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Traveling alone as a woman: what you need to know to travel safely
Have you decided being a woman shouldn’t prevent you from exploring the globe on your own? You’re right, but before you jump headlong into long term solo travel, make sure you think about the precautions that you will need to take. Though an increasing number of women travel abroad alone, they also tend to be exposed to greater risks. Traveling alone safely as a woman is mostly about observing a few common-sense rules.
Before you leave
The more you prepare your trip, the better you will be prepared to face unexpected situations.
The basics: learn about the habits and customs of the countries you plan to discover
What religions are practiced? How stable is the political situation? What about women’s rights? Don’t consider leaving without having spent some time learning about the culture of the countries you intend to visit. This will allow you to avoid awkward situations such as going out wearing a sleeveless top in a country where women never do so or entering a bar or café in a part of the world where only men occupy these public spaces.
Do you expect to sometimes have to cope with poor sanitary conditions? Anticipate!
Tropical climate, poverty, limited access to medicine, no water or electricity... In some countries, hygiene conditions are not always satisfactory and staying healthy might be a little tricky. So remember to bring your current medications, insecticides, sanitary pads, wipes... Of course, you will also need to purchase an international insurance solution to be fully protected in case of illness or accident.
Prepare your luggage carefully and above all, pack light!
Imagine yourself trying to drag a huge suitcase through the crowded streets of Bombay... To be able to move around easily, limiting the amount of luggage you take with you is essential, especially if you are backpacking. Also, avoid bringing too many valuables or heavy items.
Solo woman traveler do’s & don’ts
- Try to blend into the local population by dressing and behaving similarly.
- In the countries you will visit, get to know other women, if possible. This is a good way to make fitting into a new country easier and learn more about its customs.
- Choose your accommodation carefully: though you may select different types of accommodation (hotels, hostels, couchsurfing...), you might need to take specific precautions. These might include, for example, checking that the door to your room can be locked, preferring women-only dormitories in hostels or choosing only women or couple hosts when couchsurfing
- Do not attract unwanted attention: look and act confident. In some countries, avoid making eye contact with men and make sure to keep a certain physical distance. Some women even choose to wear a fake wedding ring
- As a general rule, when you go out at night, it is better to avoid isolated areas. And when in bars, be sure you keep an eye on your glass.
- Prefer traveling by day and choose a seat next to a woman.
By observing these rules, it is likely that you will find solo travel especially rewarding!