Without a doubt, travelling is one of the most enriching and invigorating things you can experience. More specifically, travelling alone can be one of the best decisions that you’ll ever make. You get to follow your own schedule, do only the things you want to do, and travel at a pace that makes you happy.
Unfortunately, travelling alone as a woman can often be daunting – and a bit frightening. However, by following these ten tips, female solo travellers can rest assured that they will have a wonderful – and safe! – time abroad.
1 Leave a copy of your itinerary at home
You don’t have to plan out your trip minute-by-minute – but at least make sure to leave an itinerary with your daily location (i.e. city or country) for a friend or family member back home. That way, there will be someone who knows where you are and has an idea of how to help you out if anything doesn’t go according to plan.
2 Email scans of important documents
Passports. Travel insurance. Drivers’ licenses. Work visas. These are all things that are pertinent to smooth travelling – as well as legally identifying who you are. Subsequently, losing important documents when travelling can put you in a very difficult predicament.
In order to avoid this situation, electronically send scans of your important documents to your email ahead of travelling. Emailing is much better than creating hard photocopies as you’ll always be able to access your email from pretty much anywhere!
3 Bring some portable type of defence
More likely than not, you won’t need to use a defence mechanism whilst travelling abroad – but once again, it’s always best to be prepared. Bring one that you can easily take with you while you travel such as sharp keyrings or a high-pitched whistle. For extra protection, you can also bring pepper spray with checked-through luggage.
4 Adhere to local dress codes
It’s always best to blend in than stand out whilst travelling abroad. Research your destinations’ typical civilian attire – and dress accordingly. By blending with the locals, the negative attention that can come with being an obvious tourist decreases dramatically.
5 Wear a wedding ring.
Although this is a tough one to swallow due to the murky sexism lying behind it, it’s undoubtedly much safer to wear a wedding ring than not when travelling alone abroad. Wearing one can help ward off unwanted attention from male foreigners – as well as deter you from general harassment.
6 Drink in moderation
You don’t have to go completely teetotal, but when you do drink abroad, be aware of your limits and never leave your drink unattended. You can still have a fun time whilst also keeping your safety as your main priority!
7 If you order room service at hotels, never reveal that you’re alone
You can trust that most hotels you travel to will be safe and secure – but as a preemptive measure, make sure that when you order room service you never give away that you’re staying alone. You can do this by only opening your door partway – or expressing excitement that your “travelling companion” will be back soon to eat as well.
8 Don’t sleep on public transport
Whether it be trains, planes, or automobiles, resist the temptation to get a good kip on foreign public transport and keep your wits about you. Although public transport is out in the open, you can still (unfortunately) be targeted by pickpockets or harassment. Just stay awake and hold tightly onto your belongings.
9 Don’t take all your cash with you
There’s absolutely no need to bring along all your money, credit cards, and important documents every time you go out for the day. Most hotels and hostels will have secure lockers in which you can safely split up your monetary possessions – allowing you to take some with you whilst leaving some behind.
10 Trust your instincts
If something or someone isn’t settling well with you, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the uncomfortable situation as best as you can. If that means something as trivial as taking a longer route to destination -- or something more serious -- it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
By Ciara Gaffney –Online Media Intern