Solo travel always comes with its challenges, but for women there are particular issues. Security is not guaranteed and can be hard to find in certain places.
As a female solo traveler, you will have to deal with naysayers who believe you’re putting yourself at risk. There’s no reason to have to give up on solo travel based on your gender. However, there are certain rules of thumb to follow to ensure your safety. In some places, these will be more significant than in others.
It is your personal safety that we’re going to focus on. Possessions can be replaced. Even if your stuff is stolen while you’re abroad, renters insurance can reimburse you. It can still be traumatic, though, so take care to use the hotel safe and stay alert when out.
Here are the do’s and don’ts for female solo travelers.
Do: Go on solo walking tours
Take time to go on solo walking tours. While you can hop on a city bus or go on a group tour, you truly get to know a place when you walk the streets. You’ll find hidden gems and get an idea of what the locals are like. Obviously, this only applies in cities not known for opportunistic street crimes.
Don’t: Veer off the beaten trail
When traveling it is sometimes great to go off the beaten trail. However, when you are on a solo walking tour, there will be plenty to see in the vibrant, popular parts of a city. Going exploring down dark alleys and into dodgy areas is not advised. Even cities with low crime rates have their hubs.
Do: Engage with the locals
Travel is not just about seeing new places and having cool experiences. It is also about diversifying your experience. There is no better way to do this than to engage with the locals.
If you speak some of their language, they’ll appreciate the effort you make. If not, they may still enjoy interacting with you. You will get some great tips about the best restaurants and establishments to visit.
Don’t: Put your blind trust in people
Unfortunately, there are always people who will take advantage of tourists. They see solo travelers as vulnerable and try to scam them or even hurt them. Sometimes, these people are outwardly aggressive and avoidable. At other times, however, the people who seem the nicest are those who are out to rob you.
When engaging with strangers, you should always be aware that you lack social context. It is much more difficult to gauge danger when among people different from your own. It’s not necessary to always have your guard up, but the best time to engage is when you are in a safe space.
Do: Research and respect the culture
If you’re visiting a country with a different culture to yours, it is crucial that you do the research. In some countries, it is not safe to dress and act like you do back home. You may be expected to cover your hair, wear clothing considered modest, and avoid certain activities. Doing the proper research will keep you from getting into sticky situations when your life clashes with the local expectations.
Traveling solo as a woman comes with its risks. However, by following the above guidelines you will avoid some of the pitfalls solo female travelers face.
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