You’ve been daydreaming about a spontaneous adventure halfway around the world, but none of your friends can get away from work long enough to join you.
Your sister canceled last minute on your annual girls’ trip, leaving you wondering what to do with your plane ticket and dinner reservations in New York.
Maybe you just want some peace and quiet, a solo vacation on the beach where you get to call the shots.
Traveling alone presents many opportunities for life-changing experiences and personal growth, but it also presents safety concerns, especially for women. Here are some tips you can use to stay safe as a solo female traveler.
1. Tell someone where you’re going. Share your itinerary with a family member or friend and check in regularly. In the case of an emergency, at least one person will know where you are and can call for help.
2. Do your research. You can avoid unwanted attention by learning about your destination and following local customs as you travel. For example, in some countries it’s safer for single women to wear a fake wedding ring. In others, it’s best to dress more conservatively.
3. Pack light. Don’t be a slow-moving target weighed down by multiple clunky suitcases. If you can, just bring a carry-on and wear a backpack for better mobility.
4. Be careful with your possessions. Keep your bag or wallet with you at all times and don’t show off electronics, cash, or other valuable items. Keep photocopies of your passport and driver’s license in multiple places in case your bag is stolen.
5. Learn basic phrases in the language spoken at your destination. Understand how to ask for directions, seek help, and negotiate prices. Locals will often show more respect for someone who is trying to learn about their culture.
6. Make friends with locals. Get to know bus drivers, hotel staff, and fellow travelers. You’ll feel more comfortable if you have someone to go to for advice and companionship.
7. Act confident. If you are lost and confused, don’t act lost or confused—and definitely don’t stare down at your phone. Maybe you won’t blend in completely, but scammers and thieves are less likely to target a woman who looks like she knows what she’s doing.
8. Trust your instincts. If you remember nothing else, remember this: don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Using these tips to stay safe, you can increase your confidence as a world traveler. Embark on a new adventure of your own today—you don’t have to wait on anyone else!
Jessica Probus, “46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone.”
Kiersten Rich, “Ten Essential Tips for Solo Female Travelers.”
Ayngelina Brogan, “Safety Tips from a Solo Traveler.”