Planning your first solo trip and worried about staying safe? In this article, I’m going to talk you through 3 Personal Safety Tips for a Solo Female Travelers to help you feel more confident when traveling.
The more you travel the more you realize the world is nothing like the nightmarish hellscape you see on the nightly evening news. On the whole, people are nice. Really nice. In fact, in my experience the poorer the country and the less widely English is spoken, the kinder, more generous and more welcoming the people are to travelers.
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That said, when you’re a single female traveler you do have to keep your wits about slightly more than if you’re a six foot six bearded yeti of a man. Alas, that’s just the way of the world. So what can you do to keep yourself safe when you are on the road as a lone woman wanderer? Read on below and I will let you in on a few words of wisdom that might help you snooze more soundly when on the road…
1. Always research your arrival
Ladies lets start off by making one thing perfectly clear. The chances of you getting kidnapped a few minutes after you arrive at your destination are almost zero. The plot of that terrible Liam Neeson movie Taken is frankly ridiculous. It honestly couldn’t be more xenophobic if it had been written by Donald Trump’s policy advisors.
Although, as a solo female traveler arriving at airports, bus and train stations, especially after dark is always a source of mild concern. I stress mild concern.
On the whole, these locations tend to be largely male domains. Alas, taxi driving seems to be a glass ceiling women still have to break through in many countries in the world. We can dream!
Always have at least an idea of how to get to your accommodation before you arrive. If you are taking a taxi be sensible. Don’t get into the shady looking one parked around the corner in the dark alleyway just because it is a dollar cheaper.
If you do have any concerns at all, just go book a cab through a desk in the arrivals hall. Or ask an official to help you. Seeing you associate with an officer in a uniform often has a tendency to deter creeps who may be lurking.
More and more countries, even countries you wouldn’t expect, now have services like Uber. Chances are they will have a different name so do your research in advance.
A little trick I like to employ is to make friends with a local on the train, bus, plane, during the journey and then leverage their friendship to help me find the quickest, safest way to get to my accommodation. Added bonus making friends is fun!
2. Don’t be afraid to lie about your relationship status
Girls, I know your mother told you never to lie but sometimes it can be very handy to spin a few yarns. This is especially true when traveling in countries with less than, let’s say, modern, attitudes toward female empowerment.
A single female traveling alone in some destinations is a strange sight for locals. Especially if you’re in a country where women lead a life largely behind closed doors.
Chances are if you are traveling through one of these locations you’re going to get a fair amount of attention and will probably be asked a variation of the following questions a lot: ”are you alone?”, “are you married?”, “where is your husband?” And so on.
Ninety percent of the time these queries are completely harmless and are asked out of pure curiosity. But every now and again you might bump into Sir Creepsalot. Judge the situation and don’t be afraid to straight out lie here. Free free to say you are about to meet your husband right now, that you’ve been married for years, even that you have a retinue of children waiting for you at home.
If you want to take this charade one step further, you could even decorate your ring finger with a little bling and waggle that in your unwanted Romeo’s face.
Dressing appropriately will also play a role in how you’re treated while traveling. Now, I don’t mean you should cover yourself from head to toe in black but be sensible. Have a look around, if you’re the only person in sight wearing a bikini string top and cutoffs, your holiday wardrobe may need a little tweaking.
3. Don’t be afraid to make a fuss
Catching local public transport is one of the joys of traveling. Nothing is more fun than being jammed onto a pimped-up jeepney in Manila or riding the rails in Sri Lanka with your feet dangling out the open door.
Unfortunately when you are jammed together in such close proximately some men have a tendency to get a little bit handsy.
What do you do when you see that hand approach? Make some noise woman! Don’t just keep quiet, get slap happy. The more fuss you make the quicker other passengers will come to your aid. And they will come to your aid.
There are pests in all cultures and countries. I’ve crept on more times on the subway in New York than I ever have traveled the world. The same rules stand. Make some noise. Make a fuss. Shame the creep into submission.
Now my fellow womb-bearers, please don’t let anything I have said above put you off having the adventures of your lifetimes. The world is a beautiful thing full of many weird and wonderful people and places. Go exploring but be safe!