Traveling is a fun and entertaining way of discovering the world you’re in. There are people who dedicate their entire lives to going places, for whom routine is a blasphemy and a plea against human rights. Wanderlust occurs with such frequency and intensity that it could be taken as the most widespread medical condition.
Even though traveling doesn’t pose any immediate danger (depending on the destination), it has its downsides, too and certain safety precautions ought to be implemented. Feminism is in full bloom, probably more than ever, so saying that women can’t travel on their own would get us in a world of trouble.
They can travel alone, but they are more vulnerable than men, and that’s simply just how things are. The universe has conspired to sprinkle this Earth with many dubious human beings and creeps of all sorts that make the mere thought of a woman picking up her rucksack and her plane ticket nothing short of an anxiety attack.
So, is it safe to travel alone as a woman? If she does enough research and she knows how to protect herself, just in case, then yes, it is safe. But if you’re about to embark on your very first adventure as a solitary traveler, these safety tips for women traveling alone will surely benefit you.
Top tips for women travelling alone
Let your family know where you are
Always keep your family updated, even if you’re just going to the next city. Use Skype to talk to each other at least once a week. In case anything goes south, the members of your family will know where to look for you.
Don’t get panicky, it doesn’t mean something is bound to happen, but it’s better to prevent than to cure. Make sure at least one person knows your entire itinerary.
Be extremely careful if you use Airbnb
Couch-surfing is a fantastic way of meeting new people and saving tons of money you’d pay to stay at a hotel. You can never pay enough attention to the reviews of the places you’re considering staying at.
There are many strange persons out there, and you wouldn’t want to get in a pickle just because you skipped reading the reviews closely. If anyone is way too interested in you, it’s a red flag. The same thing applies to those good Samaritans that keep on spamming your inbox with questions about your arrival.
One of the best tips for women traveling alone, respect with couch-surfing is: try to stay with families instead of individuals. This way, you cut the risk of having to deal with unpleasant persons in half.
Leave your jewelry home
Every woman on God’s green earth wants to look her best at all times. However, when traveling, you could as well scream “Rob me!” from the top of your lungs instead of wearing jewelry. You can easily become a magnet for less ethical people that make fortunes out of stealing.
Or here’s another idea: wear alternative jewelry, anything that’s not made out of gold or silver. Wood or beads necklaces, wood rings, fashionable wristbands, and so on and so forth. It’s not only gold and silver that make stylish accessories.
Purchase a theft-proof bag
Loctote, for instance, manufactures anti-theft travel bags that are virtually indestructible. You can try to burn them, cut them, rip them up and you’ll only get a powerful migraine and bouts of sweat from it. You can literally tie the bag to a pole in a city and come back in a few months and it will still be there with a bunch of thieves crying around it.
That’s where you should keep all your documents, money, and generally valuable things. Of course, they would be more secure at the hotel, in a safe, but when you travel to a different place each day, that’s not an option.
Don’t travel at night
This is a piece of advice you can find in any list of tips for women traveling alone. Refrain from taking buses or trains at nighttime, but if you have no choice, get properly caffeinated because it’s not indicated to sleep while you travel during the night.
There’s a risk of waking up and realizing that the clothes you’re wearing are the only things that haven’t been stolen.
Ask for directions in a bar or in a restaurant
There’s nothing wrong with asking pedestrians for directions, but you’re safer when nobody sees you’re lost. More top tips for women traveling alone should include this one because it’s really important.
This may very well be the only situation in which selfies, as unappealing would they be for you, are actually beneficial. You won’t need to ask anyone if they could snap a photo of you in front of some tourist attraction. What does that have to do with anything?
Well, they could play politely and then start running with your camera or phone like there’s no tomorrow. Purchase a selfie stick and you’ll be fine.
Make new friends
This is one of the reasons you’re traveling, isn’t it? Making new friends will keep you safe. For instance, try to befriend the personnel at the hotel you’re staying at. Engage in conversations with the family whose couch you’re using. You’ll meet new people through them, and you’ll be able to rest assured that their friendship is genuine.
You might even get some additional safety tips for women traveling alone.
Make fake phone calls
Whenever you’re scared, simulating a phone conversation will reestablish your calm. This is especially helpful when you take cab fares but you feel like the driver is suspicious. Few things can be more nerve-wracking than not knowing exactly where you’re going.
“I’ll be there in 5 minutes” will definitely destroy the driver’s plans if he is, indeed, interested in more than dropping you off where you need to be. Use this technique whenever the circumstances warrant it.
Less cash, more credit cards
If your money is stolen, it’s not coming back. But if anyone grabs your wallet and you had no cash in it anyway, you can quickly block your accounts.
Always travel with a tank full of fuel
Even if it’s half-empty (or half full if you’re an optimistic person), you should refill. There will be no risk of running out of it in the middle of nowhere. Of course, you won’t need to worry about this if you’re not planning on renting a car.
Keep a tiny whistle handy
The whistle has a long history in reinforcing the security of women traveling alone. If you’re sure you’re followed by someone who clearly doesn’t have good intentions, blowing it will turn them in their tracks.
It may sound childish, but this tiny little trinket can save your life, and that’s not even an exaggeration. In fact, this shouldn’t be missing from any tops safety tips for women traveling alone.
Find out where the closest embassy is
Just in case something goes wrong. It’s reassuring to know where to go to be understood properly. Keep the phone number of the embassy in a safe place, with your documents.
Don’t walk at night
If it’s the city square or any other place that’s full of people, it’s okay. However, stay away from dark alleys and the outskirts. That’s where muggers usually activate. You’re not completely safe even if you’re walking with someone.
Moreover, during the day you’ll be able to see everything as you should. The same goes for clubbing if you’re a fan. Go with a group of friends, if possible.
Don’t look out of the ordinary
That is: try to dress like you’ve lived there forever. It’s unsettling to walk down the street with people staring at you like you just fell from a different dimension. Be natural and nobody will have a clue you’re a tourist. And this is the last piece of advice on our list of top tips for women traveling alone.
Traveling alone can be tough on a woman’s nerves, but these tips for women traveling alone – and the fact that they’re so simple to respect – should restore her trust in herself. Safety when traveling depends a lot on your ability to mix with the crowd.
Thieves can target tourists because the latter makes it so painfully obvious they’re tourists and they have no idea where they’re going. Try to look casual, as if you’re going to the grocery store down the corner, although you’re in a country thousands of miles away from home.
And don’t forget: there’s power in the numbers. The more new friends you have, the fewer the chances of being targeted by thieves and sexual predators.
So, to conclude: Is it safe to travel alone as a woman? Definitely. Just work on your acting skills and play the role of somebody who has lived there for ages.