Safety Tips for Solo Female Travellers
Earlier this week I wrote an article on why women don’t travel as much as they should. As mentioned in that article, one of the reasons is because they have no one to travel with and wouldn’t feel safe travelling alone. But women shouldn’t let fear stop them from travelling. An escorted group tour is a great option for women who don’t have anyone to travel with, but for women who prefer the freedom, flexibility and independence of travelling solo, there are several precautions they can take so they can travel safely. Below are 14 safety tips for solo female travellers that other women have used when travelling alone, including myself and my younger sister, who recently travelled solo in Vietnam and Australia. (A few of these tips are also mentioned in this video on Inside Edition.)
14 Safety Tips for Solo Female Travellers
- Walk confidently and look self-assured. Would-be attackers tend to look for timid people, who lack confidence and self-assuredness. If you walk with confidence and self-assuredness, even when you’re lost, you’re less likely to find yourself in a sticky situation.
- Be cautious and vigilant while travelling. Be aware of your surroundings, who’s near you and looking at you. That includes not getting intoxicated, not leaving your food or drink unattended, and not accepting drinks from strangers, or people you met during your travels.
- Trust your instincts. If you’re suspicious of someone, enter a shop or café, or move towards other people, and wait for them to pass. As my sister put it, “If you’re feeling uncomfortable, get yourself out of that situation.”
- Know where you’re going. Having an itinerary is always best (which can be arranged through your travel agent) especially in countries such as Vietnam, but even if you’re winging it, at least book your accommodation in advance, so you know where you’re staying each night, especially in the busy season when hotels and hostels are often full. Even my sister, who winged it in Australia, used reputable tour companies to book her tours and had her hostel accommodation booked months in advance.
- Don’t get distracted by your phone/camera. This goes along with being cautious and vigilant, but needs to be mentioned. Don’t be so caught up in getting a great photo that you forget to pay attention to who and what’s around you (including traffic and dangerous landscapes). Even, if you get lost, don’t be tempted to look at your map/phone for directions on the street. Again, find the nearest café or shop and do it inside.
- Consider not going off-the-beaten track alone – even in the daytime. I’m not saying don’t travel off-the-beaten-track all the time, but in some situations, it may be wise not to do so. It can sometimes be much more exciting to go off-the-beaten-track in a city such as London or Paris, for example; you’ll discover interesting areas and sites to explore that others may not know about. But, only do so if it looks safe and certainly not at night. While it might be tempting to visit secluded sites or hike off-the-beaten-track alone in rural areas and forests, if you get lost, get hurt or something worse, and there is no cell signal, it could be extremely difficult to find and rescue you. Consider staying on a well-beaten track instead.
- Keep your cell phone on and charged. Travel with your cell phone switched on, carry a battery pack and charge both up overnight, every night. That way if you do get lost or end up in a sticky situation, you have a way to call for help immediately.
- Lock your hotel windows particularly, if you are on the ground floor. It goes without saying that you should lock your door but, you should lock your windows too, especially at night.
- Use a door stop to prevent someone from breaking in your door. Even if it is locked, a rubber wedge door stop is ideal for stopping the door from opening if someone is trying to break in, as it will not slide on the floor.
- Don’t invite strangers back to your room. In the words of my sister, “trust no one,” that means even other females. Inviting strangers, or even people you met a few days ago, back to your room, is inviting danger.
- Don’t wander in your hotel/resort alone at night. In fact, even if you’re in a group of men and women you’ve just met, don’t do it. You don’t know who’s in the group and, as each person goes their separate ways to their respective rooms, that could leave you on your own or with the wrong people. I know someone who ended up in a very dangerous situation as a result of being intoxicated and trusting the group she was walking back to her room with. While she is alive to tell the tale, it did not end well for her.
- Stay connected. Purchase a roaming data package or purchase a SIM card as soon as you arrive in a new country you’re visiting so you not only can stay connected with family back home, but you have a way to call for help if needed. Don’t forget to let your family and friends, know your new phone number.
- Let family back home keep track. Before leaving home, download a travel tracker app, such as Life360, which allows your family to track your travels (and don’t forget to ask family and trusted friends back home to do the same). If they see you’re in a nefarious or secluded location for any length of time (or at a hospital) they can check in on you to make sure you’re ok. If you get lost and injured, they’ll also be able to track your location even if you can’t call them.
- Don’t post instantly on social media. While you might be tempted to post instantly from wherever you are so friends and family can enjoy your trip too, wait till later to post so other people can’t see your exact location. Even if your account is private, not everyone on your friends’ list is necessarily your “friend.”
Do you have any other safety tips for solo female travellers?
The above are just some of the safety tips for women travelling solo. If you have used other safety measures while travelling the world solo and you want to share them with other women who are worried about travelling alone safely, comment below or email me and I’d be glad to add them to this list.