Especially women travelling alone have to be extra careful. Sadly, this world is no happy fantasy land with peaceful unicorns flying about and rainbows in the sky. However, just because there is bad stuff happening in the world doesn’t mean you should hide away from it. Travelling alone entails so many beautiful freedoms, such as meeting people you otherwise wouldn’t have, going places a travel buddy might have been bored with or just being able to do whatever you want on any given day. It’s a definite confidence booster. But it also brings some uncertainty and insecurity with you. So here are my safety tips for women travelling alone.
Women Travelling Alone Have to Rely on Themselves
Who watches your back when you put down your bag? Who guards your valuables when you go for a swim? Safety in numbers and all of that is fair enough, but what if you are one of the many women travelling alone? Sadly enough, a female travelling by herself is still seen as in danger. Or as easy prey. Or as a curious thing (don’t even ask me about all the weird questions we women travelling alone get a lot).
However, nothing of this should ever hold a woman back from travelling. You should read up on general travel safety, about stranger danger, water safety and what to do when you fall sick abroad. But for extra measure, here are 18 vital tips for women travelling alone.
Don’t Keep to Yourself – Tell and Ask Questions
- Share your travel plans with family and friends: It gives both them and you more peace of mind knowing when they can expect their women travelling alone to arrive in certain places and they can kep better track of you in case something happens.
- Check with your host which areas are safe and which aren’t, you wouldn’t want to walk into a gang fight zone even be it night or broad daylight. Locals know best.
- Have a fully charged phone with you with screenshots of maps and routes or apps that have full on maps saved in case you cannot access wifi
Looks Count – Dress Smart and Confidently
- Don’t walk around alone after dark and avoid empty and/or unlit streets. If you can, stick to streets with CCTV recording and lots of people.
- Women travelling alone shouldn’t dress too flashy or provocatively. Sadly, that still often is seen as an invitation and often an excuse for victim shaming. Also, it shows respect for local customs and helps you to better blend in and look more like a local.
- Wear comfortable shoes in which you can run in. High heels make you look sexy but also like an easy target. Or maybe you want to use the heel as a weapon. But are you really that fast?
Don’t Share too Much
- Don’t flash your valuables; hide expensive items in an unimpressive, crumbled grocery bag rather than in a (fake) designer purse when you are out.
- Don’t reveal personal information, details on your itinerary or that you are alone to strangers. Even when talking with friends in public be aware that you might be overheard.
- Wear a fake wedding ring. It doesn’t matter if you are single or not, wearing a wedding ring actually puts off a guy or two. And it doesn’t scream women travelling alone! You could always take it off if there’s a guy you would want to tell you’re available.
Be Prepared for the Worst
- Carry a personal Screaming Device or a Storm Whistle with you in unsafe surroundings. Pepper spray is banned in many countries and you probably won’t have time to pull it out anyway.
- Know where the next safe place would be, such as open supermarkets, petrol stations or – even better – police stations.
- Ignore unwelcome remarks and catcalls. If you start complaining or telling the rude dude off, they might feel thwarted in their manliness and come at you even more. Don’t give them the attention they seek as much as you would like to hit them.
Avoid Being Completely Alone
- Join tour groups or (free) walking tours in your new city to get to know it without being alone. Some areas you should only enter with knowledgable local. Again, ask at the reception or tourist information.
- Always meet strangers in public places and tell someone you trust about it.
- Arrange a fake call or install an app that does it for you in case you want to leave.
Don’t Be Too Trusting
- Don’t accept car rides, food or drink from strangers. (Watch your drinks and don’t get drunk)
- Always watch out for your food and dink on top of that as we all know that putting knockout drops into drinks happens too often to be comfortable about it.
- Only use taxis with a metre and registration or have your accommodation call an official driving service.
- Learn basic self-defence (check out these self-defense techniques for travel)
- In case you are threatened by a robber, don’t play hero, but give over your wallet – or throw it to the ground and run for the hills.
- If you are getting into your car, only unlock when you are at the door and lock yourself in once inside. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to secretly slide in (and don’t get into your driver’s door if someone happens to be waiting in their car next to your door).
- Don’t let down your guard when you walk around. Have a good view of your surroundings and keep your ears and eyes free (no walking while texting or listening to music on loud).
- Download offline maps and store important numbers in your phone (better yet: have them on speed dial). Check if there is a local ‘Call to Safety’ number to use when walking alone and to be tracked.
- Trust your gut and listen to your instincts.
I hope you now have some more tricks up your sleeve to stay under the radar and travel safe and secure as a female solo traveller. If you are travelling to dangerous countries, reserach and preparation are key. Otherwise, don’t be scared, be prepared!
Do you have any tips you’d like to add?