A frequently asked concern by women considering travel is whether solitary female travel is safe. Some ladies are unsure of which destinations are safe. Some want to know if they can do it alone, despite the fact that close friends and family have advised them against it. If you’re a woman who hasn’t traveled solo before, it’s easy to get caught up in the what-ifs — not to mention talk yourself out of enjoying an incredible solo travel experience.
As a digital nomad, I spent three years traveling full-time, often alone. Solo travel experiences can be very satisfying in ways that other types of travel do not: You can stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and discover your inner explorer. You may be encouraged to be more receptive to life and new experiences on your own. Traveling can be an excellent source of education.
Therefore, if you’re a hopeful single female traveler looking for safety guidance, here’s some hard-won wisdom that’s aided me on each of my adventures.
Utilize taxis and ridesharing services safely.
Most countries offer ridesharing apps like Uber or their own version of a taxi-hailing app. When you use Uber or a local app, your location is tracked and the fare is standardized. Additionally, you can frequently view the driver’s rating and follow along on the app to ensure you arrive at your destination on time.
Most essential, verify that the license plate on the vehicle you’re entering matches the one displayed in the app.
Consider using these apps instead of hailing a cab on the street. If none of these applications are accessible, you can either take an approved cab from the airport or have your hotel arrange a taxi for you. If you’re staying in a short-term rental, inquire about cab recommendations from the host.
Exercise caution when drinking and dating.
Consumption of alcoholic beverages in excess may impair your ability to make sound judgments. Therefore, if you’re going out alone for the night, inform a friend or family member of your plans. You could even go as far as sharing your current position via your smartphone.
Christine Lee, a New York-based traveler, often informs others of her whereabouts when she travels alone. “Ensure that you communicate your current location with a roommate, friend, or family member and/or inform a friend of your travel plans so that someone is aware of your whereabouts at all times,” she advises.
Similarly, if you’re traveling and going on a first date, meet in a public spot. This way, if you’re not having a good time, you can quickly leave.
Additionally, avoid leaving your drink unattended while out at pubs or restaurants.
Present yourself as if you know where you’re headed.
While certain destinations are more secure than others, as a general guideline, avoid becoming an easy target. When walking down the street, especially late at night, maintain an air of competence.
If you become disoriented, enter a cafe or store and use your phone for directions. Carry a purse that closes with a zipper and never leave it unattended.
Additionally, ensure that you have the local emergency numbers for the area in which you are traveling in case something goes wrong. Helen Simkins, who is now alone traveling in Portugal, follows this advice.
Keep your Rolex at home.
While it’s fun to flaunt your favorite bling, ostentatious jewelry or timepieces may attract unwanted attention. If you wish to wear jewelry, bring along some costume jewelry or, better yet, acquire some locally made, relatively inexpensive jewelry for the trip. This strategy will not only help you blend in but will also make you appear less like a target.
Many theft occurrences are opportunity crimes; do not give an offender cause to believe you are an easy target.
Make strategic use of (and concealment of) your phone
Certain cities with a reputation for being dangerous have a greater rate of cell phone theft, especially if the country lacks an Apple store (iPhones are valuable on the local black market). If you’re considering a trip to one of these locations, consider purchasing a concealed passport holding belt to wrap around your waist. These small bags are concealed inside your jeans or skirt. Maintain access to your phone.
If you require a phone call or directions, enter a cafe or business and use your phone inside.
Dress culturally acceptable
If you’re visiting a conservative country, bring attire that blends in. Bear in mind the country’s culture and traditions to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
Even if you’re traveling somewhere warm, bring a couple of layers of clothing that cover your knees and shoulders to ensure your comfort when heading out and exploring.