April 17, 2011
What countries are best for female solo travel?
What are some safety tips for women?
Where should women travelling solo go to get their feet wet?
And where will they feel safe and easily meet locals and hook up with other travelers?
We put those questions to our Facebook fan page communityas we love getting insider tips from other travelers.
Safety Travel Tips for Women
Don’t think about the possible dangers
There are a million things that can go wrong, no matter how you are travelling. In fact, there are a million things that can go wrong in your life just by stepping out the front door.
But, that doesn’t stop you from getting on with your life right? Well don’t do the same when you are thinking of travelling solo.
Keep your wits about yourself and your surroundings at all time. Spend time looking around you and taking note of what you see. Be present in every moment. This will help alert you to any potential dangers.
Trust your intuition
It always knows best. If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. There is a reason why you get that unsettled feeling in your stomach when you meet that strange person on the beach.
Don’t freak yourself out by imaginary monsters, but definitely pay attention to those little messages our animal instincts give us.
Walk assertively and confidently
When I was in year 9 we had to do a self-defence course for sport at school. I don’t really remember how to flip someone over in a death roll if they were to attack me, but I do remember a very wise preventative piece of advice they drummed into us.
Always walk assertively and confidently. If you do this potential scam artists and attackers will leave you alone.
They only prey on those who are vulnerable. Walk with your head held high, and confidently greet people and look them in the eye. I have done this many times when I have felt afraid, and it instantly made me feel very strong and brave.
Let people know of your plans
This is especially important for solo women travellers. When you are travelling with someone else, you always have someone watching your back and looking out for you.
Let people you know and trust know where you are going and when. With today’s communication portals this can involve something as quick as an email, facebook message, twitter update or Skype call.
Talk to people
Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers, to make new friends and to travel with those new friends. I used to always go out on my own in Dublin, because I really wanted to meet new people.
I also met plenty of new friends travelling through various countries. I made an effort to talk to strangers, and travel with them. I was never afraid to do so.
Facebook fan tips on female solo travel
A Chick with Baggage says…
For your first country abroad as a chick, I strongly suggest going somewhere the culture (and language) is similar to your own.
I don’t care how much you prepare, or how much you have traveled with others before, that first trip will be difficult and going somewhere you can figure your head out and not have to worry about a language barrier is key.
For me, it was England. I was cranky, confused, doubtful and scared as all hell, but at least I could order a sandwich without too much confusion.
Marina Lukyantseva-Haworth says…
My first solo travel experience was also my first studying abroad experience. I picked Munich – I visited it twice before and totally loved the city. It is still my #1 city in the world. London was also safe for me when I’ve been there on my own.
I travelled in South America as a solo female traveller and it was absolutely fine. I also met quite a few other solo female travellers who had done the same.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, if you keep your wits about you, make sensible decisions for your personal safety, and are lucky to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time, then you can travel wherever you like and be ok.
It is just a case of getting over those initial fears and just going for it.
This is a great question – My two cents are that I think it depends on what kind of a person you are more than anything else. Are you gutsy and adventurous, or more reserved and cautious?
Figure out your adventure-threshold, take a deep breath and go for it! And I definitely would recommend Australia for a carefree single woman traveler. I had such a blast there as a newly-single early 20-something.
Kaylin Stephens says…
Probably anywhere in western Europe. I went to the UK last fall solo and it’s so easy to get around with trains, subway/metro/bus/tram in nearly every city, etc.
Most of Europe is the same, although some places may be a little bit more hassle if you don’t speak the language. But places that cater to tourists always have people who speak English so it’s not a huge deal; just learn a few key phrases before you go.
There’s tons of young people travel to Europe every year so it’s especially good for younger solo women, very easy to meet people and make friends. Western Europe in general has really low crime rates (have to watch out for pickpockets in some places, but that’s what a money belt is for!)
A really good way to meet people is to go on a backpacker’s tour, which is designed for younger, independent travelers. I did a MacBackpackers tour of Scotland during my trip and met some really awesome people I still keep in touch with.
Christine Rojek says…
My first time travelling alone was in Thailand one month and after Thailand one month in Vietnam. Made a lot of experiences about safety.
– When i walked around alone i weared long trousers and a t-shirt.
– I never lose sight of my baggage especially on the beach.
– When i left my bags in my hotel room I locked it with little locks.
– I weared my shoulder bag always in front of me and not on my back.
So I would say Thailand is very good for solo female traveller. You learn a lot about yourself, its very important to trust yourself and your instinct! Thats a nice experience and makes you stronger!
I think Thailand, Burma, Laos and the Philippines are each ideal places to start travelling alone as a woman.
While cautious about certain things (dressing appropriately, not drinking much and of course never leaving a drink unattended), they are receptive countries where people treat you with respect. And places where a big smile goes a long way.
My safety travel tips for women? I’d say…
(1) doorstop from a hardware store – cheap, lightweight way to wedge your door shut at night if you have a solo room and
(2) a safety whistle, which has gotten me out of trouble (monkeys chasing me up a hill, getting stuck in a night train’s bathroom, etc) many a time.
I went solo to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. I hired a guide in Cambodia, that was about the only person I talked to there, but I thoroughly enjoyed Cambodia and didn’t feel threatened.
Vietnam was a different kettle of fish. I was diddled out of at least £100 and ended up in an hotel full of German people who were very suspicious of a solo woman traveller.
Thailand was great but again there are not a lot of people around willing to strike up a conversation with a solo woman over 50 in case they are landed with her for the holiday!
Since setting up eatwithalocal and finding other hospitality sites such as Servas, hosptiality club, couch surfing I have transformed my holiday experience.
My first solo experience was my study abroad in Sydney. It was perfect, it helped a lot that I already spoke the language as some people said above.
I always recommend a zipped shoulder bag for traveling and to more or less just be aware of your surroundings. When you are walking at night look up at the faces of people that pass you and if you see someone around you look at them so they know you are alert.
Kelly Dunning says…
New Zealand is probably one of the friendliest and easiest countries for a first time backpacker! It’s really easy to get around, there are loads of great hostels, and the people are sooo friendly!
Its such a relief to know that London is a great place to start as a solo female traveller.
The one piece of advice I have is ONLY listen to those who have been to the places your going. Because they truly know what its like.
Ive had so many people say to me “you have to be so careful there they’ll steal your bags and try to rape you” and i ask them “oh when you were you in London?” and then have never been and yet those who have been say its great …
I found that the time you are most vulnerable is whenever you are first arriving somewhere. Not just in the country, but in a new town/city.
You have usually just stepped off a plane/train/bus and are tired, have a big heavy backpack or suitcase and are unsure of where you are going. So my tip for a solo female travelelr is to always plan for your arrivals.
Book a hostel/hotel in advance just for that first night if you can so you have somewhere to head to. This will make you walk around with confidence and purpose, which makes you look less of a target.
It also means that you can spend your time figuring out the important stuff like getting there, rather than where to get to. And it saves you from getting involved with dodgy touts.
In notoriously dangerous cities or countries, pre-arrange a transfer or ask your hostel in advance for some local advice about getting a taxi. Not all taxis are safe.
Or get chatting to other backpackers on your train/bus/plane and see if you can share a taxi with them!
My first solo trip was also Europe… I didn’t find any problems! Have your wits about you, don’t be naive, but also don’t be paranoid. I found the most paranoid travellers ALWAYS had something go wrong!
Copyright Y Travel