In this post we have Amy-Anne Williams writing for us and telling us her experiences along with 8 tips for female travellers going solo. Please enjoy!

8 Tips for Female Travellers going Solo

As a female, I’ve grown up with the mindset that going out on my own is scary and unsafe in the places not too far from me, let alone if I were to start striding cross-country. Having been brought up with the idea that I would be more at risk if I went out solo as a female rather than male, friends and family were a tad concerned with my safety when I started travelling on my own. This didn’t help me, and made me slightly paranoid and reserved due to the fact that I didn’t want to put myself in harms way. However, after not being shanked or murdered on my travels, I started to realise that frankly, everything I’d been told was absolute tosh. Travelling alone is safe, travelling as a female is safe – just so long as you’re relatively careful and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do at home.

And so, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite tips and suggestions for solo female travels when y’all go abroad, as it’s perfectly okay to be out in the big wide world on your own if you’re aware of how to keep yourself safe.

1. Befriend older couples or families

My mam once told me a story from when she went to Italy and a girl much younger than she was sat near her and struck up a conversation. This is a natural thing you tend to do when travelling solo, but for this girl, it also kept her safe from the creepy restaurant owner that was chatting her up. From this I learnt that if you can talk to an older couple or families and sit near them in restaurants and the like, if someone makes you uncomfortable or tries to do something you don’t want then you’re in typically safe hands. On the same note, if you can befriend members of staff and air hostesses then they can help give you advice as well as keep an eye on you, and female flight passengers are often great at giving you tips for the place you’re about to land in.

2. Upload photocopies of important documents

A lot of people will suggest that you have hard copies of all your important documents in your bags and on your person, in case you run into trouble or need to access them for any reason. However, a lot of the time it may be unlikely that you actually have these on you when you need them, and so if you can upload copies onto sites like DropBox, then even if you lose everything from your bags to your phone then you can still access them on pretty much any other device. It also helps if you make sure your people back home have copies of these prior.

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3. The Rubber Doorstep Trick

When staying in an establishment that may not be the safest, a rubber doorstep really can be a lifesaver. When put on the inside of the door where you’re situated, it makes it very difficult for people to break in when you’re asleep. Similar to this is the ‘Do Not Disturb’ Trick, where you put your hotels ‘do not disturb’ sign up on your door when you’re out, rather than the ‘come in, my room needs cleaning’, as it’s an exceedingly obvious sign that no one is in the room, making it a prime opportunity for those who may want to steal your belongings.

4. Be confident and assertive

This is just a basic piece of advice, but is especially important for when you’re a female out travelling alone, as people, primarily males, can be rather grating when they notice you’re solo. From shop keepers to people who want to date you to people who just want to get on your nerves, if you’re unable to say no and tell people when they’re making you uncomfortable then it’s going to be rather difficult to get around anywhere. Being able to explain to someone that their advances are unwelcome is one of the most important things you can do.

5. Check in regularly

With trusted friends or family back home, you should check in with them at the same time every day (especially for first-time travellers) in order for them to make sure you’re okay, because if you’re not then give a few hours and they can start alerting people. This can also be done with social media, which can be such an important tool when travelling abroad. Either way, by keeping people informed, you’re making sure that someone else will be there for you should things go wrong. Also, you get to tell everyone about what a great time you’re having!

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6. Take note of the dark

First things first – never arrive in a new place when it’s dark out, due to the fact that you’ll likely be disorientated and unable to sort yourself out, unless you’re getting picked up by people you trust. It’s really not the best idea to arrive somewhere you don’t know at a time when there’s less people around and you can barely read street signs, and so it’s also important to note the time of the sunset in the country you’re in, so that you can make sure you’re in a good place when the sun goes down and are not caught out.

7. Don’t get drunk

Whilst it’s perfectly okay to have a couple drinks and have a good time, it’s probably not the wisest idea to get blackout drunk and inebriated when vulnerable in a new country with new people. Also, whenever you’re out, just like you probably would back home, don’t leave your drink unattended even for a short amount of time as anyone could put anything in there without other people noticing, which wouldn’t be the best way to end a trip away.

8. Safety over savings

Don’t don’t don’t skimp out on travel insurance! Don’t ever try and save money on the little things, like a crap hotel in a dodgy area, or a bus ride that takes three times as long and goes through somewhere Calcutta-esque. Never ever risk your health and safety in aid of saving a couple bob, as at the end of the day, I’m sure we’d all rather be okay than twenty quid up.

Amy in Paris

Then of course we have tricks that everyone should be following anyway; like how you should study maps in shops instead of on the street in order to not mark yourself as a tourist, not go out in flamboyant jewelry, have a cross-body bag for your valuables, read the reviews of the places you are staying and visiting, don’t get into unmarked taxis (and send the numberplate of any stranger’s vehicle to family members), and to dress and behave in a way that is recommended in the culture you’re in. Also, have you ever heard about people who’ve been sat at tables in restaurants or cafes or the like, only to find that when they’ve got up to leave their bags are missing? In a lot of places, people will steal your belongings right from out under you, and so you should make sure to have your most important items on you at all times, and to put your foot through the strap of your bag when seated if you don’t want to lose it.

Despite what a lot of people say, solo travel isn’t boring, nor lonely, nor exceedingly risky. In fact, it can be one of the most incredible, uplifting experiences you can ever get in life, and nothing should hold you back. Whilst as a woman you can be especially vulnerable, so long as you take care and are aware of the happenings around you, you can have an insane time doing all these things you’ve only dreamed of or seen in Wanderlust Magazine. And always, have fun! That’s the final piece of advice I could give above all. Don’t let worries or paranoia stop you from travelling, regardless of whether or not you’re solo or female.

Do you have any tips or advice on travelling solo as a female? Please leave a comment below.

Guest Bio:Amy-Anne Williams
Amy-Anne WilliamsAmy is a small-time travel writer based in London, leaving the country at every possible chance to explore new places, learn languages, and try new food

Other posts you may like:

Ultimate Guide to Planning a Multi Destination Trip
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12 comments

Reply

These are some fantastic tips! Safety is so important – it’s crucial to be sensible and smart when you’re traveling alone!

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As someone who knows a lot of solo female travellers, I will be sure to share this article with them. There are some wonderful and helpful tips here. Upload photocopies of important documents is a fantastic tip that every traveller should follow. It can save you a lot of time and hassle, that’s for sure.

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First of all: Great tips! Especially the Rubber Door Trick, I never thought about it tbh. And 2nd .. I really hate that as a woman you have to think about stuff like this, you don’t even have to make the effort, it’s just a natural habbit to think about your safety as in being vulnerable and potentially in danger.

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My husband Logan has been very busy with his studies lately so I have been embarking on more solo travel again. These are excellent tips for a first-timer or even a seasoned traveler. I still forget to upload photocopied documents and NEED to update mine badly.

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Great post! I use the door stopper trick as well and never get drunk. I have copies of my passport everywhere electronically.

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These are all really great tips. The doorstop one is brilliant and I cant believe I have never heard of it before. It would come in handy even when traveling with a family.

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These are handy tips! I agree with them and especially with the one who says to be confident and assertive. It’s also important to have photocopies of important documents, you don’t know what might happen.

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This is such a well timed post for me (as I am writing about why I’m scared to travel solo!!). I think I’ve been so used to travelling with others so getting out of my comfort zone is hard. The rubber doorstep trick is such a good idea, I would have never thought about that!

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I travelled solo for a number of months back in 2009 and it was definitely a life changing experience. I started off travelling in the UK to begin with before heading over to Europe. Travelling in a country where the culture is not too dissimilar from your own can make it a little bit easier for your first solo travel experience until at least you build enough confidence to tackle some of the more challenging countries and have widely diverse experiences 🙂 It’s great to hear from other women who are choosing to travel on their own too.

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Wow awesome tips! Drop Box is so obvious – I can’t believe I never did that – just put my stuff up there as I’m leaving in 4 days! Solo travel is so rewarding! Everyone should try it at least once!

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I have not travelled solo, but happen to see women who do and sometimes it worries me. Like in Hampi (India), I saw many ladies sightseeing place by place alone using Auto rickshaw person as guide. Don’t know, if it would be safe coz they go to places the auto guy guides. But I suppose it’s safe, can’t be worried, maybe they have caught the auto from a trusted person and he has told her where all the auto would take her. However, it’s discouraging also at times. We were two ladies going to Shimoga for Jog Falls, the auto driver told us not to go lunch at a non-veg restaurant coz lots of useless local boys are there, go to veg restaurant plz which is more quite and peaceful…I did not mind the advice coz I wanted to have a good time anyway and not have trouble. But people think you can’t handle yourself alone. I won’t travel solo for now, maybe a group but I want flexibility as well, will see something arranged like that. I think being confident and assertive goes a long way and well you have to pick a good place not compromising on money, it’s not the amenities alone. Once a picked a place to stay at Yarcaud (India), it’s cheaper than another awesome place but they gave no guidance on how to go sight see, it was something like caught an auto from the road and go!! …but it should be a reliable auto right?. Fortunately we got an awesome auto guide. A good guide, driver really makes your experience awesome. We definitely have to be careful. Plus, please book your bus, accommodation in advance, that will really make you feel more confident. This just reminds me of nice travel memories. Nice tips(:

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Hi Stefinia,

Thanks for sharing your comment and thoughts on solo travel as a lady. I can totally understand your concerns for travelling solo and you definitely should always be cautious and not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Travelling on your own definitely isn’t for everyone and I agree booking transport and accommodation in advance is definitely a good way to feel more confident and safe.

Thanks again for reading.
Mike

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