solo female travel safety tips

12 Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

As a solo female traveler, staying safe on the road is my number one priority. I know that for some the thought of traveling on your own can seem a little scary and intimidating. But in the end this anxiety or fear is due to the unknown.

Know what quells that kind of fear? Preparation and information.

It’s important to remember that things can happen no matter where you go, even in your home country. When traveling solo, you have to apply the same common sense and street smarts that you do where you live, but combine their application with a heightened awareness of what’s going on around you.

These 12 safety tips, based on my 10+ years experience as a solo female traveler, are meant to help you feel better equipped and confident in your own ability to travel on your own and navigate through some scenarios that solo female travelers experience.

12 Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

1. Never tell anyone that you are traveling alone.

Even if you are asked. It’s nobody’s business but your own. Instead say that you are traveling with friends and needed a break to do some solo exploring.

2. Never tell anyone where you are staying.

Again, this is nobody’s business.  I’m surprised at how many times I’ve been asked this by local men in my travels. Like I would tell them! Pay attention to hostel/hotel names that you see in passing (not close to where you are really staying), and have a name memorized so if anyone asks, just tell them you’re staying there.

3. Speaking of accommodation, research reviews before selecting yours.

I rely on booking.com  and Airbnb to book my accommodation. I use booking.com for shorter stays and Airbnb for apartments when I’m planning to chill out somewhere a little bit longer. (Get $40 off of your first booking with Airbnb by using this link!)

I like that I can fine tooth comb the reviews to read the good and bad about each place. It also pays to do some research beforehand on what areas of the town/city you are visiting are good to stay in and which are seedy and best avoided. Don’t always book based on the lowest price – again use those reviews – If something is really cheap, it may be because it’s not in a good area of town or really far from your target area.



Booking.com

4. Be aware of your surroundings and belongings at all times. 

Don’t leave yourself open to getting your stuff snatched. When having a coffee or eating out, do not hang your purse or backpack on the back of seats. Keep it on your lap. Always keep your belongings close to you, especially when you’re in transit mode – on the metro, bus, train, etc.

Travel with a smart, anti-theft cross-shoulder purse like this one by Lewis N. Clark. It’s slash-proof and has hidden security features like RFID protection.

If a street/place/anywhere you end up looks or feels suspect, leave. Usually you can tell when you’re in an unsavory neighborhood, but it’s not always easy to tell at first glance. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and turn around.

5. Act confident in the way you carry yourself.

Especially if you wandered into a seedy looking area. Keep your head up when you walk so you can pay attention to what’s going on around you and walk with a purpose, like you know exactly where you are going (even if you’re lost).

6. Don’t meet up with anyone (namely, guys) late in the evening.

I’ve been invited out by men many times for drinks, meals, even Starbucks, and it’s usually “after I get off work at midnight”. (Who wants to drink Starbucks at midnight?!) I always turn these offers down. It’s not safe to roam streets that late at night by yourself, or with someone you don’t know very well, so why chance it?

If you’re really feeling the guy, meet them during the day instead. If they really want to see you, they will make it happen.

If you do want to enjoy the nightlife, avoid getting too drunk. This leaves you open to becoming an easy target for criminals. Keep an eye (and your hands) on your drink at all times.

Remember, don’t be quick to trust anyone just because they are nice.  And always trust your gut.

7. Dress appropriately for where you are/where you are going.

Do some research into the culture of the place you are visiting and be careful not to offend the locals. In many places, shorts, tank tops and cleavage bearing shirts are not seen in a good light. It’s best to follow the culture’s rules as to not put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

As I’ve said before – I have tattoos. I can’t always cover each and every one of them. To me, it’s body art. But to others it’s seen as a destruction of your body or “dirty”.

Because of my tats, I’ve been called a whore on the streets of Sicily, been “tsk’ed” at in Turkey and even caused an elderly woman in Athens to invoke the sign of the cross as she passed me in the street!

While I chalk this stuff up to ignorance, if you’re going somewhere ultra-traditional, you may feel more comfortable (as did I) when you cover your tats up.

8. Buy travel insurance before your trip.

You never know when you may need it. I ended up getting a double eye infection on the island of Crete on the day I was leaving to head to Turkey. Trying to solve the problem myself, I ended up visiting multiple pharmacies in Turkey and getting frustrated trying to get them to understand what the problem was. I ended up going to a private hospital to an English speaking doctor who then finally gave me the right eye drops to fix it.

In these types of shituations, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have emergency coverage and 24/7 support if you need it. The best place to get travel insurance is through World Nomads. Not only will they hook you up with great coverage at a great price – you can even buy coverage while on the road.

Get a free quote here:

9. Learn a few local words and phrases.

Doing so will help out tremendously if you get stuck in any kind of bind. At least knowing the words for “help” and “do you speak English?” as well as proper greetings and how to say “thank you” come in handy.

10. Only use ATM machines attached to banks.

And use them inside the bank when the banks are open. Stand alone ATM machines can be sketchy and can have skimmers attached. Check out this article to learn more about what skimming equipment looks like.

11. Use Indie Chick’s pre-travel check list.

Did you sign up for my email list yet? In doing so, you’ll receive my free pre-travel checklist of 11 things you must do 2 weeks before going abroad. This list will ensure you have taken care of the most important pre-trip preparations before you leave home so you can enjoy your adventure without the worry!

And one of the most important tips I can impart ….

12. Never, ever, EVER leave your passport with hotel/hostel/b&b reception.

I learned the hard way that this was a major no-no when I found out my passport was given to another girl on the day I was supposed to fly home! Chaos ensued and it turned out being one of the worst days of my travel life and costing me about $500 in changed flights and a new passport for their “mistake”. Don’t let this happen to you. Make lots of copies at home and give this to them instead.

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In closing, this article is not meant to deter you from traveling alone nor is it meant to scare you. This is your trip and you want to have fun!

This information is meant to help you travel safely and to be more aware of things that you may take for granted in your home country.  And being better prepared will help you to relax and get the most out of your journey. After all, that’s why you are traveling in the first place : )

Remember, your personal safety is what matters most. Always put it first.

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This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links used in this post, I will receive a small commission (never at any additional cost to you). If you’d like to help support Indiechicktravels.com please use these links when making your purchase. Thank you 🙂

 

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