Browse: Home / Advice for single female travellers: 6 tips to independent travel for women
As I sit here in my hotel room, one week in to yet another awesome solo trip and going through all my messages, I realise that so many women are put off from booking a holiday alone because they are worried about their safety. Independent travel is one of the most liberating and enriching experiences you can ever have, I should know I’ve done enough of it! However I’m not naive enough to suggest that this way of travelling and the unfamiliar destinations are without risk, and particularly as women we need to be careful and ensure we minimise these risks to keep our holidays relaxing and fulfilling.
If you’re thinking of planning a trip, or you have family members or friends about to jet off on their own, it might be worth reminding them (or yourself) of the common sense points below:
1. Be informed
Research the destination before you go, learn about the people and culture, and familiarise yourself with the place – things are a lot more scary when they are unfamiliar. Increasing your understanding of the traditions, people and their expectations will ensure that you can be sensitive, not offend anyone or draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
2. Be aware
Keep your wits about you, pay attention to your surroundings and listen to your gut. It’s amazing how much our subconscious tells us, so don’t ignore the feeling if you feel nervous or uncomfortable in a certain place or around certain people. Take note of what’s going on around you, don’t be so absorbed in a phone, book or maps that you aren’t focussed on everything else.
3. Be sensible
Don’t go down deserted alleyways, poorly-lit streets or areas where less salubrious characters congregate, such as parks and quiet open spaces, at night – even if it is a short cut to your hotel. Keep your bag close to you at all times, and make sure it’s closed (ideally aim for a bag that zips or buttons well, with a strap that can slip over your body and not just be kept on a shoulder where it’s easy to grab). It may sound obvious, but don’t share your hotel name or room numbers with strangers, no matter why they tell you they need it.
4. Be anonymous
Don’t draw too much attention to yourself, whether that’s by being loud and obnoxious or by dressing at odds to what everyone else is wearing. Don’t flash expensive jewellery or possessions, and cover your hair/shoulders etc if necessary. When I travelled around India, I wasn’t required to cover my hair culturally but as a red head in a sea of dark hair, I found that I stood out. Try to blend in with locals when you’re travelling alone, particularly if you’re feeling vulnerable.
5. Be selective
By all means use social media to share the amazing experiences you’re having, keep in touch with family and friends back home, or help promote the fantastic places you visit, but don’t let your social sharing leave you exposed and vulnerable. Don’t check in to all the places you visit when you arrive and share publicly. Check any public social media accounts and turn off geo tagging, it’s better to selectively tag the locations you visit, or do it immediately after you’ve left – otherwise you allow anybody on the internet to follow your movements and track exactly where you are.
6. Be responsive
If situations change or you find yourself feeling uncomfortable at any time or place then get yourself out of the situation.
These may all sound like common sense, but even if they act as a reminder and encourage a couple more ladies to get out there into the big wide world, then it’s been a post worth writing! If you want some more specific tips, check out my single girl’s guide to travelling alone (it’s written about India but relates to anywhere in the world really), I’ve also seperately shared some tips on packing lists for single female travellers.