We all have the desire to travel, to see the world and to know that there’s a life greater than we could ever imagine. There’s a desire to pack our bags, never look back, and pull an Eat, Pray, Love adventure.
Then there’s also the knowledge that it’s not exactly the safest world for solo female travelers. Though there’s nothing more breathtaking, more exciting to follow your wanderlust by yourself, female solo travelers must always be vigilant when it comes to traveling. Below are some reminders to always keep you safe on the road:
1. Always inform someone where you’re going
Before leaving the hotel, it’s best to leave a note in your room the list of places you plan to visit for the day. Call or send a message to your loved ones just to give them an idea where you’ll be. It’s also good if you befriend your hotel’s host and inform them about your itinerary. This is for emergencies so that people will know where to look for you. To bear the full weight of why this is important, I suggest you watch 127 Hours.
2. Research about the city and culture
Learn everything you can about the places you’re visiting. From must‐try hole‐in‐the‐ wall restaurants to the best bargains in the city, it’ll be good to learn the ins and outs of the city. Gain some insider knowledge and learn from the people who’ve been there before. There’s a joy in heading somewhere not knowing what will happen, but since you’re a solo female traveler in a strange city, it’ll be better if you’re well aware about the nature of your surroundings.
Familiarize yourself with the districts that are said to be dangerous for tourists. Though you don’t necessarily have to avoid them, at least you’ll know where you should be the most vigilant.
3. Keep a list of emergency numbers with you
Just in case you get lost or your wallet and phone get stolen, keep a list of important phone numbers with you. Write the number of your hotel and our local embassy, so you’ll know who to call when you get in trouble. Don’t just keep it in your phone, because what if you lost your phone, too? Write it down on your travel notebook or on a slip of paper hidden in your bag.
4. Learn a few self-defense moves
There are pickpockets everywhere, and there’s really no harm in knowing how to defend yourself. You don’t need to have a black belt in Taekwondo, and you also don’t need to enroll in a mixed martial arts class.
In the face of dangerous situation, the first thing you have to do is to make a scene. In most situations, the bad guys don’t want to attract attention so draw the attention to them.
5. Know your place as the visitor
It’s a golden rule for all travelers, not just female travelers. As the tourist, you must abide by the rules the locals follow. If you want safe travels, then it’s necessary to go by the natural rules that keep the locals and tourist safe. You are in their territory. You are the visitor. It’s their rules you have to follow at all times. Just like what they often say, “When in Rome, do what Romans do.”
6. Befriend locals and travelers
When you’re traveling alone, try to make people remember you. You don’t have to make a scene or to stand out. You just have to be friendly with the locals and travelers you encounter along the way. Same with the reason stated on a previous number, it’s also for your safety that you have to leave a mark on the places you visit. Not exactly a physical mark, but enough that people will remember you when you go missing.
It’s a win‐win situation because how can it be wrong to have more friends in a new city? They might also be the people who are willing to accompany you in your misadventures in town.
7. But don’t be too trusting
Just like in all situations, it’s important to be friendly but don’t trust so easily. Don’t divulge personal information on the get‐go, unless you’re positive that the stranger you just met won’t do you harm.
It’ll be great to experience traveling solo, but there are dangers that accompany such journey. As women, there are a lot more difficulties for us. However, it doesn’t mean that these cons should stop us from seeking our great perhaps.
(Photo credit: Lee Scott)