Travel tips: 17 solo women travelers
Travel tips are always handy, specially when we think about safety. Here are some safety travel tips by 17 traveling women!
I’ve been traveling for a long time and I have to admit I rarely felt threatened or in danger. Although traveling is usually safe, there are always a few basic common sense and safety tips we should follow. 16 talented female travel bloggers share their tricks and with you!
Travel tips by 17 solo female travelers
Most of my travels have been as a solo traveller. I love the freedom it gives me, the ability to adapt to my surroundings with a flexible itinerary and the opportunity to follow my own path both spiritually and geographically. I have found it easier to meet other travellers, befriend locals and have enjoyed a liberating journey of self-discovery. I crave adventure but I never forego safety in my search for it. Here are some of the tips I follow:Common sense
Life is too short not to get out there and live it. It is also too short to throw it away on a moment of stupidity or carelessness. Leave room in your backpack for some common sense and don’t take chances that you wouldn’t take at home.
Tailor your research to the type of place you are going and your own travel style. Check out the blogs of other solo female travellers – they are full of practical and good advice.
Disconnect – but don’t disppear
Disconnecting from technology helps me reconnect with the real world and make the most of the moment I am in. But before you switch your phone off, mitigate the risk of travelling alone by communicating your plans and location to someone.
Befriend hotel/hostel staff
Chatting to local staff is a great way to ask about the local area, to learn of any safety issues and to make yourself known to someone who may notice if you don’t return as expected.
Cathy from Solo Travelers Alliance
As a woman and a solo traveler, safety is near and dear to my heart.
My wallet wasn’t stolen in Rome or Morocco, it was stolen two blocks from my house when I was eating at a Corner Bakery because I wasn‘t aware!
Here’s my tip for traveling safe:
Always get a card from the place you’re staying, if they don’t have cards write the name, address and phone number and keep it with you. Use the people working at the place you’re staying as a resource. When you’re in a foreign country alone, it’s helpful if someone might notice you’re missing. Tell them where you’re going and when you think you’ll be back. Ask them if there are any dangers or annoyances you should watch out for. If you’re doing the Airbnb thing or something similar, make sure the place has references and perhaps the host can give you some tips. In conjunction with this, make sure someone at home has all your information. Scan everything and give a copy to a friend and keep one with you.
Don’t be afraid, just be aware. Stay safe and keep traveling!
I always use my common sense when it comes to security. I’m always aware of my surroundings. When I walk around a place I’ve never been before I’m trying not to use a map all the time. In my opinion it gives a potential thief, or to go even further kidnapper, a sign that you’re not familiar with a place meaning you’re an easy target. This is also why I’m always trying to look like I know where am I heading. If I have to ask for directions I’m always saying that I’m meeting my male friend there, when I feel insecure.
If I go out with a group of people I just met I never let myself get drunk, because I don’t know what can I expect. I need to be able to take care of myself on my own. If I sense that some guys are trying to take advantage of me I try to seem more drunk and see how they react, while taking a full control of the situation.
My biggest advice for female travelers is to trust your instincts. Live your life as if most people only want to help, not hurt you. If you are constantly in a state of fear, you get paranoid and slip up. These are the times you leave your bag unattended or miss out on the best things your destination has to offer.
My experiences being welcomed by locals are far greater than the few moments I’ve had where I felt that my safety was at risk. It’s the Turks who ask you into their shop for tea or the Canadians who offer you their phone number in case you get lost in Toronto. Trust in the goodness of people.
My best safety tip for women is simple: use your common sense and follow your gut. If something seems a little off, then get yourself out of the situation. While you don’t need to be at high alert at all times, being aware of your surroundings can prevent you from walking into a potentially bad situation. If there is something you want to do, but you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own you can always find someone to go with you. Hostels are a great place for meeting other travelers and I bet many will be up for doing whatever it is that you want to do.
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It’s important to listen to your intuition, to what your body is telling you, in any situation. However, it’s even more important to do so when you’re traveling solo. After all, you only have yourself to warn you when things aren’t right.
You must have been in a situation before when you felt uncomfortable. You may have tried to analyze what was there that made you feel that way, but it may not be too apparent. If you’re traveling by yourself and you feel this discomfort–even without knowing the source–don’t think twice. Just leave the situation and find a safer place until the feeling passes.
Sometimes, it also has something to do with a person. You meet a local who seems really helpful and who even goes out of his way to assist you. But you feel uncomfortable, something doesn’t feel right. When you feel it, leave the person’s company. Make whatever excuse you have to. It could be that your subconscious has noticed something in that person that’s not readily obvious to you.
This has happened once or twice with me when I was traveling alone, and I always followed my intuition to leave the situation or person who made me uncomfortable. Whether I was right or not, it didn’t matter. My safety always comes first.
Marie – Carmen
Safety as a female traveller tends to be an important part of the decision making process. I mean it’s understandable, do you really want to be part of a travel with sleepless nights because of the stress of getting in trouble ? While I’ll say you will be fine, my best advice would be for you to try to blend in and always register with your embassy in the country you are visiting.
While this might seem like dumb advice, it could clearly help you in many situations. By registering yourself as being resident in the country, you help your embassy to account for you there and in case of any crisis in said country, they can easily contact or extract you if necessary. Yes, it might be less than a thousand to one chance, but it takes five minutes of your time and could make all the difference if a natural disaster, military coup, or zombie outbreak were to occur while you’re sunning yourself on the beach. If you’re registered with your embassy they will be the first do to everything in their power to get you out of there or grant you protection in their walls.
In addition to that I’ll add some basics advice: know the country that you are visiting! Learn about the local politics, customs and religion. For example, in Vietnam it is important that you avoid discussing politics and especially being critical of the government, doing so can land not only yourself but also any locals you were speaking with in a lot of trouble. In Thailand NEVER be disrespectful towards the King and royal family, even in a joking way, such things are taken very seriously and there are at this very moment foreigners behind bars in Thailand for making this mistake. And female visitors to predominately Muslim countries such as Bangladesh or Pakistan should bear in mind that they will generally be expected to wear a veil in public places. Knowledge will always save you from unnecessary problems!
While no doubt there will be a lot of advice here about avoiding a dreaded “Taken” situation or tips on how to stick your middle finger up the Patriarchal society we are in. What I will share here is the unorthodox strategies I learned from my Mom on how to better manage my sanity on the road. On a trip to China during my Winter break, I wasn’t even out of the Canadian border when I lost my wallet containing valuable IDs and money.
What really helped calm me down is the fact that I have scanned copies of my documents in my email and also photocopies in my backpack- It’s an added step when packing but it may be absolutely useful when you are stuck in a situation where you’d have to go to an embassy for assistance. And also about the virtue of exchanging currency in your home country rather than the airport (if possible- it also results in a better exchange rate) and stashing a wad of bills in a tiny opaque Shampoo bottle that you could carry while in a hostel shower and put away on the locker when you’re sightseeing during the day.
I’ve also been a fan of Western Union and how it really saved my butt on numerous occasions, it is really convenient to have a family member or a trusted friend wire you some cash midway your trip should you run into some trouble. It may be a schlep but it’s a small price to pay for a heaving sigh of relief.
Rachel Jones from Hippy in Heels
First of all, I’m nice and smile at everyone regardless of Indian guidebooks saying, “Smiling is a come-on to Indian men”. I try to stay civil even with light teasing and just brush it off. But when you have a man trying to touch you or actually grabbing, my go to is to act bat-shit crazy. No one wants to deal with a crazy girl. I travel through India solo regularly, a place the U.S. State Department advises women not to travel solo in. I have had a fair share of negative run-ins with men and acting like a lunatic never fails me.The guy who grabbed my bum on a bus didn’t realize that when I pull out my go-to move it’s quite embarrassing for all involved, but especially him! I yell, point, and make sure others on the bus are aware of what he did. Guess what? They yelled at him too! He was shamed into exiting the bus.
If you are with all men on the bus, the better reaction is to get off the bus without making a scene and if there is a police officer around, tell him you’ve been eve-teased. It’s taken seriously by the police because it can quickly escalade into something worse. Safe travels!
Sarah from A Week at the Beach
When traveling solo, organize your first transfer in advance.As well-traveled women, we all know how overwhelming it can be to arrive at an international airport after a long day of travel to a crazed crowd of taxi drivers trying to get you to hop in their vehicle. To bypass this situation and ensure the beginning of your journey is as stress-free as possible, I recommend organizing your arrival transfer in advance. Sure it’s an extra bit of planning and perhaps a bit more expensive, but being able to confidently saunter over to a driver holding a sign with your name on it and transfer safely to your hotel or hostel ensures a relaxed start to your adventure.
Get to know Sarah and her amazing advntures www.AWeekattheBeach.com, stay in touch via Twitter
I’m a dance photography specialist who has visited 102 countries for stories related to dance or cycling (more often dance and ideally both) and although it sounds cliché the best advice I have is to trust your intuition.
As an ex big-picture risk manager I used to help others design formal systems to help people manage organisational risks better through intuition, and I use the same philosophy in my travels. Our unconscious minds pick up thousands of little cues that our conscious minds gloss over, so if it feels wrong to do something it probably is.
I practice developing this intuition on home turf in London. I might use it to decide where in a car park is the best place for my car, where I should leave my bike or whether I should walk home along a particular route. Of course I check the feeling against common sense and of course I can’t tell you for sure that it works, but I’ve been lucky so far. I’m also convinced that if I expect the best of people they’ll prove me right, but that’s another story..
+Carole.Edrich (and +Edrich.Carole.2) Dancetog.com but could you please land me on dancetog.com/dancetravel Facebook.com/Carole.Edrich (and facebook.com/CaroleEdrichPhotography) Twitter.com/C_E (and twitter.com/CE_Images) Instagram ce_images
Ewa from Post travel Thoughts
As a general advice, I would say it’s worth learning some basic emergency phrases in the local language. Even though in stressful situations we often become speechless, it’s worth taking some time to learn the basics while you’re on the plane. Just in case.
Don’t carry your backpack on your back while sightseeing in a crowd or on a full bus. It takes seconds for the thief to unzip or cut your bag. I may sound obsessed, but since I caught one lady-thief’s hand in my purse in a Starbucks in London, I think it’s justified.
Couchsurfing is a great way to meet people and travel on a budget, but if all couchsurfers willing to offer you a couch are guys with profile pictures showing them half-naked on a beach, a red light should appear in your head. That was my experience with CS in Italy, especially south of Rome. Read the references, exchange a few messages with your host before meeting them and have a hostel address just in case your host doesn’t show up or expects more than just friendship.
Don’t forget to charge your phone regularly. If you’re walking alone at night in a dangerous area, pretend you’re talking on a phone (or really do talk) to someone and say stuff like ‘Ok, I”ll see you in a second, I’m almost there’ meanwhile having police number ready to dial. I know people are usually told not to expose they’re valuables, but who said you need your new, shiny iphone with you? Take a cheap, old phone. Try to appear confident. If you look lost and scared, you’ll become an attractive target.
Regarding the dress code: unless you want to become a martyr for the sake of feminist theory, put the ‘I can even go naked on the street and no one can touch me’ attitude aside. I know they can’t, but sometimes they do. Better safe then sorry, right?
The majority of people have good intentions and are willing to help you, not harm you. If you remember about basic safety rules, you’ll be able to truly enjoy your solo trip.
Sharon Gourlay from Where’s Sharon?
My biggest safety tip is to always look like you know where you are going. I find that I am far less likely to be hassled by people if I look like I know exactly where I am and what I am doing. I try to avoid looking at a map in public wherever possible.
I am always wary when men approach me when I am travelling alone, and I am careful to not give them the impression that I am travelling alone. I give away as few personal details as possible. I try to dress discretely in countries where the local women cover up. I have tried the fake (and now a real) wedding band, but I have not found that to make much of a difference.
I try not to be out of sight while in public. When I was in Turkey, I was walking along a main road when I walked past a parked bus. Suddenly, a guy rushed me and touched me inappropriately – I hadn’t realized I was blocking off other people’s view of us when I walked there.
Overall though, I recommend following the same advice we have been given about terrorist activity here in Australia – be alert, not alarmed!! Take sensible precautions but try not to worry to the point where it stops your enjoyment and freedom of movement while travelling.
I frequently travel solo for business, which means I spend a lot of time hanging out in hotels alone. I’ve adopted some safety tips for solo hotel stays that I do every trip: If the front desk clerk hands me my key and says the room number aloud, I ask for a different room. If I get in the elevator alone with a man, I’m discrete about what room I’m in (and sometimes even what floor I’m staying on). I won’t go to the hotel gym if it’s hidden away and empty. When I’m grabbing dinner or a drink at the hotel bar, I love chatting with other travelers, but am very selective about how much I share with them. When returning to my hotel, especially at night, I’d always prefer to take a taxi, even a short distance, rather than walk in a strange city alone. With a few easy changes to your routine, you can stay in a hotel solo and feel confident about your safety!
About the author: Christina Saull – a frequent business and leisure traveler – is the author behind the popular DINK travel blog My View from the Middle Seat. Follow her adventures on Twitter at @MiddleSeatView or on her Facebook page.
Lainie from Raisin Miro on the road of life
What happens if an emergency occurs while you are traveling? What happens, if you are a single parent family and you are in foreign lands and an emergency happens? This is the lens I experience the world through. I am a single parent and I left the US with my son to travel when he was 10. He is now 15 and we’ve learned a lot from our 5 years out of the States. Here’s the first quick tip anyone can use, the single female traveler to the single mom traveling with a child or two in order to keep yourself safe in the world.
The first and most important thing for anyone traveling is to be able to discern the difference between a problem versus an emergency. As a parent, I am able to break down experiences to the most basic definition. As an adult, we sometimes forget to make this distinction. It is common to overact when we are coming from a place of irrational fear, therefore, I find the most important skill when facing a potential emergency to discern the difference. Between a problem and an emergency. And yes, traveling with a child adds a completely new dimension of complexity to that issue.
As my son has gotten older, this distinction is understood. However when we first set out, this was the first step of our emergency preparedness. The difference between “a problem” and an “emergency” is that a problem is something we need help with, but did not require emergency services. In contrast, an emergency is a situation that requires immediate assistance from another person, usually in the form of an official from the police or medical professional. As simplistic as that sounds, it’s a great tool to keep us safe and out of a state of irrational fear.
I wrote a post that includes A Single Parent Travel Emergency Preparation Check List. For more go to:http://www.raisingmiro.com/2013/03/14/single-parent-travel-emergency-plans-and-preparations/–
I’ve been traveling solo since my early 20s. It’s something that I have loved to do- and embrace the freedom of being on my own and enjoying my own company. At almost 40 now with several miles and countries under my belt- there are a few things that I always make sure that I do when traveling alone, as it’s no longer just me out there. I have a family that I have to think of that depends on me.
Don’t wear branded headphones if you must wear headphones at all. Cheap ones from the drugstore only, and keep your music as low as possible so you can still be aware of surroundings. As wonderful as it is to lose yourself, don’t. The same goes for drinking alcohol. Be responsible.
Don’t be flashy with your iPhone. They are in great demand abroad and no one will think twice if you leave it unattended- or that you might even have more expensive things with you..
Use a locked site, like Dropbox, Eversave, etc to take pictures of all your documents – ID, insurance, tickets, passport, etc. You can access them from any phone/computer.
When you check into a hotel, make sure the check-in person doesn’t say your room number out loud for others to hear. They should always write it down and hand it to you instead. If they say it aloud in front of other people, you’re supposed to ask for a new room and ask for it to be written down instead.
And obviously- make sure someone knows where you’re staying with a phone number and your itinerary. CHECK IN!
I hope you can find one or two of those useful!
Marysia From My travel affairs
The most important safety tip I always give to all my girlfriends asking about travelling solo is: “Pack your common sense. And never forget your smile!
I know it may sounds cliche, but common sense is essential for every traveller! Look, it is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things and surroundings.
Even though it sounds very general it is quiet simple!
I’m gonna sound a little patronizing now but bear with me
Dress appropriately, respect religion, traditions and customs. Respect and try to understand different mentalities and mind set ups. Do not impose your believes, life choices and political opinions on others.
I could carry on forever but I do not want to sound like my mother and I’m sure you already got an idea
The smile! Smile always helps me. I think it is all about attitude. When you approach other people no matter where you are with smile, they always smile back, are helpful and friendly like this gentleman in his ‘old money shop’ in the Tabriz Bazaar!