The fact of the matter is, when traveling alone, particularly as a woman, the risk involved can get a lot higher. But most things in life present risks, and this is no reason to limit yourself, precluding invaluable experiences from taking their course. If you can learn to navigate life with even a few basic tips to broaden your awareness, then the higher risk might be worth it, because the rewards become exceedingly higher too. In a world where violence against women is a serious problem, being careful and vigilant is something women just do. It’s certainly not confined to traveling.
There are some basics that apply greatly to solo female travel and assist with preventing dangerous situations. Ultimately, with the right safety measures and awareness, traveling alone as a woman should feel incredibly beautiful, secure, and empowering.
1. Do your research.
It’s important to keep in mind that each culture has their own set of norms and customs. What may be acceptable in one country could be considered a serious offense in another.
Prior to your departure, know what constitutes respectful behavior in the country that you’re in. For women, this often has to do with what we wear. If in a more conservative country, it’s vital to suck up your free-flowing, bra-less, anti-patriarchy feelings and dress accordingly!
2. Fake it till you make it.
If you are walking down a street at a noticeably slow pace, gazing up at tall buildings, or constantly looking the map on your phone, you will appear vulnerable and lost. As a woman alone, it is so important to look like you know where you’re going even if you have absolutely no idea. A simple change in body posture, such as pushing your shoulders back and keeping your head straight, makes a huge difference.
3. If you feel that someone is following you, start recording.
I wish that this didn’t have to be a part of my five tips for women traveling alone, but as a woman who has traveled alone a great deal, this has happened to me too many times. If I’m even a little bit suspicious about someone, I just take out my smartphone and film a selfie video as I walk. Documenting any form of harassment is critical, and I can honestly say that each time I have started filming a predator, they have darted out of sight.
4. Stay sober.
This is a personal decision when traveling alone, and may vary depending on the time, place, and situation. While throwing back a beer or two might be okay, getting drunk in an alien land where you know few people is a huge no-no. It is imperative to remain hyper-aware as a woman alone. Anything in moderation is usually fine, but remember: you are responsible for keeping yourself safe–– why make that more challenging than it needs to be? Considering that drinking obstructs your senses and cognizance, try to keep the alcohol to a minimum.
5. Make connections.
Before leaving for your trip, ask friends and family if they know of anyone living in the city or country that you’ll be exploring. Not only will you get a more authentic experience by hanging with locals, but you’ll also be safer knowing that you have a contact in an unknown land.
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