As solo female travellers, we often receive safety warnings from friends, family and co-workers when we announce we're heading off on our next adventure. Of course, travelling to a new destination alone can be anxiety-inducing, but there's no reason you can't travel safely as a solo female. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or you're embarking on your maiden voyage, safety should always be a priority when exploring the world. We’ve collated a list of the top safety tips for solo female travellers to help you feel confident on your next adventure.
1. Trust your gut
The most important thing to remember when travelling is to use common sense. Many of these tips might be things you already know, or this might be your first time hearing them. Either way, your safety should be your priority when travelling, and if something doesn't feel right, trust your instinct.
2. Research your destination
Scammers and pickpockets often target tourists, so research your destination ahead of time and try not to stand out. Dress like a local, buy a local sim card with a data plan and blend in as much as possible. By standing out, you are announcing to everyone that you are unfamiliar with the area and are more likely to attract criminal attention. As an extra step, familiarise yourself with your destination as much as possible before your trip. Between choosing your accommodation and planning activities at your destination, research things or places to avoid, look up reviews for tour companies and find out what options you have for safe transport around the area. Although spontaneity can be one of the most thrilling elements of travel, putting your safety first and ensuring you are well-prepared is essential.
3. Plan ahead
Following the last tip, you can pre-book your tours, transfers, and activities at your destination as an easy way to stay safe. Where possible, book things like airport transfers and buses ahead of time, so you aren't left standing on the street looking for a taxi or a lift. If you'd like to keep your trip flexible, try to book transport and accommodation with a flexible cancellation or date change option, so it's not too stressful if your plans change.
4. Link up with other solo females!
There is safety in numbers! When staying at hostels, opt for a female-only dorm and link up with your dorm mates to explore the local area. You may even learn about fantastic places you hadn't initially considered visiting. There are also loads of great female-travel groups on Facebook where you could meet people to link up with for parts of your trip. Don't forget to be cautious when meeting people online; always let someone you trust know about your plans.
5. Share your itinerary
Following that, it's a great idea to share your itinerary with someone and check in with them regularly. Even if you're not much of a planner when travelling, let them know where approximately you plan to be and when. It can be helpful to send through your flight or bus itineraries and let them know when you've arrived safely at each destination. An easy way to keep track of your itinerary is to start with a rough document outlining your flights and intended dates to spend at your destination. You can add details like transfers, accommodation and activities as you book them. Having someone on the other end checking in with you will mean it's more likely that someone will notice and alert authorities if you don't reach a destination on time.
6. Hold onto your valuables
It almost goes without saying: keep your valuables on you, but out of sight! Avoid wearing flashy jewellery or flaunting your expensive camera in public spaces (unless you're taking photos, of course). It's a good idea to invest in a good quality daypack to store your passport, wallet and anything else of value on your person. Never store these items in your suitcase or general backpack, and never put them into a luggage hold on a bus or plane. These items should always stay close to you to reduce their risk of being lost or stolen.
7. Watch your drinks
Your mum's probably told you this from the moment you turned 18, but it's crucial to remember when travelling solo as a female. Remember, alcohol dulls your senses and can leave you vulnerable to people looking to take advantage of you. That's not to say you shouldn't head out to a bar and enjoy a few drinks on your travels, but remember to keep your wits about you. Don't accept drinks from strangers, don't allow anyone else to "watch" your drink and don't let your drinks out of your sight. Try to eat before drinking, moderate your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water between drinks. Most importantly, resist peer pressure and don't feel the need to "keep up" with everyone else.
8. Have a backup
In our world of ever-evolving technology, it's easier now than ever to keep digital copies of important documents like debit cards or travel and identity documents. Still, having a backup debit card stored safely somewhere in your luggage is a good idea. In addition, if your accommodation has a safe, keep your excess cards and cash there when you go out for the day.
We hope you're feeling excited about your next solo travel adventure! Do you have any tips for staying safe while travelling abroad? We’d love to hear them! Head over to our Instagram page to share.