Exploring the world as a solo female traveller can be an incredibly daunting prospect because the sad reality is having two copies of the X chromosome automatically puts you at a greater risk.
This awareness concerning vulnerability naturally puts women off from jet setting but there are countless safety tips women can abide by to make themselves feel more secure and at ease. Naturally some of these tips might seem archaic and even fill the reader with a sense of frustration that we live in a world where these tips are part of the female experience, unfortunately the world isn’t perfect but that imperfection shouldn’t stop women from pursuing their travel goals.
” K N O W L E D G E I S T H E A N T I D O T E T O F E A R “
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do not leave your drink unattended, watch the bar tender prepare your beverage and if possible abstain from alcohol consumption. Having had my drink spiked during my college days in South Korea, this is a safety tip I cannot stress enough. You just don’t know who is watching you.
Dress appropriately to respect the culture and traditions of your host country
Carry a personal alarm which can easily be activated when threatened to draw attention to your situation
Prior to travelling research any potential threats advertised through your own government agencies. Australians are advised to register their travel plans through Smart Traveller but the website can equally be utilized by foreign nationals to research destination specific threats from terrorism, theft, scams and politically motivated violence etc.
Avoid travelling alone at night
Always remain situationally aware when out and about. Avoid being distracted by cameras, maps and phones
If backpacking, opt to stay in female only dorms
Time your arrival and departure for daylight hours to avoiding travelling alone at night
Plan your journey. Keep a written record of your accommodation on you so that you can easily provide those details to your taxi driver, know the main streets surrounding your building and necessary points of reference should you become lost
Acquire a set of self defence skills
If you’re walking alone and feel uneasy carry your keys or a pen in your hand which can be used as weapon for self defence purposes
Inform loved ones of your schedule so people know where you are and how you can be reached. You can register your accommodation and contact information through Smart Traveller if you are an Australian citizen/resident or through your own relevant government agencies
Be careful not to publicly advertise your accommodation/whereabouts via check in alerts though social media platforms like Instagram of Facebook unless your accounts are set to private. If you do intend on updating your travel plans through social media be cautious of accepting new contacts into your social circle
For countries where it is not advisable to venture alone participate in group tours through companies like Intrepid, Insight or Contiki to name a few. Group travel is a fantastic option for first time solo travellers to help find their globe trotting courage. On a smaller scale participate in walking tours when you first arrive in a destination in an effort to familiarize yourself with your surroundings and instil a sense of direction
Trust your instincts, if something or someone doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t right
Avoid walking around with headphones on as this immediately renders your senses and instincts futile
Should someone be harassing or pestering you be firm and assertive in your approach
Walk with purpose and carry yourself with confidence, head straight and shoulders back no matter the situation to avoid appearing as an easy target who could easily be overpowered
Research the public transportation options of your destination so you are prepared for any potential threats that might occur. In addition, it is also advised to research taxi companies to ensure which services are legitimate in some destinations
When questioned NEVER admit you are travelling solo instead always state you are meeting your partner momentarily
Wear a fake wedding band to convey you are travelling with a companion
Sweep hotel rooms for security breaches before entering and ask to change rooms should the room be adjoined by a locked door
Keep your accommodation details private and do not share cabs with people you don’t know/or just met who might be able to easily ascertain where you are staying
Know the number for the emergency services of your specific destination. In addition, know ahead of time where your relevant embassy is located, their contact details and how to get there
Lastly, this is more of a personal preference but if travelling alone avoid accommodation services like Airbnb or homestays. Instead, elect to stay in hotels or hostels where security is readily available