For women like me who face all these security concerns, I have gathered a list of solo female travel safety tips below. If you want to know more about the benefits of solo travel as a woman, we have you covered too!
Do your research
It is very important to do your research before you decide on a destination for your next solo trip. Be aware of the weather, natural disasters, the current political situation of that country, any possible political unrest, the culture of that country and their norms, and how they dress. You can blend in by wearing similar clothes as local women so that you are not identified as a tourist, thus preventing being taken advantage of. Researching on the destination will help you prepare for the trip better and you will be safe from facing any potential scams or difficulties.
Take baby steps
To be real, we all face questions and fears when we try to decide on our first solo trip. What if we’re not safe by ourselves? What if we get into trouble? That’s why you can start by starting small and visiting nearby cities to break that fear and build confidence. That way, you know you’re close to home, and even better if you already have an idea of what to expect at the destination.
When using maps, pay attention to your surroundings and not just the direction on the screen, to be aware of what is going on around you.
Keep your passport and credit/debit cards safe
- Keep a photocopy of your passport, so that if it gets lost or stolen, you have a copy of it and can take the necessary steps.
- Store one in your google drive, and send your family or friends a copy too, so that in case you can’t access it, they can send it to you.
- Try not to carry it all the time unless necessary.
- Make sure you have front-and-back copies of your credit cards saved to cloud storage and you should also keep your bank and credit card customer service phone numbers stored in a document or notes as well.
Make the best use of your Smartphone
- Share your location with your friends and family so that at least one person is aware of where you are in case you need to be located.
- Use Maps - Download an offline version of maps for the location you are visiting, so that you don’t get lost in case you lose your internet connection.
- Use a Translation App - It is important to have an idea of the local language and to understand what is being said to you. Download a translation app to communicate, because it can be a safety concern too. If possible, learn some basic local language
- Carry your phone charger and portable charger with you at all times, because in a country where you are all alone, your phone is one of your most important belongings. In case you get lost or are in trouble, your phone can help you get out of it, so it is important to make sure that it is charged and you have your charger with you just in case your battery dies.
- Get an International Phone Plan so that you can stay connected with your friends and family. Solo traveling can be lonely and scary sometimes. When that happens, it is always comforting to know that your loved ones are just a phone call away!
- Download safety apps on your phone when you travel abroad. Even if they cannot ensure full safety, they can get emergency help to your exact location, warn you about disasters, vaccines, diseases and give you medical recommendations.
- Save the nearby precinct’s number on your phone when choosing a destination, so that you can always call the police if you’re in danger.
- You can also download the GAFFL app to find a travel companion in case you get nervous about traveling to a particular destination alone.
Travel during the day
If possible, travel while there is still daylight outside and you are surrounded by people and avoid walking around alone at night. If you have to go out at night, try to find travel companions or groups so that you are not out alone and can be safe.
Keep your belongings safe
- Leave all of your valuables in the hotel and only take a necessary amount of cash if you need to go out at night. That way, in case you lose your wallet or get mugged, you will have some money to help you survive. Make sure that you do not flash expensive items and draw attention to them by the wrong people.
- Do not keep all your money, cards and valuables in one place. Instead, keep them distributed throughout different compartments. If one bag is stolen or lost, you'll still have some cash or card left in another bag to get through your trip.
Use Safe Transport
Travelling can be expensive, and you may obviously want to save some money by taking public transport or walking. But your safety comes first! Take Uber or Lyft over other transports so that you don’t get lost or end up in danger on the streets, especially at night. You can also share your ride in these apps, which is great. You can also use google maps on your phone to match the route the driver is taking, to ensure that you are being taken in the right direction.
STEP is a free service that permits U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to get the most recent security updates from the closest U.S. embassy or consulate so that you can make decisions about your travel.
Be Safe at Bars
These are quite obvious but they're still worth mentioning
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers
- Don’t leave your drink alone
- Don’t go home or get in a car with strangers
- Try not to go alone at night
- Don’t drink to a point where you get drunk and can’t defend yourself.
Get Travel Insurance
When traveling, it is important to get travel insurance. Don’t let the temptation of saving money on travel insurance lure you! It can be a huge health and financial risk if you don’t have travel insurance. You can read more about why travel insurance is a must on this link. World Nomads is a pretty popular option.
Trust your instincts!
Your instincts are usually right. If being in a surrounding, transport, or home makes you uncomfortable, even if there is no valid reason to back it up, leave from there! Your gut is trying to tell you something. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Bring the feminine hygiene products you need with you.
If you use a certain brand of tampons, sanitary pads, or birth control, take them with you, because those may not be available in the country you are going to.
Take care of Yourself
- Make sure you don’t go into deep bodies of water if you can’t swim
- Stay well-rested and don’t push your body to keep going when it can’t take it anymore.
- Take care of your diet. If you’re allergic to something, make sure you mention it at the restaurant before eating, because the last thing you want is to get sick when you are traveling solo.
Watch out for Yourself
If you are a woman and if you are traveling alone, no matter what, you have to protect yourself.
- Be nice to people when you’re seeking directions or help. If you treat the locals nicely, they’ll be more willing to help you out. However, don’t be afraid to stand your ground if someone makes you uncomfortable.
- Lie if necessary. If you get hit on and the person won’t leave you alone, tell them you are in a relationship or that you have to be somewhere else and get yourself out of the situation, if they won’t take no for an answer.
- Learn some basic self-defense if you can, to be able to protect yourself.
- Do not give personal information away to strangers because you don’t know what their intentions might be.
- Carry rape whistles and self-defense products to ensure your safety.
You can check out some of the top safest destinations for solo female travelers.