Whether you are a man or woman, traveling is fun and exciting. However, while traveling in a new place or country you should not let your guard down. With the increasing trend in women traveling on their own, there are also chances that they will become target of travel hazards such as thefts, scams and sexual harassment.
Women are considered as an easy prey, and sadly is the truth in most cases. We hear many women being scammed, harassed, robbed or in some cases even raped while traveling alone, or even with family. It is necessary to learn a bit about how to keep yourself safe while traveling alone in a new place.
Here is the list of 32 safe travel tips that you can consider using in your travels to prevent & protect yourself from harm when you are traveling alone in a new place.
1. Ask for advice
Take some time and do a lot of research to gather valuable information for your safe travel. To get started, ask around for advice with friends and family, who have already traveled to the destination you are planning to visit.
You can also gather useful tips and advice from experienced travelers from the internet. Being armored with reliable information about the place you are traveling to and its transportation systems will help you a great deal in exploring the place safely.
2. Check out useful reviews
When you are searching for information or are using some travel sites or apps, use the ones with lots of useful reviews (genuine ones!). There are hundreds of sites providing all the necessary information, select the ones that you find more reliable and relevant to your travel.
3. Befriend a local
If you are traveling abroad for the first time, search and befriend a local with good knowledge of the area.
The added benefits of having a local friend are many. For instance, when you have a local showing you around, you get the best deals while shopping, and best routes to take for transportation. You get the chance to check out the hidden treasures of a place, which otherwise might go unseen, if you were one of many tourists coming with a tour group.
For this purpose, there are many networking sites for female travelers. Look for a trustworthy one to find a potential local friend. He or she (preferably a she) can advice you on safe travel tips in the area, fun and interesting things to do, what to wear, and the customs of the community.
4. Share your travel plans to family
For your safety, one of the best things to do is share your itinerary with your family or friend. When you are on your adventure and having fun, family tends to do all the worrying about the travel, especially moms.
If they have your travel plans and know when & where you will be, it’s also better to provide your hotel contact details. They will be able to contact you in case of emergencies back home, or if a problem arises while traveling, like losing your passport or credit card.
5. Keep document safe
Not only you need to keep the documents in a safe place in your luggage, all locked up, take pictures of them too, like passports, credit cards, flight tickets, reservations and all other important documents. Keep those in locked dropbox or email them to yourself.
If, unfortunately, you lose your device, you will still have the access to the pictures and the necessary information. You can then inform your bank about the lost credit cards, or the embassy, about the lost passport and have a new one made with the information you provide from the pictures.
The best thing to do is to keep the important document & valuables safe and not to lose them in the first place!
6. Travel insurance
Make this one a must. In a travel, you can never be sure of everything. And this part is what gets solo women travelers excited as well as a bit nervous. Get travel insurance that covers all unforeseen costs such as medical and dental insurance, flight cancellations, lost luggage and so on.
At least, when you have travel insurance, you can take it easy and enjoy your travels, knowing that you are financially covered if something goes wrong. For example – falling sick or getting into an accident (both are the scenarios you don’t want to be in, but have to be prepared for).
7. Use licensed taxi service
Whenever possible, you should use a licensed and reliable taxi service, for your travels in a new place. Especially, if you are traveling at night, you have to hire trusted professional taxi service for safe travel. This goes for late night flight arrivals and departures as well. Reserve an airport taxi service for safe transfers at the airports.
Note: Keep a little extra or separate budget for reserving registered and safe taxi service in your travels, when you are unsure of your surroundings. Better be safe than sorry.
8. Take a picture of your taxi’s license
A simple yet useful travel advice anyone can give is to take a picture of the taxi’s license number that you are using for your travels. This way, you will be safe, and it is great to recover your belongings if you leave it in the taxi cab.
9. Safe transportation
When using public transportation in a foreign country, choose buses or trains with lots of people in it (although not the ones where you can’t get a seat or even step into). Take a front row seat and/ or near women. Never sleep on trains or buses whether day or night!
Note: Try not to travel in public transportation at night as far as possible. There will be less travelers and more shady people come in search of their victims.
10. Know the route
If you are using a taxi service in a new place, know the fastest and the safest route beforehand. And use GPS while you are traveling. This way you will not be scammed out of your hard earned money, by taking the longest (supposedly scenic) route to your destination.
11. Fill the fuel tank
Whether you are renting a car or a scooter, if the fuel tank is running low or even half full, be sure to fill it up before heading out. You are venturing out into an unknown territory and don’t have a clue about the next gas station. Always give your safety a priority in your travels.
12. Staying connected
You should keep in touch with at least one member of your family or a friend back home. Make it a point to call, email or skype them on a regular basis. You can even schedule it. This safety measure ensures that you are doing fine in your travels. Plus you get to share your travel woes and stories, both fun and not so much fun, with friends and family at home.
13. Keep contact details
Another travel advice for solo women travelers is to keep hard copies of all contact details with you, all the time. This is useful in case you lose your phone, and need to contact back home.
Keep both phone numbers and addresses of people back home and local friends, as well as the hotel or hostel where you are staying, with you all the time. And don’t forget to keep the emergency contact details!
Having the hotel or hostel’s address on a piece of paper comes in handy while traveling in a foreign land, where you don’t speak and understand the language. You can just show the driver the address and tell him to take you there. While doing so, keep in mind safety travel tip no. 10!
14. Dress modestly
A great travel advice for solo women travelers is to dress like a local, and modestly. If you look like a tourist, it is easy for hawkers, pickpockets and scammers to target you. Also, if you don’t want unnecessary attention, dress modestly to suit the climate and culture of your destination.
Note: Keep maps and cameras safely in your daypack or handbag, while you are out exploring your new surroundings.
15. No large maps
Nowadays, you have all kinds of apps showing you all the fun things to do, and delicious meals to try out in restaurants near your destination. So, when you can look up for all the information you need in your phone, why buy and open large maps in the middle of the street and bring attention to yourself as a newbie to the place.
Note: Find & note down the nearest police stations in the area, and use GPS for safety measure. While checking out your phone, do it inside a café or a shop, instead of swiping it in the middle of the street.
16. Keep your cash safe
Keeping your money safely and within your reach is one important travel tip to follow. It’s a good idea to keep cash safely in different places, rather than bundled up in one place. So, even if you get robbed you won’t end up broke.
Divide your money and keep it in different places like your luggage, in hotel and some in your daypack or handbag. One handy travel advice for women travelers is to hide some cash in your tampon or pad box. Unless it’s a woman stealing your stuff, guys are going to leave it alone.
17. Never say you are alone
Wherever you are traveling, NEVER say you are traveling alone!
While having a conversation in a café or public place, never ever say that you are alone in a new place out loud. Having conversation with locals and making new friends is not necessarily a bad thing. But, it makes you vulnerable to mishaps, as there might be shady people lurking around looking for an opportunity.
18. Have conversation
If you are traveling solo but in a group tour, then start a conversation. You don’t need to have them as your buddies, just get to know them. This way, you won’t just get to know them but also about few interesting things to see. They can be your best source of information in your travel.
Not limiting yourself to your group, converse with your hotel staff, after all, they are the locals and know the place much better. Never forget that if you get in a sticky situation, they can help you out. And this also works the other way around.
19. Say NO
When you are unsure of a thing and/or don’t want to do something, don’t be afraid to say NO. It’s not always that you will need help with your luggage, or need a male escort to go somewhere. In those situations, a firm refusal can help get some unwanted approach off your back, and to leave you alone to enjoy your day.
If you don’t feel safe about an invitation to travel together or have coffee, saying NO is the best thing you can do.
20. Fake a conversation
While traveling in taxi or public transportation, call a local friend or hotel, or just fake a conversation on your cell phone. Say you are near your destination or where are you at the time (if you can recognize the place) and will see them soon. This will deter anyone keeping an eye on you (not a good one) from approaching you.
21. No earphones
Travel is all about experiences both good and bad, but mostly good. You need to be attuned to what’s going in your surroundings. Don’t put both headphones while listening to music or in high volume (sadly most of us do this). You should be able to hear people moving around you or coming behind you. This will keep you safe from sneak attacks from behind.
22. Carry a pepper spray
While you are out in the streets visiting new places, carry a small pepper spray and/or a whistle with you all times for self defense.
Note: You are not allowed to bring mace in the plane but can put it in a checked bag.
23. Staying safe in hotel
When you leave the hotel room, keep a Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob and leave the television on. This leads the burglar to think that there is someone in the room. And your belongings are thus left safe.
Another thing, while you are out in the city, take two keys of your hotel room with you if possible. One should be on you while the other one can be in your handbag which if robbed or lost, you can still get into your room.
24. Extra batteries & charger
For solo women travelers, it is important to keep that phone always turned on. Bring extra batteries and charger for your cell phone and other electronics like cameras, laptops, tablets and so on. You can bring an adapter too, as you won’t know what kind of outlet you’ll be using at your destination.
25. Register with the U.S. Department of State
If you are from the states and traveling abroad, register with the U.S. Department of State. Let them know the details or itinerary of your travel plans. If there is anything significant happening at home or at your destination they will let you know promptly about the matter and advice you accordingly.
26. Pack light, pack wise
When you are a solo woman traveler, it is always good to pack light. This is not just to make your travel easy. Packing wisely and lightly gives you the freedom of quick movement. Women who are traveling alone, hauling heavy luggage, are highlighted as easy targets for robbery and scams.
27. Keep your bag with you
Another travel advice for solo women travelers is to keep their handbag or daypack with them at all times. Even when you are going to the restrooms, take it with you. Don’t leave your belongings unattended or in care of strangers.
28. Drink responsibly
It’s not safe to lose your composure while traveling alone. So, whenever you are out in town with your new buddies, drink in moderation. Don’t lose control of yourself and know when to stop while still having fun.
29. Trust your instincts
Solo women travelers, more than anyone else, should be aware of their surroundings. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t trust anyone who comes across in your travels. Meeting new people and having new experiences is what travel is all about. Be open to try new things, but still remain grounded and listen to your instincts. If anything doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
30. Learn a bit of local language
Learn a little about the place you are visiting along with some useful phrases in the local language like saying Hello, Thank youor Help me. These phrases will help you travel more easily and help you out when you find yourself lost or in trouble.
31. No beach visit at night
Like with the public transportation, you have to avoid going to beaches at night. In most countries, including US, beaches are not safe at night, especially for women who are alone, since you won’t find police patrolling nearby.
32. Other safe travel tips
- While standing in a line to buy tickets, keep your handbag in front of you, that way, it will make harder for pickpockets to take things from your bag.
- Keep contraceptives with you when traveling to a new place, as it might be hard to get one. It is not a must item, but taking precaution is always the best, as you can never be sure while traveling.
- If you don’t feel safe handing your expensive camera to a stranger, then bring a selfie stick when traveling alone.
- If you are staying in a hostel or a dorm, ask beforehand if they have locker or a safe place to keep your belongings, or not. If not then bring a slash-proof bag and/or bike-style lock to keep them safe in your hostel room.
- Women who are traveling alone are perceived as easy targets. So do not appear as a lone traveler. It helps, if you wear a fake wedding ring at some places or whenever you don’t feel very safe.
I hope these travel advice for solo women travelers will be useful for your next adventure in a foreign land. Use these safety tips while traveling alone. For more safe travel tips from experienced solo female travelers and what they have to say, please visit http://www.womenontheirway.com/wyndham-wisdom/10-tips-for-solo-women-travelers/
Keep yourself safe & have time of your life!