I had someone comment asking about safety as a female whilst traveling solo – a very valid concern. I’ve been fortunate enough to only have one close call in my years of traveling, but here are some of the things I cover and consider before and whilst traveling alone (I hope most, if not all, are common sense and common place and, but just in case they aren’t…).
1. Research and avoid. It would be lovely if we could travel wherever takes our fancy, but sadly that isn’t the case. Research and know the countries and regions that are simply not sensible for a woman to travel alone to.
2. Know your destination. Whilst I love doing things spontaneously, I’m also a very thorough person and if I’m traveling solo I make sure I am well versed on the ins and outs of whatever city I plan to visit. Know the basics of the city’s transportation and layout. Study a map – Know how to get from the train or plane to your accommodation. Download an app – If I can avoid it, I don’t blatantly walk around with a tourist map (I will admit I’ve been blessed with an innate sense of direction so I’m able to depend less on maps). I like to think that uunsavoury characters tend skip over individuals who look like they know where they are going and what they’re doing. Confidence is key!
3. Make a buddy. I previously stated that I prefer staying in hostels whilst traveling alone because you almost always make a buddy or two. Even if I don’t end up spending my days with a buddy, I like to let that person know my tentative plans for the day. It’s comforting to know that someone will be expecting me back at some point and might be concerned if I don’t return, for whatever reason.
4. Party in moderation. This should go without saying. If you’re out partying on your own or even with hostel mates, don’t go on a binger. It’s best not to be inordinately pissed and stumbling back to the hostel by yourself at three o’clock in the morning.
5. Be properly clad. As a woman, it’s especially important to dress for the culture. When I was in Morocco I didn’t walk around scantily clad in a mini skirt and tube top (though honestly, I wouldn’t wear that anywhere haha it’s just not cute and/or classy). Be respectful and mindful with your attire.
6. Be aware. Basic. Common sense. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk alone down poorly lit passageways. Don’t meander with music blasting in your headphones. In countries where it is legal, I like to carry pepper spray. I’ve only had to pull mine out once, but it’s nice to know I have it if I need it! I’ve also had a bit of martial arts training in my day which makes me feel a wee bit more secure (though I’m under no illusion that it makes me impervious to unfortunate events).
So, there you have it ladies (or gentleman. I feel most of these transcend the gender dichotomy). Be prepared, be cautious, but keep that sense of adventure alive!