Last updated on January 27th, 2024 at 07:16 pm
Solo travel has become increasingly popular, especially since the internet makes planning your own custom vacation package easier than ever.
There’s a lot to love about taking a trip on your own–no compromising on where to go or what to do—just time away to recharge, explore new places, and embrace a bit of “me time” away from the daily grind.
And although both men and women are traveling solo, women are more likely to feel some hesitation, with safety being the leading obstacle to vacationing alone, cited by 69% of women.
Are you considering traveling on your own but have safety concerns? Let’s talk about some tips for solo female travelers that can help you stay safe as you head off on your next adventure.
Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers
1. Do your research
Many of the safety concerns travelers have come from a lack of knowledge about their intended destination.
For instance, while safety often does correlate with a country’s development or a neighborhood’s level of prosperity, not all poorer locations are more dangerous than all wealthier locations. Similarly, while some countries or regions are dominated by traditional views that can make Western travelers uncomfortable, these views do not always correlate with additional risks for women.
To make sure you know what you’re getting into, do your research and gather as much information as possible about the location you’re considering. While travel forums can give you some idea of what a particular area has to offer, keep in mind that the subjective impressions of individual travelers don’t always line up with what you will experience. That’s why you’ll want to also make use of information and tips provided by reputable travel and government websites when it comes to your chosen destination.
2. Choose your accommodations carefully
If you’re planning to rent a hotel room, the likelihood of any accommodation-related dangers is low. If, however, you’re going to rent a room or home offered by a host on Airbnb or VRBO, you need to be more careful. This may be especially true if you’re traveling to a place where law enforcement is known to be lax.
One of the easiest ways to avoid dangerous, or at least potentially uncomfortable, situations is to stay away from accommodations hosted by single males. You’ll also want to look for “superhosts,” and avoid any place that has bad or few reviews.
To find out more about the place you’re considering, if in the US, you can reverse search the address to find out who owns the property, in what neighborhood it’s located, and even learn more about the safety of the area.
And, finally on the topic of accomodations, be sure to always lock windows and doors securely. There are all kinds of safety and locking devices designed for travel that you can buy too. Read descriptions and reviews to choose what will work best for your situation.
3. Avoid attracting unwanted attention
If you’ll be traveling to particularly impoverished destinations or places where women tend to dress traditionally, it’s best to keep a low profile. This can help ensure you don’t attract the type of attention that will make you feel uncomfortable or even expose you to unnecessary risks.
For example, if you’re traveling to a place where petty crime is common, you’ll want to keep your belongings safe and not show signs of significant wealth. Or, if you’re traveling to a place where women tend to dress very modestly, doing the same will likely ensure that you don’t get unwanted comments or stares.
4. Always keep your phone with you
While we know that in the not-too-distant past, people traveled by themselves without a cell phone, it seems almost unimaginable now. No one wants to find themselves in an unfamiliar area without the ability to contact anyone or find their hotel.
So, before traveling abroad, be sure to ask your cell phone service provider whether you’ll be able to use your phone and under what conditions. In many cases, you’ll have the option to activate international calling services, which will allow you to use your phone as normal no matter where you travel.
Depending on your provider, however, international service can be expensive (or perhaps unavailable). In that case, you may want to check into buying a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination. To be sure this option will work, make sure to find out if your phone is SIM-locked or not.
5. Plan your trip with reputable travel companies
If you decide to plan your trip with the help of a travel agent, it’s best to read reviews and thoroughly vet the company. One of the easiest ways to do this is by checking the company’s reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, and other reputable platforms.
Beware of travel agency scams, as fraudsters are out there. They usually create websites or social media ads that look similar to well-known travel sites, like Booking and Expedia, in an attempt to defraud people looking for cheap flights, hotels, or tours.
6. Research your transportation options
You might have heard that airplanes are generally safer than trains and that the latter are generally safer than cars. This is all true, but note that not all countries have the same safety standards when it comes to transportation.
For this reason, it’s recommended to do a bit of research before deciding to travel by any means of transportation in a destination that you’re unfamiliar with.
7. Be prepared for emergencies
In the hopefully unlikely scenario that you experience an emergency–be it medical or security-related–you’ll want to be as prepared as possible. If you’re backpacking, for example, you should have an emergency first aid kit with you and avoid traveling to places where you can’t connect to your mobile network.
Regardless of where you are traveling, you should also have emergency contact numbers handy so that you can use them instantly if needed.
While we can’t deny that solo female travelers are more vulnerable to some types of risks than men, this shouldn’t mean that traveling alone is out of the question. Regardless of your sex, traveling solo comes with specific challenges, but those challenges can be addressed with the tips we’ve discussed.
If you’re ready to plan a solo trip for self-discovery, adventure, relaxation, or to explore a new destination all on your own, go for it! Just plan and travel smart.
The most important tip we can leave you with is to learn everything you can about your destination. As long as you have a thorough understanding of your risks and how to mitigate them, everything should go according to plan. Happy traveling!