A person, in general, isn’t safe all the time around the world. The incidences of crimes continue to rise and we often read that on newspapers. When it comes to women, the possibility elevates to many folds, not to mention that the risks are even higher to those who travel solo whether it’s a personal journey or work-related.
There aren’t many women solo travellers globally because lots of cultures abolish this very idea for safety concerns. For those who do, know that travelling is a learned experience for women and that they should explore the world as much as they can. Yet they should not forget certain travel tips in order to make such events memorable.
There are women solo travellers who have years of experience and there are also those who are newbies and require to receive some kind of travel guide. So, let’s get started with the best travel tips for women solo travellers from women themselves who have visited a number of cities, states, and countries.
Travel Tips For Women Solo Travellers
1. Get the reviews in advance
Before you begin your journey, always try to collect maximum information about the place, hotels, people in general, etc. Many travelers want to explore the place as much as they can, and for that, they prefer to stay as tenants in somebody’s house. You can also find affordable girls’ hostels and dormitories.
This extends local interaction and a chance to know the region deeply. But it is also vital to know the locals from someone else’s perspective. Your friends and relatives may not have visited that region but the Internet will contain the right kind of details, both good and bad experiences of other people. Although you should be able to differentiate between real and fake feedback.
2. Always stay confident
It is normal to get scared at times but one should always appear confident no matter what. The criminals target those who look weak and scared. So, it ends up as a bad experience if you cannot hide your fear. If you are a socially anxious person in general, better not take the risk of travelling alone. If you are already travelling then fake it till you make it!
3. Blend in with the culture
People of any region always appreciate if you try to learn their culture and heritage. When I was a child of about 7 years of age, I still remember an American woman who actually learned Hindi language before visiting India and wore Indian attire – Salwar Kameez. She came to our house with my aunt (dad’s cousin; aunt owned a house where that woman was a tenant), and also had dinner with us. Her accent was different but she was so fluent, and we were so impressed!
The term “culture” signifies everything from dressing sense that local women follow, language they speak, etc. Furthermore, it’s not so easy to learn a new language, yet a person can memorize a few words to interact with those associated at the time of visits, such as taxi or auto-rickshaw drivers, hotel staff, or the neighborhood.
4. Return back before dusk
Always consider your site seeing and other activities in the daytime and return back where you stay till sunset. This is applicable even if you take out cash from the ATM. Taking out cash from ATMs in the evening is not safe. Though this is not a hard-and-fast rule and it is not really essential to come under the exact shelter but at least very near to where you live; better yet in crowd so that even if an emergency arrives, you know who to contact.
If, by chance, you feel that you are lost somewhere then approach a woman or a family for directions; speaking of which I’d like to say one must keep the guidebook and physical map because GPS or your phone battery may betray you anytime. Do NOT look clueless to the public. Just pretend that you know where you are heading.
5. Do NOT disclose the true details
As a solo woman traveler, you needn’t disclose that you are alone in the city. People will ask you questions like where you came from, where you are staying, with whom you came, your marital status, etc. You can say that you came along with a bunch of friends or with your husband who is a retired professional wrestler and just went to washroom, and you are waiting for him to come back.
Yes, fake wedding rings are actually recommended by the U.S. State Department to their women citizens who travel to the Middle East. Most people in countries of South-East Asia too respect married women more than those who are single.
Apart from that, you should not hesitate to say no. If you do not feel comfortable intuitively just deny answering them or change the topic and go away right after that. A vast majority of men in the developing countries are not sophisticated. They do not even realize that their certain behaviors are creepy and unacceptable. In countries like India, they do this more often to light or white skinned women since they believe that those women lack moral values.
6. Befriend other women
It is always a best idea to make friends with women such as fellow women travellers (if any) who came from any other city/state/country who stay nearby your place and the locals. This will be advantageous in general assistance and also in the time of need. Additionally, as a woman traveler one should also know what the right time is to come back to place of stay and nothing could be better than asking local women who are very familiar with the surroundings.
7. Avoid bulky luggage
This is for easy and swift go anywhere you want at a moment’s notice. Sometimes the circumstances are unfavorable and you may require to leave immediately. Therefore, you need to make sure that your luggages are few as possible, compact, and portable.
8. Avoid drinking too much
You may find a good metropolitan city that contains fine dines and bars, and if you are a regular drinker or even if you consider it occasionally, chances are higher that you may have it after a long week or a month of break out of boredom or tiredness. It is always suggested to take it in moderation to prevent oneself from possible dangers even if you are inside your own room, or better yet, not even a single sip; it’s not your house!
It’s not that women are responsible for getting harassed or raped being drunk, yet we cannot deny the fact that predators always look for vulnerabilities; getting drunk is the time when a person is out of their senses and will probably forget whatever happens to her.
9. Don’t be extra friendly with strangers
When it comes to behavior, a foreign woman should avoid being too talkative to men who are not their acquaintance in order to prevent themselves from misjudgements such as “easy” and “available”. This is because in many South-Asian and Middle-Eastern cultures, women are supposed to be shy and behave “modestly”.
Notice your dressing sense: The country where you belong may allow you wear whatever you want but the country you visit may find it offensive probably because their constitution or political regulation or society says so. This all depends on from where you belong and which place you are visiting. If you visit countries like France, Germany, England, etc. I don’t think there will be a problem; though extreme winters won’t let you wear revealing clothes anyway (just kidding!).
Nevertheless, you should also know that in many other cultures covering most body parts or even whole of it is still the norm and you need to follow that. You definitely want to avoid those creepy stares, don’t you?
10. Trust your guts
Your instincts are never wrong no matter how hard it is to be seen by the rest of the world. You may be misled by the images you see on the Internet as the marketers are good at showing the “good stuff” about the hotels, restaurants, travels, and so on. This can cause you harm if you keep trusting those around despite your guts say otherwise. Take action like moving out of wherever you are and move to something that “feels” right.
11. Stay alert
Staying vigilant is always the best bet to warn yourself at the time of potential danger and to take actions if need demands. You should know your surroundings quite well that contains people, neighborhood, other facilities like bus or railway stations, et cetera.
12. Leave trails of where you go
You may be one of those who like privacy and this may sound being exposed about your whereabouts to the world but it actually helps your well wishers to trace you so that they don’t worry of your safety. If you are already into it too much, good for you!
13. Local SIM card
If you are going to spend lots of days or weeks then buy a local SIM card of that particular country OR have international plans. Although the former option is way cheaper than the latter but it’s all up to your requirements and preferences, and the country you visit. India, for example, has extremely cheap network plans when it comes to calling, texting or using the Internet.
14. Don’t be smiley and polite ALL the time
By this I mean is to act rude if the situation arises. You do not need to be polite all the time if someone seems to chase you or tries to get too close without your consent. More often than not, men who work in hotels or who deal with tourism and hospitality tend to take friendliness and politeness as being flirtatious. You do not need to yell or higher your voice pitch than normal all the time. Just acting neutral with practical interaction is OK.
15. Keep things handy
There are many things that will be needed right after you step outside, such as cash, Identity card, ATM card, keys, accessories for self-defense like pepper spray, safety whistle, etc. Arrange these in such a way that you take the right things out swiftly. This ensures that whether you check-in somewhere or it’s an emergency, your stuff are ready.
In addition to this, also have soft copies of your passport, other IDs, tickets, reservations, etc. saved in the Cloud so that you can access this information from the Internet from any part of the world.
Don’t carry a big hand bag in which you put things and forget their exact location later. These kinds of bags are also easy to be snatched by someone on the street who may probably be watching you for hours. I usually keep a bag that consists of lots of pockets and then I know where my keys, money, phone, and pepper spray are. This is because I have this habit to keep things repeatedly in the same location. This helps me memorize specific location for each important item.
16. Have travel insurance
Travel insurance helps in emergency expenses such as healthcare, dental care, trip delays or cancellations, lost baggage, etc. that suddenly show up in the midst of a visit somewhere. A traveller may not have enough money at a moment in which insurance surely assists.
17. Scatter your cash
This is one of the most valuable tips given by my own father and I am sure it will also be one of the finest suggestions for women solo travellers. The cash does not need to be just in one purse. Keep a few notes in your main luggage at the most bottom area, perhaps wrapped by a newspaper to avoid being noticed, a few other in your hand bag and the rest in your wallet and pockets attached with your jeans or trousers. This prevents you from getting cashless totally due to incidences like theft.
18. Be positive not naive
Being positive is always a good thing but high expectations may disappoint you. Hence, broaden your mind and understand the world through Your lens without any sort of bias.
It is always advisable to stay cautious even if a place has a reputation of being potentially safe for women. Plan your first solo travel in tourist-friendly places like Iceland or New Zealand before going to more challenging ones like Egypt. You can check the whole list of friendly or unfriendly places for tourists on the Internet and also through the travel agency who plans your trip. Happy touring!
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