Travelling solo can be fun as long as you observe a few necessary precautions. It can undoubtedly be an incredible experience — to go where you want to, meet locals, tune into their culture, and broaden the horizons of your mind. For women travelling alone, it brings an immense sense of possibility and freedom.
However, while solo travel is an experience of its kind; there are particular challenges — ranging from being safe to navigating loneliness – that can be daunting sometimes. These can sow the seeds of doubt in a woman’s mind, making her rethink the trip. To do away with the confusion, here are eight travel safety tips for women that can help one get the most out of a solo voyage:
There are many ways you can do it. For starters, during check-in, ask for a room near the elevator. This way, you will not have to use the potentially ill-lit stairway to get to your room. You can use only the first initial and avoid any honorific (Ms./Mrs.) while checking in. Further, make sure the valet notes down the room number and doesn’t say it aloud.
Also, if you have to deposit the keys at the front desk, ensure a clerk puts them away at a safe place. Don’t ever leave your keys out in the open (on the counter).
For women travelling alone, this tip is crucial. If you are visiting a city that you’ve never been to, plan out your schedule so that it lets you arrive during the day. That’s because small towns can be deserted at night, with bus or trains stations wearing a desolate look.
Towns that are otherwise serene and beautiful might appear eerie at night, and genuinely helpful locals might come across as threatening. Arriving when there is still daylight can help you find safe accommodation and acclimatise to your surroundings before it gets dark.
When discussing female travel safety tips, this point can never be emphasized enough. Tuck away your extra reserves of money, passport and other travel documents. Use a secure purse or bag to carry the money that you’ll need to travel around the city. Should you be using a money belt, make sure you are reaching out to it discreetly. If not, you would be drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.
Also, get separate copies of your cards, passport and other paperwork. That way, you will have something to fall back on in case you lose your belongings.
This is undoubtedly one of the more important travel safety tips for women. If you are visiting a city for the first time, make sure you dress suitably for you don’t know the host culture well and whether it is welcoming of revealing attire.
A good tip here is to see the women around you and dress accordingly. This way, you will not have to deal with any unwanted attention. In some cultures, bare arms and legs are deemed risqué; you should ideally do your research before you land in the host country.
For women travelling alone, they must know when and how to buddy up. There will be situations when seeking out good company will make the experience safer and more enjoyable. For instance, if you meet a like-minded couple, you can note down their phone numbers (advisable to not give away yours) and seek them out when heading to a new restaurant.
Even if you don’t find others to team up with, there are other ways at your disposal. For instance, stick close to families on public transportation or at unfamiliar market places.
Certain run-off-the-mill gestures — eye contact, smile or even a shake of hands — might be misconstrued, depending on the country you are visiting. For example, in some East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, eye contact is not recommended. Similarly, in the Middle East, a firm handshake is considered offensive.
Learning the underlying subtleties of body language and the native culture can prevent awkward circumstances. When in doubt, observe the locals, and act accordingly. If you have a habit of looking at the other person in the eye, sport a pair of dark sunglasses to take eye contact out of the equation.
One of the more essential female travel safety tips is to have a few contacts on your speed dial. This way, your friends and family back home can keep a tab on you. Let them know about your itinerary and maintain regular contact so that they know where you are.
Remember, solo travel is not about cutting out contact with others and resorting to living in isolation.
For women travelling alone, use your common sense at all times. Don’t walk around late at night (team up with fellow travellers that you can trust), don’t drink with strangers, avoid travelling in empty train compartments, don’t risk safety while trying to save up on accommodation or transportation, and know how to use pay-phones.
The travel safety tips for women mentioned above apply to general travel as well. Exuding confidence, being aware of your surroundings and developing street-smartness are vital for a safe and enjoyable trip.