Safety Tips for Women Traveling Solo
After recent events in the news, I feel like it’s time to share some safety tactics for women traveling alone. Living in New York City, it’s a must that I stay on high alert. This doesn’t change when I’m traveling. I’ve been to 10 countries solo thus far and there have been some slightly sketchy situations. The minute something doesn’t feel or look right, I leave. I use these exact tactics with every solo trip I take. So for anyone interested in solo travel but feels a little weary about it, here are my top tips for women traveling solo (men can use a few of these too):
Research Where You’re Going:
This is the first thing I do before I even book my flight. I’ll do a simple google search “female solo travel *insert place*”. There is always some kind of information out there. It’s also critical to research the reviews of an accommodation. Trip advisor is my go to for this. If you prefer AirBnb, check the reviews there. If I see a place with little to no reviews, scratched. If I see a place has a majority of bad reviews, scratched. I don’t care how cheap it is or how beautiful it looks, it’s not worth the risk!
Arrive During the Day:
I always prefer to arrive in a new country early in the day. It gives me more security to navigate around. Of course I understand sometimes it doesn’t work out this way. If you happen to catch a flight that has you arriving at night, hang around in the airport. Find the most cozy space and wait it out. It’s not the most comfortable, but it’s much better than taking a taxi alone at night in a foreign place. I’ve spent quiet a few late nights in the airport watching Netflix and browsing Instagram. Another option is to arrange a hotel taxi prior to your landing. Here I am parked at a table at the airport in Lima, Peru in the middle of the night. I was waiting for my early morning flight to Cusco.
Stay in a ‘Touristy’ Area:
I understand a lot of us want to stay at those exclusive and off the beaten path spots, but as a woman traveling alone, it’s important you stay in a central location. I don’t stay any further than 10 minutes (walking distance only) from the main area.
Don’t Travel too Far from your Hotel at Night:
This should should be a no brainer but sometimes you may get caught up in exploring and lose track of time. Please be mindful to not be too far away from your hotel after dark. This is why I recommend you stay in a touristy area that way at night time when there is action happening, you can walk back to where you’re staying. I found a cute bar in El Nido, Philippines just a 5 minute walk from my hotel.
Don’t Drink too Much:
Another no brainer, but life happens. I’m not much of a drinker anyway, but when I’m away I keep my alcohol consumption at 1-2 drinks at the maximum. Also, you should always keep your eyes on your drink at all times.
Get a Decent Sized Cross Body Bag:
When it comes to solo travel, practicality beats fashion any day of the week. It’s important you carry a decent sized bag that crosses over your body. I recommend one with zippers or something that isn’t easy for a professional pick pocket to get into. My go to cross body bags are from forever 21 and cost me less than $20 USD each.
Put Money in Different Places:
It may sound extreme, but you really never know. You can put some money in your shoe, some in your bag, or in your bra. Get creative.
Organize Tours Through your hotel or a Tourist Center:
When booking tours, don’t do it with a stranger on the street. It’s best to organize through your hotel. It may be slightly more, but safety comes first. Another good idea is to go to a city center and find a tourist office that sells them. If you’d rather book in advance, find a reputable tour company using Facebook and TripAdvisor (read the reviews). Here I am on a tour of El Nido, Philippines. I found this tour company just a few blocks from my hotel.
Get a Good International Plan:
I cannot stress this one enough. It’s crucial to have your phone available at all times. I know those roaming charges aren’t the best, but you always can get your money back, not your safety. I have AT&T which has the international day pass for $10 daily in many countries. T-mobile has a good international plan as well. Contact your provider and see what international options they offer.
Stay in Touch:
With a good international plan, this will be seamless. I get the idea of wanting to unplug from the outside world, but it’s also important to keep in contact with your loved ones while away. I contact friends and family daily when I am abroad. I also type up a complete itinerary with my flight information, hotel name/address, room number, etc and send it to 3 people back home.
Get a Good Portable Charger:
With taking photos, videos and texting, our phone batteries can drain. You cannot afford for your phone to be dead in a foreign place. I do not travel without this great portable charger. It lasts up to 4 days and can charge multiple devices. It’s a little bulky but it’s great quality and fits into both of my purses that I carry when I’m traveling (shown above). You can order yours here.
Don’t Trust Anyone:
Some people think this is a stretch but it’s my personal preference. Now I’ve met some great people while on solo trips, but because I don’t know who is who, I don’t tell anyone I am alone. I always say “I’m here with friends and I’m meeting with them later”. Do not go with anyone to their hotel, or bring anyone to yours. If you make friends, meet in a local place.
I love to travel solo because it gives me a sense of freedom and independence. In turn, I always make sure that I am cautious everywhere I go. I hope these tips can help someone avoid a potentially dangerous situation while still having a great time. Enjoy yourself, immerse yourself in the experience and most importantly, be safe and trust your instincts. If you have any other tips, feel free to drop a comment. Happy Traveling !