Thousands of women, young and old, alone or in groups, travel each year. Some choose to travel close to home while there are others who seek adventure in faraway places. So much has been said about women who choose to travel by themselves or with their fellow females. Majority would dissuade their female friends from traveling alone for fear that harm might come to them.
As a woman who travels with my fellow female friends, I find it hard on the ears when I hear people say that women should never travel alone period, not buts no ifs. Although I have not traveled alone yet, I plan to do so in the very near future and I know a lot of women all over the world would like to do the same for their own reasons; be it for fulfilment, relaxation, or adventure. There is a vast world out there and women have all the reasons and rights to explore it for themselves.
Two of the biggest concerns for women who travel are theft and harassment. These things can happen to women everywhere, be it in first world countries or in developing nations. It is only natural for friends and family to worry about you if you are a female traveling solo or with other females. So, for a more pleasant and safe travel, I have here some tips which I have compiled. Some of them are from my personal experience and my female friends’ while others are from hundreds of travel articles which I have read.
1. Always use “street smarts”. When you travel alone, you have no one to depend on but yourself so you must be prepared at all times. Look like you know where you are going and are perfectly familiar with the place. Always carry a guidebook in your bag but do not make it obvious or else you will be easy prey for criminals. If you do get lost or if you need help, be careful about the people you approach. It is best to seek help from women or families.
If you need to consult your map or guidebook, go inside a restaurant. Remember to only get cash from the ATM during daytime on a busy street. Never withdraw cash during nighttime.
2. Understand the norms. Before flying to your destination, you should educate yourself about the country’s norms, dress code and culture. Read books, travel guides and blogs and if possible contact expats who live there. There are places which forbid women to show their hair, legs and shoulders. You have to adjust to the norms of your destination. This is one of the best things you can do to avoid harassment.
3. Stay sober. It is perfectly normal to want to unwind, relax and even party when on vacation. Who does not want to get away from all the stress and demands of work? However, you should set your limits. It is of utmost importance that you stay sober when you are in a strange place with few or no friends.
4. Get travel insurance. One of the biggest problems when traveling is traffic accidents resulting in bodily harm. Always carry travel insurance when you leave the country. Although you won’t use it most of the time, you will feel a lot better knowing that you do have it when you need to use it.
5. Spend money if you must. Not all travelers have a lot of money to spend. It is only natural to want to save money if you have a tight budget but spend money for your safety if you must. Take a cab if you are not sure where to go or when going back to your hotel during nighttime. This is surely a lot better than risking your life taking public transport if you think if it is not safe.
Do you have safety tips which you would like to share or add? Put them on the comments section.