As a woman, traveling alone can be a little bit scary. Some places make us automatic targets just because of our gender, clothing or mannerisms. While it is unfair, it is something we have to prepare for. Next time you travel solo, remember these tips to keep yourself safe.
For the text version, scroll past the images.
- Know the potential risks in each area you plan to visit.
- Plan most of your trip ahead to avoid any problems with your travel visa.
- Learn about the cultural differences of your destination. What is “the norm” for women in each area? Blending in is the best defence.
- If you are going somewhere that does not speak English, learn key phrases of their language.
- Pack lightly and casually to draw less attention to yourself.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Remember that not only men can be threats!
- Keep your most important belongings close to you (keys, passport, cellphone).
- Know where you are going before setting out each day, or keep a small (digital) map handy. Large maps draw unwanted attention.
- If you’re lost, stay calm. Vulnerability may draw predators. Ask someone you are sure is safe for directions.
- Do not hitchhike! Ever!
- Ask someone at the airport or your hotel which taxis to look for.
- Bring a rubber door stop for extra protection in rooms without locks.
- Avoid isolated areas. Whether that’s streets, walkways, train cars, etc. stay where the people are.
- Choose accommodations in a busy area.
- Ask a female working at your hotel or hostel what areas she would avoid.
- When heading out alone at night, tell your hotel when to expect you back.
- Don’t share your accommodation information with anyone that may be unsafe.
- Never tell new friends to meet you at your room. Choose public places until you know they are safe.
- Don’t tell strangers what you do for a living. In some countries, anything that may signal wealth makes you a target.
- Look out for other women traveling solo. Check online, or with your friends back home. Maybe you’ll find a companion for a few days!
- Ask to be paired with other women on overnight train rides.
- Don’t keep all of your money in one place. Separate a smaller amount before you leave for the day to avoid flashing large amounts of cash near prying eyes.
- Wear a fake wedding ring. It sounds tacky, but some male predators avoid married women.
- Stay in touch with home.
- Don’t be afraid to be loud. Bring a whistle, or shout if you feel you are in danger.