Deciding to travel alone for the first time is fucking terrifying.
Yeah, I said it.
Sure there’s excitement nestled in with eager anticipation of travelling to foreign lands. The desire to build up a tan (#justwhitethings can’t relate but I hear it’s great) and let’s not forget the allure of a much-needed escape from reality. But let’s be real for a moment. There are times when the world can seem like a scary place, especially for women.
Is travelling alone as a woman dangerous?
Having travelled solo around the world for the past three years I’ve learnt that not even half the stuff I was worried about has actually happened. I also learned that most of the time, as long as you keep your wits about you, it’s no more dangerous than where you currently live. In fact sometimes safer.
If you’re thinking about travelling solo and you’re feeling nervous GOOD. Your intuition is working and this is one of the best tools you have in your arsenal to keep you safe.
However, if you’d like to travel on more than just a hunch and an innate knowing then you’ve come to the right place. Today you’re going to learn the best solo female travel safety tips from some of the pros. The women featured in this post have travelled all around the world, some even living overseas for extended periods of time.
They are friends, girlfriends, sisters and avid adventurers. But most importantly they’re your new allies. They’ve been handpicked to guide you (yes, you) as a soon-to-be-solo-traveller. And the best part is they’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
1. Stay connected
Adebola from My Breaking Views
Adebola is a former study exchange student who studied in Singapore and Malaysia. On her blog, she shares the tools, tips and tricks to help more black people move abroad and explore the world. She is also the co-founder of Black Travel Creators an online community for content creators of colour.
Without a doubt, one of the best tips I can give to solo female travellers is to stay online! Letting people know your plans and where you are travelling to can be such a useful safety net. I made a solo trip to Las Vegas last year and made sure I stayed engaged with my followers on social media. Although a seemingly small act this let my close friends and family know that I was safe throughout my entire trip.
It might sound cheesy, but it’s like leaving a breadcrumb trail of your travels where people can know you’re ok and see what you’re doing on your trip.
2. Keep your belongings close to you
Chichi Okagbue from Thoughts of Chi
Thoughts of Chi is a lifestyle blog that explores aspects such as travel, faith and self-discovery topics. Chichi shares her various experiences as a means to inspire, empower and encourage others.
Always keep your bag(s) and belongings close to you even if it means wearing your backpack the wrong way around! I also always carry my DSLR camera around my neck so that I can keep a close tab on it at all times and I never isolate myself in places that I’m not familiar with. Even though you’re travelling solo, if you can, stick to travelling places where there’ll be other people around. Remember the old saying – “there’s safety in numbers!”
3. Follow your intuition
Chloe from One Way Journey
Chloe is an avid traveller who became an advocate for travel after discovering the value it added to her life and other people’s. She uses her experiences to inspire others to explore foreign cultures and meet new people.
One of my best solo female travel safety tips would just be to use your common sense. Trust me, it’s easy to get caught up in travelling and forget that the most basic things can keep you safe. Although I found people, men especially, were quite protective over women who were travelling alone, that isn’t always the case. Make sure you look after yourself at all times and watch how much alcohol you’re drinking, especially when you’re out alone! Guard your drinks fiercely and never let them out of your sight.
4. Pre-plan your escape route
Cassie – from Cassie the Hag
Cassie is an introvert turned full-time solo traveller. Her goal is to inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and do something unforgettable with their lives.
One solo female travel safety tip I’ve learned is to try to book flights/transport to arrive at your new destination before sunset. That way you don’t have to find your bearings in a new country after dark. Where that’s not possible, always screenshot the address and a map of your accommodation so you can Google the safest way to get there from the airport/bus station.
5. Make use of offline travel apps
Yariella Coello – from The Beauty Backpacker
Yariella writes a travel and beauty blog for the daring female flashpacker/backpacker who’s just as happy trekking through the rainforest as she is lounging in a luxury steam bath. Her aim is to help women spice up the way they travel as well as their beauty routines back home. Whether that’s helping to scout new destinations, design an out-of-the-box adventure or discover unique beauty brands and rituals from around the globe.
Always download offline Google Maps for your next destination. This just ensures you have a way to get around on your own in case you don’t have access to WiFi or data, which in many places are luxuries! I find this especially handy if I have to jump in a taxi on my own, as I can track our movements to my destination and make sure I’m not being led astray.
6. Have copies of your important documents
Sarah from Sarah Toyin
Sarah Toyin is a London based travel blogger and content creator. She has moved abroad and lived an expat life in South Korea, travels solo often and loves coastal cities and towns. She helps travellers who would like to move abroad to teach English in Korea, gives advice about travelling solo, provides city guides and much more.
My best safety tip for solo female travellers is to always have photocopies of your important documents and numbers. You might be wondering what’s the point? Why would you need those? Let’s just say someone steals your bag while you are out and it included your passport, your wallet and your phone – what would you do? I know it’s not an ideal situation, but it does happen and if it does you want to be prepared.
Having the photocopy means you’ll know your passport number and be able to report it stolen or lost and potentially apply for an emergency document. Don’t forget to also email yourself copies also.
I normally leave my passport in a locker or safe in my accommodation and then carry around a photocopy of the information page of my passport just for identification purposes. Some people prefer to carry their passport around, but for me, that’s just too risky!
7. Research the best solo female travel destinations
Gemma Thompson from Girls That Travel
Gemma’s blog features everything a girl needs, no matter what age, to get the confidence to take a solo trip. Featuring city guides, solo female travel safety tips, money-saving tips and practical help such as how to stay healthy on the road and how to plan your first trip.
Do plenty of research. From choosing a hotel or Airbnb, to even picking a destination always put aside plenty of time to research. I promise you if you take a little time, you’ll get so much more out of your trip. I check out different neighbourhoods of a city via reviews and Google Maps then make sure the area is safe for solo female travellers.
It helps to have an awareness of cultural etiquette too. Nobody wants to be *that* person (!). Increase your knowledge by listening to podcasts and reading books on the area you’re heading to. Not just guide books but history and cultural references. Make a promise to yourself to always learn a few words of the language. This makes a HUGE difference and makes your trip all the more richer.
If I can have one successful exchange in another country then I’m happy!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning the solo female travel safety tips from these women as much as I have. I want you to know that when it comes to travelling alone as a woman it’s not as scary and dangerous as you might have been envisioning. And if you’re brave enough to take the first leap I just *know* you’ll be in for the trip of a lifetime.
What about you? What are your top tips for staying safe while travelling?
Let me know in the comments!
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