Solo travel helps you learn about yourself more than you can ever imagine. I'd definitely recommend that everyone should have atleast one solo backpacking trip in their lifetime.
When it comes to solo travel, the biggest mental obstacle for most people is 'SAFETY'. A new place, new culture and unknown people hugely influence our perception about safety. And perception of this risk is even more serious exaggerated when it comes to solo female travelers.
We at #TeamArvi have been following travel experts around the globe and have collected the best travel tips for female travelers. Here's some worthwhile insights:
“Politeness is never more important than safety. While the world would be a better place if everyone was thoughtful and kind, sometimes people – especially women – let courtesy override our gut instincts because we don’t want to be rude or be told we’re “overreacting.” But we should always trust our intuition, stop worrying about what other people think, be nice when it’s warranted, and choose safety when it’s not.” – Katie
“It’s SO important to trust your instincts. If they tell you something is off, it probably is. And at the same time, if they tell you it’s all good, it probably is. It’s never let me down, ever.” – Milou, Explorista
If you’re couchsurfing and the situation feels uncomfortable, just leave! Aleah from Solitary Wanderer adds, “make sure you have alternate accommodation in mind. Print out or write down the addresses of nearest hostels so you know you have somewhere to go if your arrangements go south.”
Sofie from Wonderful Wanderings adds, “Don’t flaunt your valuables too much” which should seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people I see with their phones out on city streets or wearing jewelry when they travel! Just keep it hidden or at home. You don’t need to wear expensive rings and earrings when you travel.
“I wouldn’t listen to music with earbuds in while walking around in a city. It makes you less aware of your surroundings and also usually signifies to a would-be mugger that you probably have a smart phone in your pocket.” – Eva, Eva Explores
“Make sure you know of popular scams and problem areas within the city/region where you’re planning to travel. This isn’t to scare yourself silly before you start traveling, but rather just to be more aware of the place you’re heading to.” – Kasha, Lines of Escape
“Mind the booze. It is ok to have a couple of drinks but getting drunk in a foreign and unknown place could put you in danger and get you lost.” – Inma, A World to Travel
“Dressing appropriately can save you a lot of trouble, research about appropriate clothing for women wherever you go. Areas that are hot and humid are normally more comfortable in shorts and sleeveless tops, but it may not be suitable for certain traditions, cultures, and locations.” – Lyndsay Cabildo
When taking a taxi, keep your stuff with you in the back seat so that you retain control over when you can get out. It can be useful if the cab is taking a longer route, tries to overcharge you, or if things feel uncomfortable. As Stacey from One Travels Far adds, “I now put my bag in the back seat with me, and not the trunk so that if I need to jump out quickly I can.”
“I look for walking tours whenever I’ve arrived in a new destination while traveling solo. Walking tours give me the lay of the city, and help me find my way around without getting lost the first time. (Because otherwise, I ALWAYS manage to get lost.) Tour guides will usually point out any areas you might want to steer clear of, and I feel more confident about finding my own way around the city after being led by an expert.” – Britany, Travel Write Away
Combine fun and safety with this tip from Kristin of Souvenir Finder: “I love taking a ballet class at a local dance school to meet locals (you could do the same with a yoga or other class).” Locals can give you a great idea of where to go and what to avoid, plus, if they show you around that’s even better!
Do you already have connections in the country? Ask around on Facebook or ask locals. As Eva from Trevallog says, “When I was traveling in New Delhi alone, I asked a Tibetan friend whether he knew anyone in the town who I could travel together with. It turns out that he has a nephew who was enjoying school holiday and could accompany me to explore New Delhi the way locals do. I suggest to solo female travelers who are planning to travel to cities perceived as dangerous, to look around at their friends to see if they have any connections to local citizen at the destination city.”
“From my experience, women look after women, which is heartwarming. I travel solo, and local women are often really helpful. When I meet these women, I’m no longer alone.” – Teresa, Independent Travel Help
“If I’m traveling solo after dark, I’ll often walk relatively close to a couple or a family. Usually, if I shoot them a smile, they’ll see that I’m not stalking them, but instead looking to walk with people. You’re less of a target if you’re by other people. If you ever do feel like you’re bringing followed, pop into the nearest restaurant or hotel. These usually have someone who speaks English and they’re more than happy to help.” – Stephanie, Travel Break
“Sometimes you need to be alone. To get some peace, to get space to think and to be at peace with the world and oneself. And sometimes this is only possible when there are no other people around, when you have time to talk to yourself, listen to yourself and leave go of all the hectic and stress of every day life. Enjoy this time. Take your time and do whatever YOU want. Go for a walk (in the daytime) just by yourself, sit in a café, go in a museum or do something adventurous. It can be anything. And try also not to speak to anyone. Just yourself. You will see that you actually enjoy your own company way more than you would have expected.” – Yvonne, Just Travelous
I hope these safety tips from these solo female travel experts help you stay safe and confident, and if you ever need a little encouragement, just remember how many women are out there traveling alone, and having a fabulous time doing it!