Are you a nomadic lady? There comes a point in your travels where you realize you would travel alone.
Traveling with family is lame. Traveling with co-workers for work can get stressful. And traveling alongside friends could potentially damage friendships.
It’s just easier to travel alone, right? In some instances, yes. But women especially need to take safety precautions.
We’re currently in the #MeToo movement where women’s rights and feminist awareness is increasing. But the rest of the world hasn’t fully caught on yet. If you want to avoid some serious hazards, follow these 13 tips for traveling alone.
Before we start with this article, it’s necessary to add a disclaimer. We in no way support the victimization of women. Many of these tips apply to all genders, not just women. These are general travel tips to ensure safety.
Unfortunately, some countries are more dangerous than others. That’s we compiled this list of travel safety tips. Read on and remember these for your next solo trip.
1. Research Local Fashion and Dress Codes
You would be surprised how different dress codes are in different countries.
There are the stereotypical standards that state women should be covered up. Other countries are more lenient — but if you wear normal clothes, you may get dirty looks.
Some regions are prejudice against anything shiny and sparkly, tattoos and other body modifications, and certain styles such as goth and gangsta.
The beach is also included. You’ll be surprised what bathing suits are considered appropriate in other countries. Plenty of countries also support nudity!
Before you enter a country, research their local dress codes. You can also have fun with this research: look up fashion trends in these regions and do some shopping before your trip!
2. Don’t Get Drunk
We don’t want to perpetuate gender standards — men should also avoid getting drunk while traveling alone. Why? You’re in an unknown region, surrounded by people you don’t know and who may not speak your language.
What if your phone dies and the subway stops running? How will you find your way back to your hotel?
Unless you decide to have a few drinks at the hotel bar, avoid getting drunk altogether. While you may have a funny story when you get back home, passing out on a bench in the middle of a side street isn’t safe for anyone.
3. Don’t Tell Strangers Where You’re Staying
When you’re traveling alone, you’ll inevitably meet new friends. Whether you meet them at a park or the local bar, people in other territories are likely friendly.
You’ll probably want to hang out with them and know some locals. However, don’t inform them where you’re staying. They’re probably harmless, but you never know.
If they want to hang out while you’re in town, offer to meet up somewhere near your hotel — not actually at your hotel.
In addition, don’t accept rides from them or go to their house. This goes for everyone — not just women.
4. Tours Are Always an Option
Tours are always an option. Technically, you’re not traveling alone. But you’re surrounded by other travelers in a safe environment.
Tours offer specific activities and deadlines. But most tours include free days. You can roam and explore solo or even meet up with a few friends you met on the tour.
Is it too late to book a tour? Meet new friends on the airplane. You’ll be surprised how many other solo travelers will enjoy having the comfort of a travel buddy.
5. Stay Quiet Whenever Possible
Traveling alone can get lonely. It’s very easy to want to approach someone and say hi. But try to keep to yourself whenever possible, especially when traveling internationally.
Some cultures look down upon forwardness. It’s more respectful to keep to yourself unless you need to talk to someone.
They see forwardness as an annoyance. Also, you don’t know how many people speak your language — some think speaking in English or other non-native languages is rude.
Of course, not all cultures are like this. You’ll run into plenty of friendly people while traveling. Until you get to know the area and the people, it’s best to keep to yourself.
6. Listen to Your Gut
The most important thing you can do in every situation is to listen to your gut. This should be a tip all across the board, not just on solo travel. But more travelers rely on their gut when they’re in an unfamiliar location.
We don’t know much about a place until we’re there. While we’re learning about that location, our gut is our mentor. This includes cultural, navigational, and even entertaining and culinary aspects.
Here’s a tip: if something makes you feel nervous or uncomfortable, it’s best to just avoid it. It could be a restaurant or walking down a certain street.
7. Book Things in Advance
Having a schedule makes solo travel much easier. Some people are better when they fly by the seat of their pants. But if you’re new to solo travel, start by creating your own schedule.
This can include activities, tourist attractions, places to eat and drink, and anything else important to your travels.
While you’re booking everything, look up directions. Memorize street names and keep a notebook of your directions. This will help get to know the area better and prevents you from getting lost, in case your phone dies.
8. Carry a Doorstop
You have no idea how common hotel break-ins are. Well, maybe not as common as home break-ins. But there have been instances of hotel break-ins and theft.
Some major brand name hotels have extensive security measures. But if you saved on an Air BnB or a ma and pap hotel, their security isn’t that tight. For extra protection, bring a doorstop.
They’re simple to use — just place the doorstop under the door.
9. Wear a Whistle
Unfortunately, you can’t take your trusted pepper spray and switchblade on the airplane. While many countries don’t experience a fraction of the violence that occurs in America, you want to be better safe than sorry.
This is where a whistle comes in. If someone is being not-so-nice, just blow on the whistle. You’ll immediately attract the attention from onlookers.
Don’t worry, you won’t look stupid. Safety whistles are actually pretty common.
10. Be Street Smart
Did you grow up in the hood? Then traveling solo should be no problem. Street smarts will benefit you.
No matter your size or your gender, if you give off those “don’t mess with me” vibes, then no one will approach you. If you’re unsure what this means, walk around with your head high. Be aware, but don’t act nervous or scared.
The goal of street smarts is to be self-sufficient. Try to avoid asking for directions, unless you ask a tourist help guide. Don’t give anyone a reason to approach you.
11. Use Public Transportation
Most people rely on taxis, Ubers, and other ride-share platforms. Not only are these expensive, but you’re also in a vehicle alone with a stranger.
You’ll more than likely be fine; the people driving you are professionals and are doing a job. But there have been reports of taxi and Uber drivers misbehaving.
Opt for public transportation instead. Many cities, especially in Europe, have great public transportation.
Subways and trains can take you everywhere. They’re extremely affordable and the easiest way to get around.
12. Learn Their Language
While traveling abroad, you’ll more than likely meet people who speak English.
English is the world’s language. 1.5 million people speak English.
And you’ll also run into plenty of fluent English speakers overseas — students from Europe, Asia, and South America are required to learn English as early as five years old!
But it’s still courteous to speak in their language. And if you know enough of the language, you can catch people talking behind your back!
Do you want to learn a second language for travel, but aren’t sure what to choose? Spanish is the next most commonly spoken language, right next to English.
Spanish-speaking skills help if you’re traveling to countries in Central and South America and in Spain. Learn more here.
13. Avoid Hostels
Hostels are tempting. They’re cheap, usually in a great location, and they boast about meeting new travelers. While this seems exciting, remember this fact: you’re all sharing a room.
Fortunately, these rooms are separated by gender, so there are few risks of assaults.
But there’s no guarantee the women in your hostel are sweet and nice. You still need to worry about theft, property damage, and other crimes occurring.
There are options available that offer your own private room. You may have to share a bathroom, but this is a better option than sharing a room.
Remember These Tips for Traveling Alone
If you’re a seasoned traveler, you probably know traveling alone is often easier than traveling with family and friends. Before you go on your trip, remember these tips for traveling alone.
Be wary of trusting others, avoid certain accommodations such as hostels, and research the culture and the language. And remember: trust your gut in an unfamiliar place.
For more women’s advice, visit our blog.