5 Safety Tips for Women Travelling Alone
I love visiting new places and enjoying the views around, but if there is one thing that stops me from indulging in my desires, it is travelling. I hate travelling and there are a variety of reasons that I could list out to support my hatred. But that’s definitely not the focus of my post today.
As a woman, I am quite familiar with challenges involved in traveling alone. Well, there are quite a few struggles that women encounter while traveling, despite being accompanied by family or friends. In case you are a woman planning a vacation all alone, you must read through the tips in this post before you embark on your solo journey.
1) Get as Familiar as You Can
Nothing beats a surprise, but surprises could be pleasant or awful. It is better to avoid taking risks when you are planning a vacation to an unfamiliar place. Try to collect as much information about the country/ locality where you intend to travel to before you even make the choice. I suggest that you first look at a couple of choices before you finally select your destination.
Always make it a point to check the history, current political situation, weather updates, latest news and of course the recent tourist reviews of your chosen destination, before you make your travel bookings. Maybe a certain nation is on the top list of places you want to visit and it is quite a popular tourist destination as well.
But a sudden political situation might have developed rendering the place totally unsuitable for safe travel. Or it could even be a tsunami alert or a volcano eruption, a sudden outbreak of swine flu and so on.
2) Ensure That Your Destination is Women Friendly
Sometimes a certain country may pass all the assessment checks mentioned in tip # 1, but it still may not be suitable for you to travel there. There are so many nations in the world where local customs, religious laws and moral principles make the place unwelcome to women in general or to women traveling alone without any male company.
For example some Islamic nations following the Shariah may not permit women to travel alone without a male companion.
Also some countries are notorious for crimes against women travelers, especially those who are traveling all alone. If I were you I would avoid any place that has even the slightest cause for concern.
3) Be Travel Wise
There are some factors that are common to both men and women while travelling abroad or to an unfamiliar place. When you are a tourist and newly visiting a place, you have very limited information and resources about the locality / neighborhood. That automatically makes you vulnerable and dependent on the locals for everything from traveling around to shopping.
Keep your ears, eyes, your intellect and for women; your gut instinct open too. Follow the basic safety tips like booking hotel accommodation before landing at the destination, using only those taxis / transport systems and tour guides that have a legal permit. Avoid venturing off into far off or interior locations unless you are a part of a large travel group.
Take care of your valuables and avoid flaunting them while you are in a foreign country. You really do not want to spend your short stay in the new country in anything except enjoying the sights and experiences. Leave all your expensive jewelry back at home.
4) Don’t Trust Blindly
Be wary of people you meet in the new place and avoid putting your trust in new acquaintances whom you may have just met during the travel, at the hotel or while shopping around or eating at a restaurant. Do not take or heed advice or tips from anyone except an authorized guide or resource.
People may not be what they seem. Do not blindly trust anyone simply because they appear to be nice, or just because it is a woman (thinking a woman cannot harm a woman) or maybe because you saw them stay at your hotel or maybe because they belong to the same country that you come from.
Do not leave your food, drinks or snacks unattended even for a short while and avoid accepting any of them from strangers. Drug assisted rape is a high risk factor for women travelling alone. Sometimes the criminals mix these drugs with seemingly innocuous stuff like chewing gum or cigarettes. No matter how long or short your stay is, avoid forming any sort of friendships or relationships with locals or fellow tourists.
It does not hurt to carry a self-defense item like an electronic pocket whistle or a strong pepper spray; just in case.
5) Stay Safe
Hotels and accommodations should preferably be arranged beforehand by booking online and not after you land at the destination. This gives you ample opportunity to choose a safe and decent place by checking the details and reviews online. Always select a place that is quite close to the airport or to the points of interest.
While at the hotel, inspect the room for safety before you accept the keys. Make sure that the door has proper locks, there are no windows that may allow access to intruders and there are no other safety issues. Get a clear idea about the fire / emergency escape routes before you check in to the room.
When you are travelling to a new place, you are suddenly at high risk of being exposed to fraud, theft, crime and other problems. Being a woman only adds to the woes and you ought to deal with more issues like sexual assault, eve-teasing and so on. I suggest that you take a self-defense course to boost your confidence.