As more and more people are beginning to get back into traveling, it’s time to be refreshed on safety tips when traveling— especially if you’re a woman traveling alone. There are many countries that are deemed safe for solo female travelers (e.g., Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Namibia, Thailand), and there are also many countries that are considered to be dangerous for women traveling alone (e.g., Brazil, Iran, Russia, South Africa). However, it’s possible to have a safe and happy trip wherever you decide to go— especially if you follow these safety tips.
#1: Thoroughly Research Your Travel Destination
No matter where in the world you plan to travel, you should always research the country and the specific area you plan to visit. Most women already research areas to find out where the best restaurants and hangout spots are, but you should also research crime statistics for certain neighborhoods, the best way to get around, and local medical centers— just in case.
You should also be aware of any health concerns that are prevalent in that country and if you’re going to need any vaccinations before you go. This is also a good time to make sure that you have travel insurance to cover any medical emergencies, lost or stolen items, and other situations that can come up.
#2: Blend in With the Locals as Much as Possible
One way to become a target of any kind of crime in a foreign country (and even in another domestic city) is to look like a tourist. When people can look at you and determine that you’re not from that area, they are more likely to take advantage of you and/or commit a crime against you. When researching your chosen destination, pay attention to the way people dress and try to match the style as closely as possible. Examples of blending in include:
- Covering your cleavage, arms, and legs in Middle Eastern countries
- Dressing neater (i.e., no shorts and T-shirts) in European countries
- Wearing long pants in Latin America
- Wearing loose clothing in India
Also, never look around like you’re lost and always look as confident as possible. If you do get lost, don’t stand on the street looking at the map on your phone, but instead confidently walk into the nearest cafe or shop to do so discreetly.
#3: Only Travel With What You Need
This goes for walking around the city and on your trip in general. Leave all of your valuables at home, and only carry a small amount of cash with you when you go out everyday plus a backup credit card. Usually, the most valuable things you’ll have on you when you’re out and about are your smartphone and your wallet.
When it comes to the rest of your luggage, leave it in your hotel/lodging quarters. To guard your belongings even more carefully, you can purchase a portable safe to keep your passport, extra money, and other valuables in while you’re out exploring the town. Many portable safes can be securely attached to a bar or something else in the room to prevent a burglar from stealing it.
#4: Don’t Become Too Trusting
While the locals of many countries can be very helpful and friendly, it can sometimes be dangerous to start trusting them too soon. Many criminals know how to get travelers to let their guard down so that they can rob them easier. These tactics can also be used to sexually assault someone. And don’t be fooled by gender— women assault other women, men assault other men, and women assault men— it’s not always just men assaulting women.
You should also pay attention to the amount of alcohol you choose to drink, what you’re drinking, and you should never leave your drink unattended (even for a second) and come back to it later. Remember to only drink drinks served to you at restaurants or by a bartender, and not from a local or another stranger.
#5: Use Common Sense
The majority of women know the basics on how to be safe when traveling alone or in a group:
- You should never walk alone at night.
- Don’t give out any personal information to strangers.
- Avoid wearing flashy items (e.g., large jewelry, giant purses, etc.).
Trust your instincts: if something doesn’t feel safe, then it probably isn’t. Also, if you are a victim of a crime— wherever you are— it’s important to report it to the proper authorities, whether it’s a robbery or any type of sexual assault. When it comes to sexual assault, you should visit a medical facility and contact a lawyer like Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers in addition to reporting it to the police.
Although it’s possible for women to remain safe when traveling alone, it’s much safer to travel in a group. All of these same tips can apply to group travel as well.