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10 Safety Tips for Solo Female Travel
This blog post was updated December 13, 2019.
You’ve got solo female travel figured out … you think.
You read Eat, Pray, Love, you developed an extensive Pinterest visionary board, and you even bought the perfect luggage set. It’s confirmed: you have a case of the oh-so contagious travel bug. So what’s stopping you?
In my experience, it’s usually been one of two things:
a) Lack of time
b) Lack of courage.
As unfair as it may be, women must take special precautions while traveling. The horror stories about women abroad are enough to make anyone scared to travel solo. At the same time, we must recognize that similar terrifying events could unfortunately happen anywhere — including in our own backyards. If you’re like me, done with letting fear control you and ready to take the leap, here are 10 tips for staying safe during your adventure in the great, wide somewhere.
1. Join an online solo female travel group.
Facebook has groups for almost everything — from religious communities to online shopping gurus. Additionally, there are groups catered to female travelers. These pages are filled with travel hacks, destination ideas, and the potential for friends who share your spirit of wanderlust.
Check out Girls LOVE Travel, a Facebook group dedicated to empowering female travelers!
2. Plan your arrival in daylight.
When booking your flight, make sure you arrive at your destination, and your accommodations, during the day. This way, you can navigate your surroundings in daylight as opposed to night. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your surroundings before you’re alone in the dark in an unfamiliar location you’ve only explored through social media.
3. Sign up for group meal options.
Even if you’re planning a bleisure trip or traveling as a way to escape the stresses of life (including people), there are options for dining that extend past a table for one or spending the day cooped up with your laptop in a cafe.
Depending on where you go, there are different options for meal tours or cooking classes. Why not look into joining one?
4. It’s all about the money, money, money.
Unfortunately, con artists in foreign countries sometimes try to take advantage of unexpecting tourists. Robbers come in many disguises — from tourists who ask you to take their pictures, to local citizens who insist on helping you learn the lay of the land, to schoolchildren who beg you to teach them English.
In addition to being aware of these common facades, make sure you’re familiar with the local currency before you arrive and research restaurants in advance to avoid ones that raise prices last-minute. When withdrawing money at an ATM, seek help from officials rather than loiterers (or even hotel employees). Also, be sure to keep money stored in secure places, whether that be shoved inside your socks, tucked into your bra, etc.!
5. Use Uber's ride-status sharing feature
This feature is similar to other location-sharing services, but with a unique twist catered especially to Uber users. It’s simple: select contacts who can see your trip status, and those contacts will see your driver’s first name, vehicle information, and a live map of your location. Trip status can either be pre-programmed to be shared or be shared upon scheduling a ride.
If you’re worried about getting some flack for your whereabouts, have no fear! The name of your destination will not be shared, so you can remain a mystery without going completely off-the-grid.
6. Make the first move.
I’m sure you’ve heard “be proactive” in many-a-context, and solo travel safety is no exception. If you choose who you communicate with, then you do not give unwanted strangers the ability to choose you.
In a crowded public space, befriend a family of whom you can stay within the same general area in case you start to feel unsettled. If you are alone at a restaurant or bar, have a friendly conversation with your server. This way, you have people keeping an eye on you should you start to receive unwanted attention.
You don’t have to choose between taking caution and learning authentic culture! If you make friends with a local who asks to go out to a restaurant or bar, go somewhere you choose to avoid spiking or scamming.
7. Be mindful of the information you share.
I’m sure you’ve heard “be proactive”Not all of the friendly locals you talk to need to know the location of your hotel or where your next high-class dinner reservation is. You can brag about your trip without being too specific. It’s important to remember what information you give out, and to whom.
Almost all social media apps have settings where your location services can be turned on or off. Make sure your privacy and location settings are configured in a way that prioritizes your safety.
Another helpful hint: If you live alone and are worried about leaving your house unattended, wait until you return home to post pictures of your trip on social media.
8. Remember the power of a paper trail.
Going out at night? Write a note and leave it on your bed so that hotel services can contact you if you haven’t returned by a certain time. Schedule your returning Uber ride in advance if you’re worried about clicking the wrong hotel by mistake or finding available drivers in the wee hours of the morning when you are ready to return to your hotel.
9. Trust your gut.
Being aware of your surroundings is crucial, and women’s intuition is real! Don’t be afraid to be curt with someone who gives you the creeps. Coming off as rude is better than being a victim of harassment.
In truth, cognizance of who and what is around you will resolve most of your travel apprehensions.
10. Purchase trip insurance.
Whether for lost baggage, canceled flights, or emergency medical treatment, travel insurance
can help you. Most travel insurance plans come with 24/7 travel assistance services. This provides you with access to a multilingual team who can help with a wide range of travel needs, such as finding a doctor, guidance on what to do if you lose your passport, and even help with translations. When you're traveling far from home, a friendly helper can make a big difference.
Show the world you’re strong and independent! Go out there and start living your dreams. Godspeed.
About the Author
Kylie Stine is a current Butler University student studying Strategic Communication and Spanish with a minor in International Business. Aside from school, Kylie is passionate about traveling, music, writing, and ice cream (depending on the day, not
necessarily in that order).