Part of me hates that we have to write articles like this. Women should be able to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, including traveling the world. Unfortunately, although solo travel is an incredibly liberating, thrilling experience that everyone should try, solo female travelers have to take a little more care when traveling alone, to make sure they stay as safe as possible. I asked fellow solo female traveler Nora from Rainy Adventures to share her top tips for women traveling alone.
Traveling alone is a fun and exciting idea. It allows you to explore places without getting dragged around or nagged by anyone. You can go anywhere you want without any complaints.
In the past, solo travel was just intended for brave and independent souls. But in recent years, we have seen more and more women pack their bags alone and fly to different destinations all over the world. However, it might take a bit of time before you get the hang of solo traveling. It can be daunting, scary, and sometimes dangerous, and traveling alone is more than just learning how to pack your backpack!
However, as a solo female traveler, I can tell you it is possible. Solo travel can be rewarding, adventurous, and the best experience of your life, if you are ready for the challenges it brings. If you are a woman who wants to travel alone, there are things that you might want to try to get the most out of your single travel life!
Tips for Women Traveling Alone
1. Do Your Research
It is not “you only live once” out there. The idea of traveling is already fun. But things might change once you have already landed at your destination. Any unfamiliar terrain can make you uncomfortable and insecure. Whether it’s an urban metropolis or rural countryside, you will still feel hesitant if it’s your first time there.
The best way you can prevent yourself from falling into this kind of predicament is doing research ahead. Always know the place and everything that is there. Which destinations should you go to? Which areas should you avoid? Where is your hotel or hostel? Where should you eat? If the worst happens, how do you call the police or get to the hospital?
These are some of the questions that you have to answer by yourself. Don’t be afraid if they sound daunting. You can have these matters settled just by doing a little research before you arrive, in guidebooks, blogs, or contacting your hotel or hostel for advice. And I do encourage you to have these details to hand, after all, you have to remember that you are traveling alone and might not have anyone to help you.
2. Keep Your Valuables Secure
When you are planning to travel, make sure that you don’t bring items that are very valuable, such as expensive jewellery, heirlooms, important documents, and the like.
Modern gadgets that are necessary for your adventures such as DSLRs, tablets, smartphones, and laptops are still considered valuables but can really improve your overall travel experience, so think carefully about what you want to bring with you, and how upset you would be if they got lost or stolen.
You should always bring a separate bag to carry these items so they are not in your main backpack or suitcase. A special pouch for your passport, credit cards, and cash such as a money belt is a good idea as well. You should never put these important items in your backpack to avoid the risk of damage, and certainly do not put them in check-in luggage. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that you are going to lose them or that they will get damaged.
3. Bring What You Only Need for the Day
Once you have arrived at your destination, it is completely natural to feel giddy and excited. We all have these sensations, especially those who have wanderlust and have just begun a journey. But don’t let these rambling emotions get the best of you, still remember to take care of yourself and your belongings.
If you are going out of your hotel or hostel to explore, there’s no need for you to bring your passport and all of your credit cards. Furthermore, it is not necessary to bring large amounts of cash. You just need enough to survive throughout the day. Some people prefer to carry their passport with them in a money belt, and others prefer to leave it locked in a safe at their accommodation.
Before you leave your hotel, always put your remaining valuables in the locker or safe. If someone really wants to steal your stuff out of a locker they will, but it will certainly reduce the risk.
4. Never Be Too Trusting
You are a woman and it is pretty natural for some people to see you as vulnerable. Travel is a sociable activity, and you will meet people who will chat with you, and ask you to join them for a drink, activity or dinner. And sometimes, this can build long-lasting friendships and intimate relationships.
Sounds great, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to make friends while they are traveling? However, be careful not let your guard down, especially not right away. As much as I want to make things flowery and beautiful for you, some people just want to take advantage of tourists, and women. Con artists and thieves could be there lurking around, waiting for the right opportunity to strike.
Before traveling alone you might consider learning some self-defence techniques. Other women travel with a rape alarm or pepper spray to help them feel safer and be able to react should they be attacked.
If you want to get steamy with a local or a foreigner, make sure that you use protection. You certainly don’t want to end up pregnant or with a nasty STI, so take some condoms with you if you think you might get lucky. Alternatively, if you find yourself getting unwanted advances from men, don’t be afraid to say no. A polite ‘no-thank-you’ or ‘I’m going to meet my boyfriend now’ can work wonders. Don’t worry about appearing too rude to them. Saying no can still be done without losing your courtesy. You just have to be careful. If you find yourself in a situation you don’t know how to get out of, ask someone for help. A waitress, a local family, anyone who could help by simply talking to you and helping you out of a difficult situation.
5. Don’t Overdo the Booze
Generally, tourists like to know where the nearest bars and hostels are where they can take their daily dose of alcohol. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to have a glass of your favorite drink while you are traveling, and this goes for men and women.
At first, it is a cool thing to quench the thirst of your throat. But after a few drinks, you will get tipsy and your movements can become shaky and uncontrolled. As a woman traveling alone, you should not let yourself get into such a situation as it makes you more vulnerable to getting robbed or falling victim to potential sexual predators. And sexual predators do really love to hit on foreigners.
I am not saying that you should not drink while you are on the road. The key here is to keep things in moderation. Do not drink like a thirsty horse. Instead, you have to control yourself and be aware of what you are actually drinking. Is the bartender giving you the right drink? Did you order a cocktail that is too strong for you? Also, remember to keep an eye or a hand on your drink at all times, to make sure you don’t get spiked. The same rules apply wherever you are in the world, and although you might feel safe drinking with new friends, still remember to be careful.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to succumb to any forms of gentle pressure. Sure, you can answer the kind gesture of people who invite you to sit with them. But this doesn’t mean that you have to let your guard down. Don’t ever push yourself just to keep up with them, although peer pressure to have another beer or shot can be strong, stop when you feel that you’ve had enough.
Modern women want to be free from their restrictions. They want to escape the binds of getting labeled or limited in their actions, especially on the things that they want to do, like travel the world.
When women travel, they feel a freedom like never before. You and I understand that feeling. But regardless of how jovial and ecstatic you can get, never be careless. You should always be careful, especially if you are traveling alone. In this way, you can make your solo adventure less stressful and more memorable, without missing out but still enjoying your travels safely.
Do you know other tips and tricks that can make a woman’s travel life safer and more convenient? Tell me in the comment section below!
I am Nora D.King – a contributor of Rainy Adventures. I am a nature lover. I believe that it is important for people to connect with mother nature’s gift of the great outdoors. I also write for several websites that focus on traveling and backpacking. I’ve also ghosted for other famous personalities who are known to be active in exploring nature and survival enthusiasts.
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