nomads in (x), Foreigners in (x), ect. The group will most likely contain a ton of insider info to help you have the best experience possible. Chances are that you’ll also be able to make friends in the group prior to your trip that can help to give you more tips on where to go and what to do to make your trip more enjoyable. If you’re lucky, you may be able to meet them and gain friendly company.
10. Get Travel Insurance
I really hope this one doesn’t scare you, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Travel insurance is a good idea whether you’re traveling solo or not. You never know what could happen and you want to make sure that you’re well protected, especially being so far from home. Companies such as World Nomads have great travel insurance at good prices. Your life is too great a price tag to wager, make sure that you’re covered in any worst-case scenario.
If you follow the above tips, you’ll increase your chances of a safe, fun and enjoyable trip as a solo female traveler!