If you are intrigued by the idea of solo female travel but have concerns about safety, read on for more information.
If you are someone who already travels alone and is looking for tips on how to make the experience better, or if you are curious about how solo female travellers ensure their safety while on their own, this article will provide you with some useful hints and tips that I personally use when travelling solo.
Ensure that I am at my destination by nightfall
Travelling at night can be unsafe, especially when it involves unfamiliar bus stops and train stations. To ensure my safety, I prefer to arrive at my destination before dinner time. This allows me to familiarize myself with the area, find suitable accommodation, and have a meal while it is still daylight. By avoiding being out in the dark with all my luggage, I reduce the chances of looking like a vulnerable tourist.
If you have to bring a handbag consider opting for a small day backpack
When it comes to preventing bag snatching, it's important to choose the right style of bag. Handbags and sling bags are particularly vulnerable to theft. However, if you opt for a sling bag, wearing it in front of your body or even under your clothing (if it's small enough) can help deter thieves. Another option is to invest in thief-prevention travel bags, which are made with heavy-duty materials that claim to be slash-proof.
Carrying a small purse with cards and larger bills hidden in a bra and secured with a keyring attached to the bra strap can provide a secure option. Additionally, larger items like a water bottle, hat, sunscreen, and other essentials can be conveniently stored in a daypack.
Having all my documents photocopied
When traveling, it is important to take necessary documents such as passports, bank cards, licenses, and birth certificates. To ensure their safety, it is recommended to keep the original copies separate from the photocopies. If you plan to leave your belongings in a hotel room for the day, it is advisable to store the original documents in a safe or locker while carrying the photocopies with you in a small daypack.
Solo Travel with other travellers
This post is intended for solo travellers, but it's important to recognize situations where it's advantageous to travel with others. Long-distance hiking trips, remote locations, and areas that make you feel uneasy or threatened are prime examples of when teaming up with fellow solo travellers can be beneficial.
In most locations, I haven't felt compelled to do this. However, in India, I chose to do so due to unease while travelling alone. Additionally, in several other countries, I sought companionship, shared transportation, and accommodation.
In Delhi, it is common to see people wearing traditional Indian attire, such as a Panjabi dress paired with full-length pants. This outfit is often complemented by a bindi, a decorative dot worn on the forehead, and a headscarf. It is interesting to note that even individuals who may have a different physical appearance, such as a 6-foot blonde, also embrace these cultural clothing choices in order to blend in with the local customs and traditions.
Wearing what the local girls wear
Wearing local attire is incredibly valuable for blending in and avoiding the tourist spotlight. It not only helps prevent thefts and scams targeted at tourists but also reduces the attention of street vendors and beggars. By dressing like the locals, you can feel more at ease and less self-conscious while exploring unfamiliar places.
Respecting local beliefs and customs is crucial, especially when it pertains to dress code. In certain cultures, women are expected to cover their chest, shoulders, and sometimes wear a headscarf due to conservative customs. If you were to visit a city that upholds these beliefs and you were dressed in a mini skirt, bikini top, or strapless dress, not only would you feel uncomfortable, but you might also attract unwelcome attention. While it's important to look presentable, it's advisable to blend in by dressing modestly and avoiding overly provocative attire.
When you find yourself in a new city, it's a good idea to take a business card from your hotel or hostel. This way, if you ever get lost or forget the address, you can easily show the card to locals or taxi drivers who can assist you, especially in countries where you don't speak the language. It saves you from having to rely on gestures or trying to communicate the information verbally.
If you find it uncomfortable to disclose your hotel information to taxi drivers or locals, you can take a simple precaution to avoid this. Just grab a business card from a nearby local business or one across the road from your hotel. This way, you can keep your hotel location private and unknown to others.
Don't leave your valuables unattended
It is highly recommended to utilize the lockers and safes provided at your hostel or hotel. Remember to bring your own lock to ensure exclusive access to your belongings. It is important to note that having a private room and locking the door does not guarantee the safety of your valuables. It is always better to be cautious and take necessary precautions.
When travelling, it is important to keep your valuables secure. One way to do this is by using a day pack, which can become like a second skin. Avoid storing your valuables in stowed luggage on buses, as it is not as secure. Additionally, if you are travelling overnight on buses or trains, it is recommended to lock your day pack and secure it to your seat for added protection.
Free walking tours
When you arrive in a new city, it's a good idea to check if there are any free walking tours available. These tours offer a fantastic opportunity to familiarize yourself with the city and navigate without constantly referring to a map, helping you avoid looking like a lost tourist. Additionally, joining a walking tour allows you to meet fellow travellers who are also staying in the area. This can lead to potential connections and the opportunity to plan day trips together during your stay in the city.
Ignore unwanted attention
To handle unwanted attention from males, it's important to stay focused and confident. If you encounter males yelling or making inappropriate offers, such as sex, marriage, private tours, or drugs, it's best to ignore them and keep walking. Avoid engaging in conversation and pretend not to hear them. If you ever feel followed, seek safety in a closed group of obvious tourists or enter a shop or restaurant.
Let people know your plans
It is important to inform a few individuals about your whereabouts and upcoming plans for the next few days. Before leaving your hotel or hostel for the day, it is advisable to inform the reception staff about your activities. They are often well-informed and can provide valuable safety tips, recommendations for local attractions, and excellent restaurant suggestions.
When planning hikes and trekking without professional group tours, it is crucial to inform national park rangers and local authorities about your itinerary and expected duration. This increases the chances of being located if you get lost. Additionally, it is advisable to carry a radio or GPS handheld tracking device at all times and avoid solo trekking or hiking in remote areas.
Consider a safety whistle
When travelling, it is a good idea to bring a personal safety alarm or whistle with you. There are various brands and types available, designed for all types of travelers. While you may feel confident in most places you visit, unexpected situations can arise, such as being approached by a group of monkeys or an aggressive stray dog. In these instances, a whistle or safety alarm can help scare away these animals. One option to consider is the Ila Dusk Personal Alarm, which is lightweight, easy to attach to your backpack, and emits a loud 130db sound.
Travelling solo as a female can be safe, but it's important to stay vigilant and take precautions. To ensure your safety, it's recommended to be aware of your surroundings, respect local customs, and avoid potentially unsafe situations. Keep your bags locked, keep your valuables with you, buddy up in remote areas, and be well-prepared for any situation.