One of the most popular questions we receive is – what do we do to ensure that we’re staying safe when traveling solo? It’s a horrible, but accurate fact that women traveling alone will face more danger than any of their male counterparts. So, how do we do it? How do we continue to explore this world with compassion and curiosity? Simply put – we exercise intelligent caution and always stick to these 23 savvy safety tips for women who travel.
Book Hotels With Lots Of Reviews
Do your research. If your lodgings is too good to be true – it probably really is. Shady hotels and AirBnbs will offer great prices in prime locations, but without the cost you’d expect.
If you’re feeling unsure about a place, read through the reviews carefully and with a discerning eye. Most lodgings should have twenty or more reviews from confirmed guests just to start! See if any reviews are coming from women traveling solo. Their thoughts will guide you the right way!
Ask Flight Attendants & Female Concierge Staff About Their Feelings On Safety
It may seem a little uncomfortable for us shy travelers, but it could make a world of difference. Ask the women you encounter throughout your travels on their honest opinions on safety. A female concierge, flight attendant, waitress, hostess, etc. will tell you what to look out for or if they’ve had any scary incidents in the area you are staying in.
Never, Ever Use An Unmarked Taxi
You may be tempted by a cheaper, less stressful ride… but DON’T do it. Unmarked taxis are completely unmonitored and unregulated, leaving you unprotected in a potentially horrible situation.
Know Your Destination’s Emergency Phone Numbers
Do a quick Google search before you depart. Saving your foreign emergency phone numbers into your phone could save your life! Especially in a situation that requires you to act fast.
Take Note Of Sunrise/Sunset
Make sure you are aware of when sunrise and sunset will be occurring. Just check your weather app! If you know you’ll need to be navigating by foot (hiking, taking a long walk when there’s no public transportation) in an unknown area, you’ll know when you need to be on your way.
Research If There Is A Front Desk Open 24 Hours
Hotels with a 24 hour concierge will most likely be monitored by guards or security. Plus, you can rest assured that someone is always present downstairs in your hotel providing protection while you rest peacefully.
Hang Your “Do Not Disturb” Sign Even When You Are Gone
When you hang your “please make up room” sign – it’s a dead give away to thieves that you are not inside. So, do the opposite! If you hang your “do not disturb” sign 24 hours a day, thieves are most likely to overlook your room because they won’t want to risk you being inside. Call downstairs and ask for your room to be cleaned instead of making your room a potential robber’s easy target!
Be Wary Of Your Purse At All Times
I once put my purse right below my feet at a cafe, only to find a man behind me slowly pulling my crossbody strap towards him. Catching him red handed gave him a shock and really gave me the insight on how relaxed I had gotten on tracking my purse! No matter how comfortable or safe you feel, be wary of your purse, ladies! Keep it on your lap in cafes, hands resting on the top zipper while you maneuver through busy streets, and on your body when you use the bathroom.
Walk Confidently With Eye Contact
Men looking to cause harm to a woman search for signals that they will not fight or cause a scene. Do the opposite. If you’re feeling uncomfortable with a person walking towards you on a quiet street, walk confidently and lock eyes with them. Predators looking for an “easy” target will be more likely to leave you alone.
Pre-plan Your Way Through Public Transportation
Before you head out for the day, research your methods of getting around using public transportation. Which stops will you need to take? How long is your journey? How many blocks will you need to walk? Just having the knowledge of what to expect on your way will give you the confidence to maneuver through the city and avoid any dicey characters who want to offer you “help.”
Leave Your Travel Details With Family/Friends At Home
Always, always, always leave behind your travel details with someone at home. Things you should include are: your rough itinerary, the places you’ll be staying (hotel name, address, phone number, host, etc.), the flights you’ll be taking (flight numbers and airline, destination and arrival airports, layovers, etc.), emergency phone numbers of your destination and any trains, busses or other means of transportation you’ll be taking.
It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it could save you your life! One trustworthy person knowing your schedule will eliminate many headaches and worries should anything go wrong on your journey!
Exercise Caution When Posting Your Vacay Pics
It can be tempting to immediately share your vacation pictures, but exercise some caution. Let me explain!
Sharing your vacay Instagrams signal to robbers back home that you are not there (leaving them with an abandoned home to shop from). And, in addition to that, it also gives a timeline and location for anyone wanting to do you harm. Be careful about tagging specific locations, including the hotels you are staying in! If you have to post on your journey, choose more vague location tags or wait a few days until posting. It may seem overly cautious, but do you really want to risk it?
Exercise Caution To Anyone Being “Too” Friendly
Optimism has gotten me into trouble in my past. Be careful with anyone who offers you anything too good to be true, or too friendly without any natural friendship made or conversation had beforehand.
What I mean is, if you’re struggling to print your boarding ticket – don’t accept help from a random person who isn’t getting a ticket themselves. If you’re having problems handling your suitcases and backpacks – don’t accept help from a person who isn’t also carrying one and on their way to their station or gate.
Of course you are going to make random conversations with people as you travel, and you are going to meet many friendly, safe and helpful locals and explorers alike. But, unfortunately, you might also come across extremely helpful people who aren’t necessarily there to be a friend. If you have the sense that someone is being “too” friendly and something is up – move on.
If You’re Lost, Ask A Family Or A Woman For Directions
Let your intuition guide you, but if you are lost, ask a family with children or a woman your own age for directions.
Always Mention That You’re Meeting With Someone
Just a quick “yeah, I’m meeting my friend there,” or “my boyfriend is expecting a call from me” will immediately cause a trouble maker to slam their breaks. Knowing that you have someone who is awaiting you to be somewhere or check in will raise a red flag.
Trust Your Gut
Last but not least, never doubt your intuition. If something is telling you to leave, if your gut is telling you something is up, if you even have a nagging voice warning you that you are unsafe – listen to it. Don’t doubt yourself.