These days, more and more young women are embracing solo travel. Setting out on a journey alone is a life-changing experience for many. Spending time by yourself in a place that inspires you allows you to become more independent, reflect on your life, and even help you find yourself.
As incredible as it may be to venture on your own to a new destination, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some of the best safety tips recommended by women who are seasoned solo travelers.
Regular Check Ins
A good policy is to check in regularly with a friend or family member back home. You can purchase an international phone plan or you can just use Skype or WhatsApp. Set a time frame with your loved ones so they know when to expect to hear from you.
You can also regularly update your social media to keep your friends and followers posted on your adventures, upload trip photos, and share your thoughts on your travel experiences. Talking and sharing your adventures with others back home will allow you to feel connected during times you feel lonely and help to bridge the distance.
Back Up Your Itinerary
You can never have too many copies of your itinerary, important phone numbers and your passport. Scan your passport and itinerary and email an electronic version to your parents, friends and yourself, and carry hard copies of these and important phone numbers and addresses in your backpack or purse. Always have the address and phone number of your hotel on hand in case you get lost and need to call a cab or an Uber.
Know Your Destination
Make sure to do your research on the area you will be visiting well in advance. Check out well-respected travel guides such as Lonely Planet, and go on Trip Advisor to get feedback and read reviews from others who have been there. And very soon you will be able to find more personal recommendations through the BreadcrumbsHQ app.
Find out what accommodations are recommended for solo travelers and learn as much as you can about the surrounding neighborhood. If you are traveling abroad, educate yourself on the political situation in the countries you will be visiting and consult the US State Department website to be up to date on any travel advisories in the region.
Avoid Traveling at Night
It is generally recommended that women journeying alone should avoid nighttime travel. It is best to skip the night trains and buses and to plan to reach your destinations before nightfall.
If you do arrive at the airport after dark, take a cab from the airport directly to your hotel. It is a good idea to have extra cash on hand when you are out and about so you can take a cab if you get lost or are out later than you expected.
Pack Your Safety Whistle
It is good to have a way to defend yourself or alert others in case of emergencies. Having a safety whistle or a self-defense cat key chain in an easy-to-reach location are good precautions. Since pepper spray is considered a weapon in many places, mosquito spray or hairspray can be kept on hand as an alternative.
When traveling alone, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t let anyone know that you are on your own. Dress on the conservative side, and do your best to blend in with the crowd. Travel smart, and you can reduce your chances of needing to use your safety whistle.
Connect With Others
One of the great things about traveling is the opportunity to connect with new and interesting people from different walks of life. It is a great idea to strike up conversations with female employees at your hotel or hostel, or a local coffee shop or Internet cafe.
You can ask them for recommendations to restaurants or venues for single women, and can learn more about their experiences living in the place you are visiting. There are also a variety of ways to connect with other female travelers online, through sites like Wanderful, Pink Pangea and Travelettes.
As a solo female traveler, be sure to conduct careful research and take steps to ensure your personal safety. These include backing up your itinerary and passport, checking in with your loved ones and making sure you book accommodations in a safe neighborhood. A little extra planning goes a long way, and trusting your instincts and erring on the side of caution are extremely important.
By taking some extra precautions, you will be looking out for your safety while you travel the world and embark on your journey of self-discovery.