Never let fear hold you back, but still it is good to play it safe. If you are traveling solo, women in particular, it is good to know a few things before heading off on your journey. Here are a few extra tips for solo women travelers; if you have more I would love for you to share them in the comments. Build your sister and fellow solo traveler up, help them keep themselves safe while experiencing our beautiful planet.
“It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can also inhibit our observation of others; then, too, we may become caught up in adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, or feel the need to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
1. Confidence is Key
The worst thing you can do as a solo female traveler is look distracted or fearful. Even when you’re lost or in trouble, remain assertive and attentive at all times – no matter how tough it can be at challenging times. In the end it will all be ok – sometimes it just takes a little longer or there are a few more hiccups than anticipated. This is all part of the challenge of solo travel.
2. Dress, Think & Act like a local
If you really want to blend in, be sure to take a visual note of what others around you are wearing and follow suit. While it may be hot and humid for you in Springtime in Hong Kong, you will soon notice the locals are still wearing pants and/or a jacket. If you want to blend in and not be taken for a tourist target, go with the flow. Aka leave your summer brights well and truly at the bottom of your suitcase when you arrive in Paris.
3. Get to where you need to be before nightfall
When you’re traveling long term it is often difficult to keep track of time as each day, week, and month all blurs into one. But the golden rule for solo female travelers should be to always arrive at your destination before nightfall. That way you can ensure you – know your surrounds, can get emergency supplies before it gets dark and unsafe, and you aren’t walking the streets with all your luggage and an invisible ‘tourist target’ on your forehead.
4. Be Aware of your surrounds at all times
When you travel solo, it’s important to remember that you are your only eyes and ears to ensure you and your belongings are safe. This can be quite difficult at times (aka taking your entire luggage to the bathroom with you), but it’s important not to take chances. When you are in public places, be sure to keep your bag towards the front of your body and zips done up at all times. Don’t wear both ear buds! Keep at least one ear available and open to your surroundings if you are listening to music. These little safety precautions sound over the top, but you’ll realize they’re not the day you get mugged because you let your guard down.
5. Leave a trail
Social media – with its’ many pros and cons – can be a great tool when traveling solo. A simple check-in at a new location or a quick photo upload will help to keep your family and friends back home in the know of your whereabouts. Before you leave home, try and set a sort of ‘time frame’ – aka – if you don’t see me post anything for 5 days straight, you know something is probably wrong. In addition, give someone back home your itinerary. That way at least one person not traveling with you will have a general idea of your whereabouts.
6. Register with the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT).
The IAMAT will help you locate a nearby medical clinic with approved doctors where they speak English. They will also give you good preventative information about the counties you are going to.
7. Consider a slash-proof bag.
Consider a slash-proof bag especially if you’re going to stay in hostels or other group accommodations, or you’re bringing expensive electronics like a computer or a camera. A slash-proof bag will help you feel more comfortable leaving your belongings while you go out and explore. It’s like a portable safe for all your stuff.
8. Kubaton Defense.
A kubaton close-quarter-self-defense-weapon that can attach to a keychain. I have been certified in Kubaton self-defense; receiving the same training that the Oklahoma Police for does. Kubatons are great because they are small, but they are also similar to pens, flashlights and other objects shaped similar. This type of self-defense knowledge can be beneficial to a solo traveler who becomes the target of a mugging. FYI though, kubatons are not allowed on airplanes, as they are considered a weapon. Put it in your bag under the plane or carry something similar that cannot be considered a weapon by TSA – such as a flashlight. Here is a pretty decent video, but there are so many on YouTube or official classes that can give you more details.
9. DO NOT DISTURB sign up and TV on.
Hanging your Do Not Disturb sign and keeping your TV on while you are away from your room will deter thieves, who will think there’s someone in there.