Safety and solo travel is probably one of the biggest concerns for women on their own. Of course, there are no guarantees of one’s safety anywhere in the world, but there are things you can do to protect yourself, both before you leave and while on your trip.
1. Know where you are going. Part of the fun of traveling is wandering and getting lost, but not at night. Book travel so you are arriving during daylight hours to help orient yourself to your new surroundings. Map out directions ahead of time. Download map.me for offline data.
2. Know where you are staying. Take the hotel/hostel business card so you have the name, address, and phone number handy to hand to taxi drivers or when asking for directions.
3. Leave expensive jewelry at home. Wearing it makes you an easy target if not to rob you, to sell you more.
4. Look confident…even if you aren’t. While there are lots and lots of kind people out there, there are sadly those who are all too happy to take advantage of a tourist “in distress.” If you’re lost, pop into a hotel, hostel, or even a well-known chain restaurant to have someone help you get your bearings.
5. Be aware of your surroundings, but even more of your belongings. With the beauty and all there is to take in while traveling, it can be easy to forget your bag, purse, or phone, while chatting with your new friends. Whenever I’m out of routine is when I am sure to misplace something!
6. Make two copies of your passport and driver’s license, carrying one with you and leaving a copy safely tucked back where you are staying. Another great suggestion is to email it to yourself because in case everything gets lost or stolen, you will still have access to it with logging in from any computer or smartphone.
7. Take the Embassy phone number with you along with any other local governmental agencies that may be needed. If you are in a situation where you need this information, you are likely going to be stressed! So, it is one less thing to have to worry about and hunt down when you are in a hurry.
8. Learn a few key phrases whether it be “help,” “fire,” to yell out in an emergency.
9. Avoid walking at night alone and stay among groups, getting lost in a crowd.
10. Lock your doors and windows when entering and leaving your room. In fact, check them twice and add one of these portable tools that offer even extra protection! https://www.tripsavvy.com/ways-to-secure-your-hotel-room-3260236
The last couple pieces of advice are to 1) ensure at least one person knows of your whereabouts. Not necessarily at all times (I mean, you are on VACATION), but if you are traveling between locations or venturing into even more unfamiliar territory, it doesn’t hurt to have someone looking out for you from afar; and 2) buy travel insurance.
Finally, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.