If you just Googled ‘travel for women’, or something along those lines, then you’ve probably seen dozens of quality articles of safety tips and convincing pieces on ‘why traveling solo is great for women’.
Buzzfeed has a list of 46 tips!
But travel implies a lot of different things.
After almost ten years of traveling around the world, I’ve tried and tested a number of strategies to stay safe. Here are some that have worked for me.
Top 8 Women Travel Safety Tips
1. Do Not Engage in conversations if you don’t feel comfortable
Being nice to strangers is one thing, but getting into a forced conversation at a remote bus stop with a slightly too tongue-in-cheek guy, could be a totally different one.
Women often believe that the best strategy to keep safe in such situation is to be polite, smile and hope that he would just get bored and leave you alone. Not so much!
Blocking conversation with one-word answers, not asking questions and using clear language indicators that are abrupt but not rude, will show you are uninterested and definitely works better than appeasement. This is especially true if there are other people around.
Stay focused, and try to make eye contact with somebody else around you, to avoid getting into a ‘force chat’ trap.
2. Read travel guides, blogs and forums
Before arriving at a destination or venturing out into an unfamiliar location take the time to read some travel guides or online blogs and forums.
Not only will these resources give you greater insight into the area you are visiting, but they will also draw your attention to any safety issues.
The more knowledge you have the more prepared you can be.
Try learning a few helpful phrases in a local language, you never know when they might come in handy.
3. Always have more copies of your documents
Save pictures of your passport, flight and accommodation details, ID cards on your password-protected phone! You should also email copies to your email, which you know you can access from a public computer.
Or send them to your parents, it won’t hurt, and they would be very pleased to see that you trust them, and are happy to share your travel plans with them (yeah, yeah!)
4. Book accommodation and transfers in advance
Now this might sound obvious, but there are way too many cases when we think it’s simpler to hail a taxi at the airport or look for a better price for a hotel at the destination. But this strategy compromises safety big time.
Book every step of the way in advance. Think of what you need to do to get from the airport to your accommodation, including stopping at a cash machine.
This will give you piece of mind and you will avoid the most common scams and dangerous situations in unfamiliar destinations.
If you are booking with Airbnb, ensure that you choose places with at least a dozen good reviews.
5. Try to avoid overnight transits
It’s safer to book a flight that lands you at your destination early, even if it means extra time to/from the airport and a slightly extra cost of the flight.
Landing at a destination late and then having to transit to your final location is never a great idea.
Transiting overnight in an unfamiliar destination is a recipe for disaster. This includes overnight bus journeys, as while asleep, you might get your possessions stollen.
6. Get an app for tracking
There are numerous apps that you can install on your phone and the phone of your friend or parents, so that they can see your location at any given moment via GPS tracking. This can be switched on and off, so when you are back, you can just close the access again, if this makes you more comfortable.
The app I use is Life360, which is free and easy to use.
7. Get travel insurance
I usually use World Nomads, as they cover pretty much any adventure worldwide, and it is simpler to book than a lot of other international insurance companies. It’s also very affordable and can help with reducing stress of needing a doctor or a dentist abroad, loosing your luggage, getting your flights cancelled or delayed, issues with car rentals and so on.
8. Book travel with your friends!
Travelling as a single woman can be a lot of fun, but there is always greater risk when you are flying solo. If you are on your lonesome try join a group of fellow travellers when venturing out. There is safety in numbers and it also makes travel a little more exciting.
Alternatively, why not invite a girl friend or friends to join you on your travels.
To make it more inspiring, agree on a few rules for deciding how to spend your evenings, which food you’d like to try and which things you’d like to do while travelling.
For example, each girl in your group can get a day to have it the way she wants, this way you will get to let go of control (isn’t this the whole point of traveling anyway?) and enjoy somebody else’s ideas of a good time!