Whenever I talk about my travel experiences I always have at least one person who is so surprised that I travel alone as a twenty-something female. I always get asked if I’m ever nervous or afraid to travel alone as a female. While there are definitely risks to travelling alone as a female, I think there is a huge misconception that its a lot unsafer than it really is. I have travelled to many places on my own and very few times have I felt unsafe. A lot of the times, locals are even more welcoming and helpful when they know you’re travelling alone!
Travelling solo is one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had, and I don’t think the fear that it’s unsafe to travel alone should hold anyone back from experiencing it.
To help ease your mind a little bit and hopefully give you that push to finally book that ticket here are some of my tips for travelling solo as a female.
Before you go
Research your destination
Find out the local customs and laws for your destination. Different cultures have different expectations of gender roles, so if you’re unsure, it’s best to check before you go to avoid an awkward, or potentially dangerous situation when you arrive.
Pack acceptable clothing that aligns with the expectations in the country you’re visiting. For example, I’ll be visiting the Maldives later this year and it’s a Muslim country, meaning women’s knees and chest need to be covered; I’ll be packing tons of maxi dresses in order to respect the local culture
Tell your loved ones
Share your itinerary with close friends and family and give them the address or contact info of hotels you’ll be staying at, as well as your flight numbers so they can check in when you land
Copy your passport
Really everyone should do this. Make a copy of your passport and leave it at home with a loved one in case yours is lost or stolen while abroad.
During Your Trip
Confidence is key
If you look like you belong you’ll be less of a target
Fake it till you make it, don’t look like a tourist! Doing your research and packing the right clothing will help you to blend in a ton.
Hide your valuables
If you’re travelling with a camera or smartphone, keep them tucked away in your pocket or hidden under a scarf. Flashing these in public make you a target for robberies.
Don’t get drunk
This should be a given, but if you’re travelling alone you should never, ever be getting wasted. You put yourself in one of the riskiest situations by doing so. If you do make friends or find yourself in a bar, there’s nothing wrong with having a drink, but be cautious of your intake. And be sure to try and alert the bartender if you’re feeling uncomfortable, they are usually used to dealing with these situations and can help get you home safely.
Travel during the day
Try to avoid travelling after sunset as much as you can, it’s a fact that more incidents happen at night than in broad daylight
Have a backup plan
There’s no shame in having an exit plan if things suddenly go wrong. If you arrive at your hotel and the area feels incredibly unsafe, you can utilize your backup plan to find a new place to stay, or if you’re couch surfing and decide your hosts are incredibly creepy, you’ll have a way out.
Have backup cash
With that being said, you should have the money to support your backup plan. I recently read an article about things you need to be able to afford before you can afford to travel, and enough money for a return ticket is one of them. You never know if your worst case scenario will happen and you find yourself needing to leave the country immediately.
Be aware of your surroundings
When you’re travelling on your own it’s entirely up to you to keep yourself and your belongings safe, so it’s important not to take any chances. Be vigilant when out in public, especially with your purse and belongings in busy areas. Always keep your bags zipped up and in front of you.
Develop an alter-ego
When I was in Vienna I bought myself a knock off Swarovski ring. Whenever I travel alone, I wear it as a fake engagement ring. If I ever get into an awkward situation where a stranger is lingering a little too long, I simply tell them I have to go meet up with my fiancé and they’ll be on their way.
Those are all my tips for staying safe while travelling solo as a female! If you have any more I forgot to mention, feel free to share them below!