Solo female travelers face a lot of unwanted and uncomfortable attention. There are certain sexual stereotypes associated with women.
Some men often think women who wear short dresses or come from western parts of the word are easily available. Women who are friendly are also mistaken as loose.
Such mindsets not only make solo female travel awkward but also potentially unsafe and dangerous.
We present few safety tips for and by female travelers that can make your travels exciting, safe and stress-free.
Solo Travel is a trend that has gained momentum in the past few years. It is mentally rewarding but comes with it’s own set of challenges.
Statistics from Adventure Travel Trade Association, Princeton Survey Research Associates and others reveal that between 58% – 70% of people travel alone.
The trend is higher among millennial travelers. Also between 2016-17, solo female travel surged by 52%. The trend is expected to rise by 2% per annum.
We think that women should travel alone for various reasons. It is a confidence booster and helps in improving personal skills such as communication, negotiation, cultural sensitivity etc. It also gives much-needed time for inner-reflection.
Key Safety Tips
1 Plan Your Trip Like a Pro – If you are a lousy planner, it’s time to change things. When it comes to travel, make sure you do thorough research on your destination.
Get a printed map and take a broad look at your prospective destination. Mark places of interest, landscape, transportation links, food options etc. Lonely Planet provides the best waterproof maps with key information.
Check multiple reviews about all the places you wish to visit. Check the best mode of travel for each route, list of permitted items and travel guidelines. For camping, hiking and remote locations, extract every micro information.
It is also beneficial to save the location of your country’s embassy in case of emergencies. Most embassy officials now have a social media presence. Following their accounts is a good idea for quick responses.
Flight timing is also important. We recommend taking a flight that lands at and takes off from your destination in the morning or afternoon. This makes check-in and out comfortable including hotel transfers.
2 Pack the Essentials – Every traveler must be prepared for known and unforeseen circumstances. Click here to see our travel essentials. You may not need everything but can surely tick a few things.
3 Choose Accommodation Wisely – We recommend booking a hotel that is family-friendly and in close proximity to city center.
Go for a minimum 3-star property and if budget is your priority, stay in a government-funded hotel.
Your hotel must be close to a bus stop, grocery and metro station.
4 Local Currency and Cards – Not all retailers accept dollars and not every city has decent exchanges. Avoid being duped by vendors by carrying local currency.
It is wise to carry just enough cash for the day at a time. If you want to store a bit extra, be creative and hide where it cannot be found by pickpocketers.
We also suggest carrying traveler debit cards that come with multiple currencies. These cards have double authentication system and limited draw out features to prevent fraud.
4 Share Your Plans – It is a good idea to keep someone at your home informed about your whereabouts.
Share your itinerary with family and friends including daily plans, hotel and flight details.
5 Stay Connected – If your current mobile provider has expensive roaming plans, buy an international sim card.
These sims offer voice and data connectivity across the world at cheap rates. Whatsapp is a great app for calling and messgaing home.
6 Local Laws & Customs – Every place has its own own set of acceptable tourist behavior norms. For instance, not every society is comfortable with short or revealing outfits.
Swearing (even non-serious) can be offensive in many countries. It may also be seen as a sign of flirtation.
Similarly, an eye contact in a country can be seen as a sign of strength while in another it may be considered sexual intimacy.
Sadly, we stay in a world where rules apply more to women than men.
6 Unnecessary Attention – If you plan to check out night-life in a new place, always be extra cautious. Make sure you choose a place that has good online reviews.
Keep alcohol intake to a bare minimum to stay attentive. Never accept favors from strangers and decline politely.
Exit the place at a time when the surrounding area is still lit up and alive. Don’t be a situation where you have to walk on a deserted road.
Many women also make the biggest mistake of wearing expensive jewelry when traveling. By doing so, they become easy targets of beggars, pickpocketing and even conmen.
Leave your jewelry at home and if you want to wear something, go rustic or island-ish!
7 Registered Taxis – It is smart to use registered taxis. Private cabs are unsafe and unpredictable.
They sound cheap but usually deceive customers with longer routes and higher fares.
8 Registered Tour Operators – Women risk themselves by deciding to explore with a private operator.
Don’t take unnecessary chances and put your life in danger. Always use a government-approved tour operator or individual tour operator.
9 Insurance – You never know what lies ahead. You may catch flu, get stung by a jellyfish or upset your tummy with unfamiliar food.
International travel insurance can save you the ordeal and money. Majority of the insurances are now easily available online!
10 Be Nice but Never Trust – Last but not the least, it is good to mingle with locals. However, never trust anyone. Never give away your hotel or travel details to anyone.
Don’t accept lifts from anyone and do not accept favors that may sound too good to be true. Trust your instincts and if something gives you one bit of doubt, skip the idea/plan.
Finally, if you are traveling alone for the first time, always speak to other experienced solo travelers for tips and suggestions.
With each journey, there is something to learn, adapt and grow. It just gets better and better each time.