As a solo female traveler I cant begin to count how many times people have warned me that I shouldn’t be traveling on my own, worried for me, tried to guilt me out of going because of how much my family back home would worry, and overall just tried to stop me. No way did I listen to that. Traveling can be dangerous… as can riding a bike, driving a car, or going to the grocery store for men and women alike anywhere in the world. The world is a dangerous place but it’s also full of kind and helpful strangers. Anything can happen anywhere and this should never stop a woman from traveling on her own!
That’s not to say we shouldn’t be smart about it. There’s no reason to take unnecessary risks and it’s always important to use common sense to stay as safe as possible. Read on to see some of my top tips for staying safe on the road.
1. Research, research, research!
It’s so important, and fun, to research your destinations before you get there. As you’re looking up the best places to eat, sights to see, monuments to stand in awe at, you should be looking up what neighborhoods to avoid, how to pick out a safe taxi and where a good medical center is. When picking out accommodation there are tons of sites nowadays to read reviews from other travelers like yourself to make sure you’re staying somewhere that you will feel happy and safe. The more you read, the better off you’ll be.
2. While on the move, keep valuable close
Realistically, you should be bringing as few valuables as possible but certain things such as a passport are unavoidable. Your passport, camera, phone, wallet, laptop and any other items such as this should be kept in a purse or day bag which you keep with you at all times. These items should never be in your checked luggage on a plane, placed in the luggage storage on a bus or out of your sight in general.
3. Take as little as possible
When you’re walking around the city there’s no reason to bring your entire wallet with you. It’s better to only carry as much as you need and leave the rest locked up at your hostel. Some may have safes but many also have lockers that you can use. Usually you need your own lock, so bring one along!
4. Don’t be too trusting
Unfortunately, there are con artists out there who make it a point to befriend travelers and you must be wary of them. It’s great to make friends and most people out there are genuine, but never put yourself in a vulnerable situation. You should always know where you are and how to get home, avoid isolated areas and never leave your valuables with a new friend at the bar while you run to the bathroom.
5. Stay sober(ish)
It’s great to drink while out exploring a new place but you should never drink so much that you lose control or are unable to keep your wits about you.
6. Blend right in
Normally, great to stand out if you like. But on the road that just makes you a target and there’s no need to do that. Dress as the locals do and make sure that if you’re looking up directions you don’t do so obviously or in a crowded area.
7. Don’t be too cheap
We all want to save money while traveling so that we can see and do as much as possible. But when it comes to the cheap hotel in the scary neighborhood or the slightly more expensive one in a safe area, spend the money.
8. Copies of everything
Things can get stolen unfortunately, it happens. That’s why you should be smart and keep extra copies of important documents like your passport in different places as well as with a friend or family member back home. Following these tips and you’ll be sure to stay as safe as possible. The safer you are the better so you only come home with memories of good times!