We’ve all been there, determined not to let the dangers of solo travel get the better of us but nervous nonetheless that we might just be taking our lives into our own hands. Solo travel has its both its challenges and its benefits. As much as we hate to say it, there are times when we have to be a little more savvy to the particular dangers of being a woman alone on the road. Here we’ve listed our tried and tested tips for a safe and trouble free adventure.
1. Try to arrive during the day
When you are booking your travel arrangements always make sure that you try to arrive during daylight hours. Arrival in a new city late at night can be daunting. Often train and bus stations are out of town and therefore more likely to be deserted and potentially unsavoury places to find yourself alone late at night. Even if you think you will just hop in a taxi, be aware that in smaller towns and cities you might not find a taxi if it’s too late at night.
2. Ensure hotel safety
When you get to your hostel or hotel, check out the security of the place. Can anyone get in at night? Do they have 24 hour security? What is the lock like on your room? Don’t compromise on safety and if you have doubts about the security of your room, don’t feel bad about asking if you can change it. On popular hostel websites, you can often check the security rating of a place before you book it.
3. Dress appropriate to the local culture
In order to avoid unwanted attention, dress as modestly as the local women and by that I don’t mean go full on out and dress traditional attire but a good rule of thumb is to dress modestly. Think about knee-length or long skirts and be aware that bare or open arms, shoulders, and legs can send the wrong signal to men in certain cultures.
4. Register with your embassy
Both the US and British governments offer safe traveler schemes that allow you to register your whereabouts in the world. For the US it’s the Smart Traveler Enrolment Program and in the UK it’s called Locate. These programs don’t prevent you getting into a dangerous situation but they will allow for better support in an emergency, as well as keep you informed of travel alerts and country specific information.
5. Keep documents and expensive belongings well hidden
This sort of goes without saying but time and time again, we here of people who have had their things stolen or have been mugged. Keep your passport, extra money, and other documents safely tucked away in a locker or safety deposit box which most good hotels or hostels should have. Always use a purse or a bag for carrying money to be spent daily rather than take your entire budget out with you and always keep copies of your passport and credit cards in a secure and separate location.
6. Summon up your inner sass
Even if you are not feeling it, fake confidence to avoid being seen as an easy target. Walk confidently, head held high and the chances are you’ll get less unwanted attention than if you did otherwise. If you get lost don’t stand about looking lost, walk into the nearest shop or restaurant and ask for help. Standing about looking like a forlorn traveler is just asking for trouble.
7. Get yourself some buddies
Traveling solo does not mean that you have to be on your own. On a four month trip around South America, I spent a total of two days hanging out with myself. If you feel uncomfortable being alone then make some friends to hang out with. Staying in hostels is the easiest way to do meet people but also don’t forget to book yourself on a tour or excursion, you’ll be surprised how many other solo travelers you’ll meet and the great thing about solo travelers? They’re also looking for new friends to hang out with! For times when you haven’t yet made any new friends, Try staying close to families on public transportation and also in crowded places like markets and bazaars. You can always turn to them if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
8. Combat harassment
It’s a fact of life that if you are a woman traveling alone, then there is a good chance that you will attract a degree of unwanted attention from men. They can stare, shout, hiss and even physically touch you even in a crowded place. If things get hairy, find a fellow traveler to talk to or approach a local woman. If you look busy and occupied they’ll probably lose interest so carrying a book is usually a good idea.
9. Keep in touch
If you are travelling solo, send emails to let people know where you are and when they should expect to here from you again. It will stop your mum worrying so much and it will also help combat any feelings of loneliness or isolation you might experience. And of course invest in a high quality over at www.bestcompactcamera2016.com to make your Instagram and Facebook swoon!
10. Use your common sense
Using your common sense is the best tip to stay safe and have a good time when you travel alone. Never walk around alone late at night, never ride in empty compartments on trains and never show scrimp on safety to save few pennies when it comes to hotels and transportation.
But most of all, have fun and enjoy yourself. There is too much emphasis put on the dangers of solo travel sometimes and the tips are here are purely to avoid the rare worst case scenarios. Women travel solo all over the world these days and there is no reason why you shouldn’t too. Just use your head and follow our tips for a safe and enjoyable trip!