Best Tips For A Solo Female Travel
Travelling as a solo traveller for the first time can be quite daunting – stepping out into the unknown and not having the comfortability of people you know around you, puts many people off even attempting to travel alone.
These feelings can be significantly heightened if you’re a female solo traveller, especially as you’re often told that it’s unsafe to travel alone as you’re more vulnerable as a women. Even though, this can be true in many cases you shouldn’t feel like you can’t travel the world alone just because you’re a women. Instead we would like to share with you some useful tips to make you more knowledgeable on how to stay safe if you choose to travel solo.
Update Family and Friends
Always let someone know where you are going, when you expect to arrive, and where you are staying. When you arrive, confirm those details. If something should happen, at least one person knows where you are.
Before you leave home, try and set a sort of ‘time frame alert’ – aka – if you don’t see me post anything for 5 days straight, you know something is probably wrong.
If you’re not a social media fan (where your loved ones can see a trail of where you are and to let them know that you’re safe) then send pictures every now and again to your family and friends instead.
It also may be a good idea to email all proofs of your identity (passport, driving license and health card) to a friend and/or family member. If you lose your passport, it makes getting a new one much easier.
You’ll meet allot of people whilst travelling, so you may want to inform a friend or family member of names of the people you meet or talk to along the way.
Trust Your Instincts
Instincts, gut, spirit, inner voice – whatever you call it, TRUST IT!
Sometimes you can get your instincts wrong, but it’s there for a reason and in my opinion it is definitely not worth chancing. If someone approaches you and you feel uncomfortable, do not worry about coming across as being rude, and remove yourself from the situation until you feel comfortable with your environment.
Don’t be afraid to smile, you never know who might end up helping or guiding you in your times of need. There’s nothing wrong with offering your kindness and a smile, it can go a long way.
Confidence Is Key
The worst thing you can do for yourself both internally and externally as a solo female traveller, is to look worried or fearful. Even when you’re lost or in trouble, remain assertive and attentive at all times – no matter how tough it can be at challenging times. Just remember it will all be okay in the end – it just sometimes take a little longer or there are a few more hiccups than usual. This is all part of the challenge of a solo traveller.
Think, Act & Dress like a local
Research on your chosen destinations culture and dress code, it’s paramount that you respect how others live as you may dress and act in a certain way that can come across as disrespectful. For example, summer in the UK for some means sunbathing in a park with a bikini on, walking around in crop tops and shorts, in order to make the most of the sun to get the best tan. Whereas, if you were to dress like that in a different country such as Morocco (especially in the Ramadan period), you would be looked at in disgust. Even though allot of Moroccan locals dress very fashionably modern, in the hotter seasons they still wear jeans and long skirts/dresses.
If you really want to blend in, be sure to take a visual note of what others around you are wearing and follow suit.
Get to where you need to be before nightfall
When you’re travelling long term it is often difficult to keep track of time as each day, week, and month all blurs into one. But the golden rule for solo female travellers should be to always arrive at your destination before nightfall. That way you can ensure you A) know your surroundings B) can get emergency supplies before it gets dark and unsafe, and C) you aren’t walking the streets with all your luggage and an invisible ‘tourist target’ on your forehead.
Have A Backup Plan
There’s nothing wrong with having a backup plan A, B, C, D and E – planning ahead can help you get out of some real sticky situations. Opt for plan B when necessary.
Don’t Get Wasted When You’re Travelling Alone
Getting drunk and being unaware of your surroundings is not a good idea when travelling alone. This should be an obvious tip, but for some unfortunately and worryingly it’s not. By all means if you’re with a new group of friends or with a friend from home, then party away, but still be aware that this is not your home and you’ll need your wits about you, for that worst case scenario you find yourself alone and need to get back to wherever you’re staying.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings At All Times
When you travel solo, it’s important to remember that you are your only eyes and ears to ensure you and your belongings are safe. This can be quite difficult at times (i.e. taking your entire luggage to the bathroom with you), but it’s important not to take chances. When you are in public places, be sure to keep your bag towards the front of your body and zips done up at all times.
Fake It Until You Make It
There will be times where creepy men will try and speak to you and want to know how long you’re staying, where are you staying and are you alone?
Try your best to not show your concern with your facial expressions as well as your body language. Sometimes our body posture can give off what we are really feeling without saying anything. Learn to think fast and make up a story on the spot to get rid of creepy pest “I’m just visiting for the day with a few of my family members, there somewhere around here looking for me (laugh)” should do the trick!
Know That You Will Get Lonely
The solo travel blues are inevitable at some point in your journey, especially if you’re travelling long term. After a while you will learn to deal with your emotions and know what to do and how to cope when you’re feeling homesick, missing the company of another, or simply tired of your own thoughts. This is something you cannot be taught, but learn on your journey figuring out what suits YOU best.
Public city transportation is ripe for pickpockets. Never carry anything in your back pocket, and always be aware of your surroundings. It’s not just young men that pickpocket, either. Sometimes it’s a group of women who will kindly bump into you or cram around you on a bus.
On longer rides, if you would prefer to sit next to a woman on a bus or train, simply ask. In some cases, the clerks have passenger information and are happy to help you.
On buses to other cities, you could introduce yourself to the bus driver and tell him where you’re going. It seems a bit silly, but a lot of the bus drivers will call your name when you reach the destination, and some may even help you pull your backpack off first and sit it next to them so no one else grabs it.
Lastly, find out how much a cab will cost from the bus station. Always find this out from your hostel, then double check with the security guard inside the bus station where to find the best cabs so that when you walk outside, you’re confident on where to go and the price to ask.
Walking around in a fancy name brand bag is a sure way to catch a thief’s attention, nothing screams “come and get me!” more than a person with the latest clean clothes and designer gear. It’s best to travel around with tattered old bag that doesn’t scream ‘expensive things are inside’ which holds all your valuables (IPod, Phone, etc).
Never wear an IPod while walking around. Not only does it make you less aware of your surroundings, but it makes you a target for thieves who will either pick pocket you or just confront you with a weapon.
Carry small change in one pocket and larger bills tucked away somewhere else safe, but never flash big bills to anyone.
If you need to look at your map, never do it in a street. Pop into a store or restaurant—anywhere but on the corner.
When you arrive at your hostel or hotel, be as friendly as possible to the staff and the people at the desk. As stated before (Above – Smile) – smiling and offering kindness can get you a long way. Ask the front desk if they have a map and point out the bad areas, also ask if there are any common scams that you need to be aware of.
Write down the name of where you’re staying and keep it with you at all times. Hostels and hotels have such generic names that it’s easy to forget and get lost.
One Last Tip
Embrace this time in your life – don’t let your fear of venturing out alone prevent you from travelling solo, because being able to stand on your own two feet as an independent woman is JUST as important as other times in your life. Never compare yourself by what others around you are doing – settling down, starting a family, getting married. Those can wait. Take full advantage of this time in your life, it’s about you – and you will be a much more cultural diversified, stronger, more independent person because of it.