There are amazing amounts of women travelers exploring our world. This comes as no surprise to us Dame Travelers. We’re ready to see it all, savor it all, explore and learn and grow with each new destination we travel to. Being the bold, adventurous women we are… we know that being prepared, educated and safe are the three main cornerstones of our days exploring. There are so many safety tips for female travelers, specifically, out there. However, these are our favorite, simplest of simple tricks for avoiding unsafe situations and being prepared for whatever comes your way!
Before You Go
- Stay at hotels, Airbnbs and hostels with LOTS of reviews. This seems obvious, but don’t let your budget dictate your safety. Always read through the reviews of Airbnb hosts, hotel guests and see what other female travelers have shared from their experience.
- If possible, stay with female hosts! Look into verified hosts who not only have sparkling reviews, but also are women.
- Visit a travel clinic before departing. Finding out about the vaccinations or prescriptions you should prepare for is one excellent way to resist sickness or illness while abroad.
- Research common scams in your destination. A simple Google search will bring up lots of circumstances from past visitors. Do your research and be tuned into what to watch out for!
- Take pictures of all your documents and put them on Dropbox. We love Dropbox because it is a two-step verification locked system that can be accessed anywhere there is Internet. In case, god forbid, that you lose your passport, ID or itinerary information… you’ll always have a digital back up!
- Have hard copies of your itinerary and important phone numbers with you at all times. Identification is fine, but having an address and emergency contact list is one excellent way to be safe.
- In some places, it helps to wear a fake wedding ring. Spend a dollar at Forever21 and avoid the conflict. This is one of the safety tips for female travelers we wish weren’t an actual reality!
- Always communicate your itinerary with someone at home. In fact, print them out an itinerary to have on hand. Having a hard copy of your flight numbers, lodging and the names of who you’ll be staying with or visiting keeps everyone on the same page.
- Register your trip with the U.S. Department of State.
Once You’re There
- Schedule a regular check-in with someone back home. Whether it’s a daily text to share what you’re up to or a FaceTime date with a consistent figure in your life, having a regular time to communicate is a great safety tip for female travelers.
- Pack light and inconspicuously. This seems obvious, but don’t bring attention to yourself with your Louis Vuitton luggage and bedazzled gold bag. Doing this only draws attention to you in a negative way.
- Research public transportation in your location. Research into your destination’s public transportation. Is it reliable? What are the hours they operate? Will you need to rely on Ubers or taxis? Being informed before you go allows you to budget for transportation costs but also gives you peace mind.
- Pack an external phone charger. The simplest of our safety tips for female travelers. It today’s day and age, losing power to your phone is pretty much taking you off the radar. As nice as that may sound, it also heightens your risk. Don’t forget to bring an extra or external phone charger that you can slip into your purse!
- Grab the business card or ask front desk/concierge to write down the name, address, and phone number of your accommodation in their language. Especially if you’re in a location that speaks and writes in a different language. I’ll never forget having to attempt at translating the WRONG address to a Japanese cab driver. Most of the time, the business cards hotels have are written in both English and the native language. If you’re staying with a host, ask them to do the same just in case!
- Befriend female hotel/hostel employees.
- Don’t keep all your money in one place. If you’re bringing a purse to carry around in the day time, place your money scattered throughout it (in your wallet, in your side pocket, inside a tampon applicator). Even bringing a concealable wallet that can go on your body ensures that if you are pick-pocketed, not all will go to waste.
- If you’re listening to music, don’t wear both headphones. Many people use headphones as a signal that they would rather not be interrupted, but others may see this as any easy distraction to take advantage of.
- Always go in a train car that has other people in it. New Yorkers know this tip very well.
- Learn a few key phrases in the local language… including “hello” and “thank you,” but also “STOP” and “help”.
- Make a real (or fake) phone call to say “yep, I’m in a cab… I’ll be there in five minutes.” Make it very clear to your driver that you are expected to be seen by another person.
- Walk relatively close to a couple or a family after dark. There’s safety in numbers. So if you’re feeling unsafe, buddy up with a group of other people. You don’t have to be walking in tandem with them, but walk a close distance.
- Don’t hire a taxi off the street at night if you can. Some circumstances are unavoidable, and depending on your location, this might not be an option. But if you can, prearrange pick ups and drop offs!
- Fill up your gas tank when it’s half full. Avoid riding on “empty” in a sketchy place.
- Take your bag with you to the bathroom every time, even on buses and trains. Never and I mean never, leave behind your valuables when going to the bathroom. Even if it’s for a quick break.
- Carry a personal safety alarm. Instead of running into “fire arm” territory with mace and pepper spray (these can be considered illegal weapons), buy a noise creating alarm like this one. If you need to use it, all you need to do is rip the cord and prepare your ears!
- Pop into the nearest restaurant, store or hotel if you feel uncomfortable with someone near you. If you’re feeling watched or followed, ducking into a store with other people looks like you’re meeting up with someone. And this also gives you an opportunity to tell a local that you feel unsafe.
- Pack a day bag with all your important items and don’t let it leave your side. Passport, wallet, laptop, camera. These are my most valuable items I travel with. You better believe that that bag is NEVER going underneath a bus or on a luggage rack. It will literally be glued to my hip. If I’m not planning on working, I’ll stow away my items in my suitcase (which locks) or with the hotel safe.
- Trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s for a reason. Don’t doubt your inner judgement. And don’t feel guilty for making decisions based on your safety!
- Try to dress like a local. Blending in will ensure that you draw as little attention to yourself as possible. So, say goodbye to your Birkenstocks with socks, Hawaiian shirts and safari hats.
- Walk with confidence. Head held high, looking people right in the eye when they pass by. Most crimes against women are crimes of opportunity. Exude confidence and nip that in the bud.
- Don’t feel guilty about saying no to anything. Let me say it again for the people in the back. Do not, under any circumstances, feel guilty for saying no to anything. You do not have to meet up with the guy at the bar. Under no circumstances do you have to follow a group to a shady location. You do have the right to say no to anything.
What are some of your stand-by safety tips for female travelers?