Tips for women who want to safely travel alone
Courtesy of vlada karpovich
Travelling alone as a woman can be scary because of all of the safety precautions recommended to take, but it’s not as difficult as many make it out to be. It can be very intimidating at first and used to be an extremely controversial idea, but the world is ever-evolving. Women who travel solo around the world have built a growing community over the years and it has become beneficial to their personal growth. It has the power to help inspire women long term.
The nature of confidence is that it only comes after you take the risk, and solo travelling can build that for you. It can be frightening when thinking about the things you’ll have to do alone, but below you will find some tips and tricks to help you finally let go of the past and forge ahead to build your own memories out in the world.
So, why is solo travelling beneficial?
Doing what you want to do when you want to do it
Travelling with other people can sometimes be difficult. You’ll sometimes have to compromise your wants for their wants. Travelling solo allows you to do what you want. Meaning, you won’t have to plan every minute of the day with a solid plan. All your adventures will be what you want them to be.
It creates freedom and independence
If you’re feeling bored or stuck in life, planning a trip to spend time with yourself is a great way to figure out what the real issue that you’re facing is. You will feel more capable, free and stronger after spending this time alone. Travelling alone is an empowering experience where you’ll learn lessons, meet new people and find a new appreciation for the little things.
Despite solo travelling having such great benefits, you still may feel intimidated by the idea. So, what can you do prior to your travels to help create a positive experience?
If you’re new to solo travelling, start small. Travelling internationally can be scary for your first time, so you’ll want to try somewhere closer to home for your first experience. Perhaps choose a city or town near you that you’ve never been to and have a weekend getaway.
Researching the country or place that you’re visiting is very important. Before you start planning your accommodations and anything else you want to book in advance, you’ll want to research the culture of the country, the history of certain areas or even if there are any clothing regulations for women. Make sure to read reviews of the places you want to stay or visit, even for the country itself from other travellers. This will allow you to avoid some negative experiences that others have had.
Take self defence classes
This might seem silly, but it can help you in the long run. Taking a few classes before your flight will teach you the basics of defending yourself.
Another good tip is to carry travel-sized mosquito repellent or hairspray. Many countries are similar to Canada in that having pepper spray or a weapon on you is illegal even if the intention is self-defense. Having a small bug spray on you can help you get away quicker if there’s a bad situation.
Pack light. Keep in mind you’ll be carrying all your belongings on your own, so packing the lightest possible is key! It will be easier to walk around and jump into transportation without any oversized luggage following behind you. It is also more likely for you to lose something or leave something behind if you have a lot of stuff with you. Something like a backpack or a carry-on is your best bet.
Leave your expensive and flashy accessories at home
Try to wear casual clothing that doesn’t look flashy when walking around by yourself. You don’t want to gain interest from potential thieves or scam artists.
Get a daypack
Having a daypack is important so you won’t have to carry unwanted things with you. This can include a hidden pack, a fanny pack or an anti-theft bag.
Getting a personal alarm is also beneficial. They are small, compact and can easily fit inside your daypack for easy access. Another item is a portable door lock. If staying in a hotel room by yourself, make sure to check the entire room before you settle in, and for extra measure, place a portable lock in place so that no one can enter the room without your knowledge.
Consider carrying an expired card around with you. This way if you are forced to go to an ATM by thieves, the machine will either eject your card or eat it.
Courtesy of veerasak
If you’re not sure where to start with planning a solo trip, there are many social media groups around the world that women have created for solo travelling. They have many tips and tricks, places to go and places to avoid. Joining one of these groups can be helpful, especially if you want to meet up with someone during your travels.
If you don’t want to start roaming freely on your own, there are tours in almost every country that are exclusive to women, so that you can feel safe while also meeting other women that are travelling alone.
Staying in hostels is your best bet if you want to meet people and be social. You can request a female-only room. Don’t skip out on the lockers or safes located in the rooms! It might be a good idea to lock up your valuables inside, like your passport, in case you get pickpocketed during the day. Make sure you memorize the address of where you’re staying so you know how to get there.
This tip isn’t for your daily planning but more so for everything else. Make sure you have all the required documents you need, keeping an extra copy of your passport can be helpful. Always be prepared mentally for things that might go wrong. Whether in a group or alone, travelling doesn’t always go to plan, so make sure you’re prepared if you get lost, robbed or anything in between.
Give yourself time to adjust
Travelling is extremely exhausting, especially if you’re going somewhere in a different time zone. For solo travelling, it is important that you’re alert at all times. This means getting enough sleep, especially on your first day or night at your new location, so try not to schedule too much during that time.
Don’t be cheap
Budgeting during your travels is totally doable, but not at the expense of your well-being!
Invest in an international phone plan, and always use Uber or another trusted form of transportation. For the most protection, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance!
Things like knowing your limits when drinking, not jumping into deep waters if you are not a strong swimmer, and not oversharing details to strangers around where you’re staying or that you’re alone can all be lifesavers.
Social media is another way to stay alert. Try not to tag any locations of somewhere you’re currently at, instead wait until that moment has passed. Remember you don’t owe anyone anything! Trust your gut and make sure you’re feeling comfortable in every situation.
Don’t let your phone distract you! This goes for safety measures, but also travelling. You’ll want to appreciate and experience the things around you, your phone can wait! Walking around can also sometimes feel awkward without music, but this cuts your sound to potential danger and to exciting things happening around you.
Make sure your phone is fully juiced up before going anywhere. Having someone to check in with back home with your general plan for the day is also helpful.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people and meet locals
Just because you’re travelling alone and don’t want to overshare any details, doesn’t mean you should be afraid to learn from people. Locals have knowledge of their countries and can share some things with you. If you’re looking for people to meet up with, you can always try apps like Bumble BFF where there are other women looking to meet up. But always be cautious!
Wear a wedding ring
I know it sounds silly, and it’s ridiculous that as women we need to do this, but it works. Buy a cheap ring that can pass as a wedding band, nothing flashy. This can help ward off any unwanted attention from men.
Courtesy of sandy millar
As women, it can be scary to walk around a new area at night. Try to avoid walking in secluded places when it’s dark. Don’t wear any valuables, try to only carry exact cash or one card with you. If you’re passing something you don’t feel 100 per cent safe with, you can always take out your phone and pretend you’re talking to someone.
Know some of the local languages. It doesn’t have to be full sentences, but knowing how to say ‘yes’, ‘no,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘help’ can be helpful.
Have a blast
Most importantly, have fun. This is a new experience for you, this is a time to learn about yourself and teach yourself new things. You should appreciate everything that happens. Don’t let the small things ruin your travels.