Last updated on October 12th, 2016
Whether fearless or apprehensive about travelling alone, all women should consider the safety of their next solo vacation. To avoid any mishaps, follow some of these safety tips for women travelling alone:
1. Call Ahead – Double-check prices, currency accepted, and hours of operation for everything in your travel itinerary from hotels to transportation to tourist attractions. With proper planning you can avoid frequent trips to the bank or ATM or waiting alone for prolonged periods of time at bus stops or hotel lobbies.
2. Make Direct Eye Contact – Confidence exuded by direct eye contact subtly shows the other person you are unafraid and in charge of your destiny. Practice looking others in the eyes at restaurants, when asking for directions, or when approached by a stranger in the park.
3. Wear Simple, Modest Clothing – In today’s time of self-expression and individuality, it may be hard to imagine restricting your wardrobe. However, avoiding flashy colors and jewelry will help you blend in with the locals as opposed to attracting pick-pockets or scam-artists. Modesty is also helpful in countries where sexual assault is common. Although certainly your clothing does not warrant any unwanted actions by men, it can help you evade their attentions.
4. Don’t Identify As Being Alone – When asked about your travel plans by recent acquaintances, avoid giving tips that suggest you are alone. Instead say things like “I’m meeting a friend soon” or use pronouns like “We” instead of “I” to describe your needs or plans.
5. Don’t Go to Private Events Alone – Unfortunately one downside to travelling alone is that there is no trusted friend to watch your back. It’s best to decline invitations to parties and events held in private residences. Better to attend public festivals like music shows and holiday gatherings at the park.
6. Research Your Destination – Your country’s embassy should be able to offer some suggestions of the best and worst parts of your tour, but also do your own research online through blogs of individuals who have visited the place or general travel tips given by government agencies.
7. Take Care of Your Health – If you get sick or injured, the drugs used in your care may cause you to lose coherence or the ability to reason well. Taking care of your personal health by bringing any needed prescription medicines (with a written doctor reference), eating at well-established restaurants, and practicing good hygiene can go a long way in avoiding a trip to a doctor in a foreign country. Also, take extra precaution with sports activities — notice when you become tired and make a decision to get rest instead of continuing in that exercise. Most sports injuries occur when mental or physical exhaustion is present.
8. Don’t Get Drunk – You are more likely to have a lapse of judgment when overly intoxicated with alcohol. Visiting bars while travelling is ok, but just don’t overdo it. Also, always stay with your drink to protect it from anyone adding a date-rape drug.
This list in not exhaustive, but provides some guidance in safety for women travelling alone. Use common sense and trust your instinct when something feels wrong. Planning ahead and putting these practices to memory will go a long way in helping you stay safe during your independent travels.
By Isabelle Zammit