10 Essential Safety Tips for Women Traveling Solo
So, you’ve studied abroad in Europe, took a family vacay to Africa, and honeymooned in South America. Even still, your desire to explore cannot be satisfied, but this time, there’s no one to go with you. Sounds like a solo trip! Without your besties, sibs, spouse, etc. by your side, traveling — and planning — can seem that much more intimidating, especially as a woman. Despite the seeming onslaught of startling stats and scary news stories, women continue to travel by themselves — boldly, successfully, safely — year after year. These are 10 female experts’ most fail-proof precautions for women who want to see the world on their own.
1. Equip your phone. “You can expect most metropolitan areas to have adequate access to WiFi; however, rural areas likely do not. Reach out to your carrier to find out about the coverage at your desired destination. If you’re traveling out of the country, consider purchasing an international SIM card or phone plan to ensure you can reach someone in case of an emergency.” (Chizoba Anyaoha, founder of TravSolo)
2. Register with the embassy. “The US state department allows you to register with embassies throughout the globe online. This is a great tool because if there’s a natural disaster or political instability, they can account for you and evacuate (you) if needed.” (Jessica van Dop DeJesus, travel writer for The Dining Traveler)
3. Account for incidentals. “Walking is a great way to explore a new city (and stick to a tight travel budget), but if it’s getting dark and you start to feel uneasy about where you are, you need to call a cab or an Uber without hesitation. There’s no cab fare that’s worth more than your safety! That’s why I advise all female solo travelers to pad their budget a bit, even by $100-200.” (Angela Skowronek, founder of SheGoes Solo Travel)
4. Dress like a local. “Solo travel isn’t the time to win a fashion award, especially when in a country where safety is a concern. It’s important to understand the culture and dress accordingly. The goal is to blend in, not to stand out and create unwanted attention. I not only cover up and dress modestly, but I also try to wear more of a local style of clothing and not get too done up with ‘Instagramable’ outfits.” (Katie McClure, co-founder of fashion line MIRTH)
5. Act confident — even if it’s faked. “If I am ever lost or unsure of where I am going, I make sure to walk with a mission and my head held high, as if I have done that walk a million times. I make eye contact — normal, polite eye contact — with anyone around so they know I am aware of them. If I really need to check my phone or map, I go somewhere it’s acceptable to sit down like a coffee shop.” (Tara Caguiat, writer for Beach.com)
6. Carry cash, but not too much. “Don’t carry your entire vacation budget with you at all times, but always having cash can help you avoid credit card failures and unexpected cash-only restaurants or transportation options. In some areas, such as Latin America or South East Asia, US dollars are more gratefully received than the local currency.” (Elizabeth Fuller, director of marketing for travel company Black Tomato)
7. Stay in, if needed. “If nightlife isn’t a crucial part of your travel experience, or you don’t feel comfortable in a country at night, then make sure to be in your hotel room when it gets dark. At your hotel, you can take advantage of its amenities, such as the swimming pool, the hotel lounge. Or simply rest in your room so you can get your day started the next day at the break of dawn.” (Michelle Bates, travel advisor for Davisville Travel Leaders)
8. Bring along business cards. “Make sure (the business card) has the hotel name and address printed in the language of the country you’re visiting. If you get lost and don’t speak the language or if your cell phone dies, you can show this card to taxi drivers to find your way back.” (Charish Badzinski, writer and travel blogger for Rollerbag Goddess)
9. Lock up. “I deadbolt my doors, and sometimes if I don’t have a doorstop on me, I’ll prop a chair against the door, facing forward, right underneath the handle. I don’t like to be on the first floor, no matter where I’m traveling, especially if the first floor is easily accessible by the street with easily opened windows. Hotels are usually very accommodating.” (Crystal Bui, travel blogger at Adventures with Crystal)
10. Consider your social media activity. “Check your privacy settings. If you’re going to be sharing itinerary information online, make sure only your friends and family can see it. And if you want to share a picture of a beautiful and remote place you’re visiting alone, wait until you’re safely back to where you’re staying.” (Jo O’Reilly, cyber security advocate for BestVPN)
(Photo via Getty)
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