Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

By on May 23, 2014
business woman walking with rolling suitcase

By Monique Martel –

The travel tips provided are to keep solo women travelers safe. Some of these, I heard from fellow travelers and their tales. Others I learned the painful way.

Tip #1
Research your destination. Meticulously. Is the country a safe place for solo women travellers? Check the guidebooks in your local bookstore. Then search online. Read forums and blogs from other women.

Tip #2
Sex with strangers is not recommended. Not only does it put the participant in a precarious position, on multiple levels, it perpetuates the label of ‘loose’ foreign women and puts the rest of us at risk.

Tip#3
Find accommodation with a rating of at least 8.5, regardless of your budget. Read the reviews on many sites. Does the establishment have many from solo travellers? Women?

Tip #4
Learn a few words in the language of the country you’re visiting. It’ll smooth the way. And learn the basics of the culture: eating habits, dress codes, specific ways of dealing with situations. On one trip, I was in a country where women weren’t welcome in the coffee shops, before supper time. I’m an early riser who loves to stroll out for a coffee.

Tip #5
Leave the overnight trains and buses to more experienced travellers. Lots of women I know have used them and had no problems. I still evade them.

Tip #6
Unless you can pay someone to haul your suitcase around for you, travel light. A giant case of four by two and a half feet will make you tired, vulnerable and you’ll be swearing at the stairs, the minute you leave the airport.

Tip #7
Cover up. This isn’t the best time to wear low-cut shirts, short shorts or miniskirts. These won’t endear you to the women and may get you an unwanted type of attention from the men.

Tip#8
For food, check your guidebooks and ask at the hostel/hotel where you’re staying. Those with food sensitivities can find accommodation to self-cater or try: http://www.happycow.net/. They have a list of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, for cities, across the globe.

Tip#9
A few days before leaving, contact the hotel/hostel, advise them of your arrival time and ask for directions, as well as transportation information. This eliminates getting lost, being anxious or paying exorbitant taxi fares.

Tip #10
Most places I’ve gone, the women are in their rooms by 9 o’clock, at night, not because they’re afraid, but because they’re exhausted from the day’s outings. Try Janice Wambaugh’s excellent blog for evening activities and other travel tips: solotravellerblog.com.

Tip #11
If someone is paying you undue attention, be cautious. Watch your drink and keep your alcohol intake in check. Your safety may depend on it.

Tip# 12
Change money in reputable places. Ask for a receipt and peruse it to make sure it’s correct. Carry what they give you in different places. I’ve hooked my change purse to the zipper at the back of my small handbag and place parts of the money in both. This makes stealing the whole amount more difficult. A zippered waistband is a good alternative.

Tip#13
Protect your ID. Keep copies of it online and in separate pockets from the original. Some countries request your passport be registered on arrival and hotels/hostels keep it overnight.

Tip#14
I know women who report their presence to their country’s embassy. If this makes you feel safe, do it.

Tip#15
Stay away from dangerous areas.

Now that we’ve dealt with all the tough stuff, have fun. Make a list of the places you want to see, the things you want to do, the souvenirs you want to bring back. It’s time to make your own travel tales.

Monique Martel is a writer from Montreal, Canada. She is presently on a solo trip across Central Europe and Croatia. This article was written from Budapest. Website: http://lifeafter50blog.com

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Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone