As much as I’d like to encourage you to travel .. due to recent news, please stay put and stay healthy <3
Solo Travel . Travel . Travel Planning
13 safety tips for solo female travelersOn March 13, 2020 by S.K. Lakenen
It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of new experiences. Solo travel is empowering, and leads to new adventures. Although spontaneity is key to an amazing travel experience, safety is important too. Safety is one of the main concerns for people who are still hesitant in taking that first step in solo travelling. While it may not be a guarantee, there are ways to be prepared and lessen the likeliness of accidents or unfortunate events happening.
Do your research
Read reviews carefully before booking your accommodation. It’ll give you an idea of how safe your lodging and location is. I highly suggest booking accommodations in hostels or hotels; rather than AirBnB. There have been noted cases where tourists get scammed, and even robbed or even worse harassed by their hosts.
Research the neighborhood that you’ll be visiting and staying in. If you have a friend that lives / has lived in the area, ask for their opinion. Expect to be out at night, and be prepared to know how to get back to your hotel by yourself. It also doesn’t hurt to learn about local scams and how you could avoid them.
Make sure someone always knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Have a trusted set of people that keep tabs on you, and have a copy of your itinerary. I change my plans all the time but I always make sure my friends (even if they’re on the other side of the world) know where I’m going. You can also have a buddy in your hostel who’ll check in when you’re not back in time.
Be mindful of the sunset hour
Sunsets are a beauty, and should be enjoyed. However, make sure that you enjoy it somewhere safe (or enjoy it with a group of travelers). It’s also understandable that it’s easy to get caught up wandering in a medina or graffiti-decorated alleys and you forget about the time and might end up staying in dark areas without meaning to.
My advice is before you head out and get excited, go online and check when the sun sets down and put an alarm half an hour before to make sure you can get yourself out in a possible jam before nightfall.
Lock before you go
Take advantage of the lockers or safe in your room. Even if you’re only going to be gone for a quick 15 minutes errand, better to be safe. Minimize the opportunity for easy theft.
Separate your cash
Don’t put all your money (and credit cards) in one place.
I’ve ran out of restaurants in a hurry, leaving either my bag or my wallet behind. Thankfully, it was never lost and kept aside safely until my return. Unfortunately, people aren’t always that kind. There might be circumstances that you might accidentally leave your wallet in excitement and it’ll be lost forever.
There are shady people everywhere that will take advantage of oblivious tourists, and there are multiple stories about people getting mugged, even during day time.
Separate your cash so if you do end up losing your wallet, you have a back-up plan and be able to go back to your hostel.
If you’re like me, you like music blasting into your ears and drift off to a daydream. Nevertheless, during travels, it’s important to stay alert; whether you’re sitting in a waiting area, in a bus or strolling down a busy street. You can listen to music with just one earbud in, so you can still be aware of your surroundings.
Take note of all exits
The last thing you’d want is to run into a dead end when there’s an emergency. Before settling in your dorm room or hotel room, keep a mental note of every exit available.
Know your limit
Be friendly, but also be wary. While it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and start partying, don’t drink to intoxication and don’t get out of control that you cannot bring yourself home, be sober enough to defend yourself if needed.
In some tourist-centric destinations, standing out as a tourist makes you an easy target. Avoid bringing clothes that’ll bring unwanted attention towards you. Instead, pack your simple outfits, or even better, buy some locally made. Not only will you help their economy, but you’ll get to create a new wardrobe for yourself!
Don’t look lost
When you get off the bus in a popular tourist site, chances are you’ll be bombarded with locals trying to sell you something or lead you somewhere you don’t necessarily want to spend time in. If you’re not sure where to go, head into a shop to take a quick peek at your map. Until then, keep your head up high and pretend you know exactly where you’re going.
Don’t depend on online maps
I got lost in a medina in Chefchaouen, Morocco. GPS wasn’t working and Google map wasn’t precise enough, especially in medinas that are a labyrinth and made out mostly of small alleyways. Online maps don’t always capture all of that. This scenario happens in cities too.
Instead, take mental notes of landmarks when you venture out. Drawing your own maps too helps, plus it’ll be a great souvenir for yourself.
Have an item to defend yourself
Have something within reach that can be used to summon help or as a weapon; water bottle, pocket knife or whistle. It may not fully stop them, but it’ll give you time to make a quick getaway. It also helps to know the local law enforcement number before arriving in the destination.
Don’t be afraid to make a scene
I experienced being groped in a crowded bus in Sri Lanka, and screaming put a stop to that. Unfortunately, these types of stories happen everywhere – mostly to women.
Whether it’s getting scammed or groped, saying no and walking away isn’t enough. Some of them can be relentless, so don’t be embarrassed to shriek and make a scene to discourage further contact.
The world isn’t as scary as it seems to be, and solo travel is an amazing experience on its own. Just stay safe while having your adventures.