Is it safe for women to travel the world without a companion? Definitely Yes. If you want to travel solo but stay away from resort traps, or you dream of visiting and third world country that is on your bucket list, there is still the possibility of traveling and staying safe. You may be wondering how difficult it will be if you do not speak the local language. Here are some safety travel tips for women and how you should make safety your top priority.
This site is intended for women who want to travel solo and see the world in style. It will cover a vast range of possibilities but it is not a back packing solution. I have traveled the world ten times over in the past thirty years, creating my niche business as I went along. I did not always have much money, but I never roughed it out. Today, I receive plenty of emails from women who finally have the time to travel and realize their dreams, but usually do not find a companion to share their goals. Today there are plenty of very smart women who reach out to sites like this to do their research and get their confidence. Plenty have left comments and shared their fun. The female flying solo community is thriving and they survive to tell many stories.
However, for most, the top priority was and should always be safe – the safety travel tips for women were always well studied.
Safety Travel Tips for Women
Voltaire once said “Common Sense Is Not So Common” – but the one of the most important safety travel tips for women is exactly that Common Sense.
I have to admit that whenever I blundered it was because I did not use my common sense and use these simple safety tips.
I stood at an airport in Guangzhou for more than 5 hours sweating buckets on my very first trip to China. It was because no taxi driver could understand the English written Version of The White Swan Hotel. This was the time before Google Translate was at the touch of a button. In China most Chinese cannot read English – just like most of us English people women cannot read Chinese. Common sense!
In Bangkok, I got my purse stolen when I was happily street gazing on a Tuk Tuk. A biker passed and just snatched it. But because I always split my cash and cards in two purses. And I always make sure that I leave one of them in the hotel safe along with my PASSPORT.
Before Traveling To Proper Research
This is the first and most important of safety travel tips for women or men for that matter. Research about your destination actually adds anticipation and makes you feel like your holiday starts early. Always check for any warnings about the country you are traveling in. Example if you are traveling to Vietnam, check whether you need to take Malaria tablets (highly recommended). Or if you are traveling to India, there is a list of inoculations you must take prior to arriving. Be informed before you travel.
Check whether you need a visa for your destination – especially if you are booking yourself online. A travel agent may point it out but you may not read the fine print.
Make sure that your passport has sufficient validity time prior to expiry. I got refused entry to Bali on my first intended trip because my passport expired within five months and in fact, you need six months clear validity.
Make sure that your passport has several clear pages. Visas in Asia and other African and South American countries will use an entire page for a visa stamp. This is especially valid if you are planning more than one destination.
Check How Others Rate Your Lodging
Before making a reservation for your hotel or lodging make sure that you read multiple reviews about it. Check how others are rating the safety of your intended lodging. This is one of the more important safety travel tips for women and it is an important part of your due diligence. Check whether there are complaints that are consistent – not an odd mishap.
Once you have decided where you are going to stay, next check how you will get from your lodging to anywhere else. Is your hotel in the centre? Or is it in the outskirts? Will not need to consistently call taxis – which can break your budget – to get from A to B? Or is your lodging close to a central or bus station which has easy access to everywhere else?
Research, research, research in advance so you avoid disappointment.
Check The Weather and The Season
Again it seems to be a common-sense tip which is not so common. For example, the first time that I went to Hong Kong, it was Monsoon Season. I had never come across that kind of weather in Europe in my entire life. It was horrific and it meant that I spent half my time indoors. So check the seasons if you are traveling to a different continent.
Although never quite precise check out the weather forecast a few days before your travel time. You may need to prepare well for it.
If you are planning on an adventure holiday and sports, this is especially important. Also, check what are the risks of taking this sport and whether there are stories of travelers who were injured. Consult with your insurance provider whether your travel insurance covers you for any particular sport. Failing to prepare is a great way of exposing yourself to danger.
Invest in a good travel pouch – Keep Your Cash, Valuables and Travel Documents Safe When in Transit
Travel without much jewelry. Some countries more than others are risky and you will be more vulnerable as a female flying solo. Don’t shine too bright and expose yourself to risk or become easy prey! Therefore, travel without stuff that you would regret losing.
I find that when I am in transit a front pouch which is strapped round my waist is the safest option. True I end up looking like a Kangaroo – however it is better to be safe than sorry. It is money worth spending and it will give you peace of mind.
Today smartphones are super sophisticated and thank heavens for that. Your phone replaces your camera, your maps and even your credit cards – because you can carry them virtually. Therefore your phone is probably your most valuable asset. Make sure that you keep that super safe. Take time to do a proper backup on a cloud before traveling – so that just in case it gets nicked you can easily re-active a new phone with your previous information. This is one of my top priority safety travel tips for women.
Make a shortlist of what you absolutely cannot afford to lose and make sure that you put it in your kangaroo pouch. The rest can go into your general luggage.
Split Your Cash and Your Cards Once You Arrive at Your Destination
I have already referred to this earlier in my post. Once you have safe lodging split your cash and your cards. To not carry more than you need in cash when you are out. Keep the bulk of your cash as well as your passport in a safe but do carry alternative identification with you. You never know what circumstances you will encounter that may necessitate it.
If your room does not have a lockable safe – ask the reception for a locked security box and keep the key.
Make sure you have a second card or better still a virtual card. Revolut provides this possibility in most countries and it even has an App on your phone where you can transfer money to any other account holder via the App and without needing to carry a physical card.
Integrate Socially but Watch Out for Con Artists
If you are a female flying solo, it is likely that you will want to integrate and make new friends. This is normal and healthy, however, one of the more important safety travel tips for women is not to trust too fast. This is especially so for romance.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as holiday romance but be safe and protect yourself and try to invite to your place rather than go to an unknown home. Stick to hotels rather than private places and do not be worried to say no if you are not comfortable. Better safe than sorry.
If and when someone earns your trust you can gradually explore new possibilities. ????
And stay safe with your Vino! Alcohol is a great relaxer and it makes us feel comfortable and shaves off the hard edges. However, alcohol does slow your senses and makes you more vulnerable.
As regards alcohol I have a few safety travel tips for women which make the experience all-round better.
a. Put lots of ice in your drink. It makes it looks taller and bigger and lasts much longer.
b. Pace it and you will be integrating socially because you are holding the glass but not necessarily taking in a lot of alcohol volume.
c. Remember that alcohol is fattening and you may not want that
d. This is a very serious warning – Make sure you trust the person or the place getting you your drink. Example there have been cases of deaths in Bali and Lombok because the bars use alcohol that is not properly distilled like cheap Arak. Alcohol that is not properly distilled can make you go blind fast – even with single-use.
e. Know when you to draw your line and finish your last drink. If you feel that you are losing control – it is time to quit.
f. Don’t try to keep up with the Boys – a man’s body has a higher threshold of alcohol than women. Therefore, even though you know that you are probably ten times smarter, do not try to keep up with their drinking.
The conclusion for this is to drink smart. Cheers
To Not Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb
We, women, are special, but looking like a typical tourist will not help you in your solo travels. This is one of the more important safety travel tips for women. To not attract unnecessary attention and increase your vulnerability. To some research on dress codes in the country which you are visiting. For example, wearing a cropped top and micro shorts that exposes the best part of your cheeks will not earn you any brownie points in Abu Dhabi. It may very well get you arrested.
Similarly strolling the street in Rome and London is a special affair and you do need to be properly attired if you are hoping to pass for one of the locals, rather than a regular tourist.
Whereas, wearing shabby chic and tongs are fine in beach resorts and probably alright in most places in America and Australia, it may be frowned upon in other cities. So back to the beginning, do your due diligence properly. Take time to research the country that you will be traveling in and conform.
Conformity sounds harsh. However, sticking out like a sore thumb sounds worse. To not make yourself even more vulnerable than you already are as a solo traveler.
Have confidence in your appearance and it will give you more confidence as a solo traveler.
Finally, walk with a purpose. Pre-plan your destination and walk with a stride that shows that you own the place.
Buy a Local Sim Card at the Arrivals Hall
One other great way of staying safe is to always know you can trust Google! As soon as you arrive at any destination that is not within your mobile reach there are two very important things you MUST DO!
A. Switch off your Roaming. I mean switch off your roaming at the departure lounge in your country. I have once had to take instalments to pay my phone bill because my roaming was on. Your apps are all working in the background, and if you have an open account with your service provider, they are rubbing their hands in glee! Trust me this is important.
B. Buy a local Sim Card at the Arrivals Hall at the Airport.
Today all airports have booths where you can buy local Sim Cards. Remember to take a pin with you if you are using a modern iPhone in order to be able to push the sim card out and back in. And once you remove your regular sim card – treat it as another valuable and keep it safe. Take out a cheap bundle which will allow you to use Google Maps and FourSquare Etc., and stay safe and informed.
Take out a Good Travel Insurance
I cannot re-iterate enough on the importance of traveling with a good insurance cover. It sounds obvious but this is certainly one of the most important safety travel tips for women. Make sure that your insurance covers the area that you are traveling in – and that it will have ample cover to any hospitalization you may need in case of sudden health failure or accident.
It may look like an extra expense but this is your next best investment after your flight ticket and accommodation. Getting travel insurance is an absolute MUST.
Think of all that can go wrong and sometimes it does from the outset!
a. You can lose your luggage and need to replace your belongings.
b. You get mugged and you lose your cash and belongings (but that is OK cause you will have the rest stashed in a safe) but you could be bruised or worse beaten up. You need to get yourself covered.
c. You may have an accident. Accidents happen and easily. This image is from last week in Bali with one of my friends she broke her chin whilst cycling in the rice fields. It looked like an innocent fall. But when the swelling was intolerable, and we headed to hospital – the poor woman underwent a three-hour operation to restructure her chin. As a tourist in Bali, I do not wish to disclose the cost of this – but it is more than most would be making in the next couple of months.
Bottom line – if you cannot afford the insurance premium – delay your travels until you can.
Safety Travel Tips for Women – My Bottom Line
No Man is an Island. Other than all the advice I have given, there is one last valuable piece of advice. Even if you are already a seasoned traveler you should always check in regularly with your friends and family.
Staying in touch is a great way to ease off loneliness when it hits you but more importantly it will put minds at rest to the persons you care for most and who care back for you. Finally, if you need help they can easily pull all the plugs if they know where you are.