Staying safe is a priority when abroad especially when you’re travelling alone. As much as we don’t like to admit it, women can be more at risk than men and knowing safety tips for travelling is so important.
It’s easy to let our guard down when we’re travelling or equally to be too paranoid. Being open but still keeping your guard is the best balance and if you feel uncomfortable or your gut instinct is telling you to leave listen to it and remove yourself from the situation. Here are some ways to stay safe when you travel.
The Safest Destinations For Solo Women
Situations with a country can change suddenly but some countries are safer than others:
Places to be Careful
Not all areas of a country are dangerous; the tourist areas are generally safe but be careful in the cities of these countries:
General Safety Advice
- Sign up for self defence lessons before you travel.
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery.
- Try not to arrive anywhere too late at night.
- If in a cafe or restaurant keep your bag on the floor with one foot in the strap.
- Only count your cash in private and put money from an ATM straight into your money belt.
- Ask your accommodation or tour guide which places you should avoid.
- Put emergency numbers in your phone for the country you are in.
- Don’t get drunk alone (or with strangers that you’re unsure about).
- Don’t give out your address to people and especially not your room number – arrange to meet someone somewhere neutral.
- Dress appropriately (covering shoulders and knees) and don’t wear tight clothing. Wear comfortable shoes in case you need to run.
- When getting into a taxi sit behind the driver on the opposite side and hold onto your bag. Don’t let them put your valuables in their boot.
- Avoid hitchhiking if you can.
- Some countries have taxi scams so book a licensed cab from the airport desk before leaving the airport. Call a company recommended by the place you are staying in instead of flagging one down on the road.
- Some bus stops can be remote so wait for your bus in a lit area or busy coffee shop.
- Pick an aisle seat if you can and keep your valuables with you.
- Avoid empty carriages and sit near the doors of buses.
- When arriving at a country for the first time, keep hold of your luggage to avoid any porters scams.
- Be wary of accepting food or drink from strangers on public transport.
- When hiring a car, keep your windows wound up and your doors locked.
On The Streets
- In crowds carry your day pack in front of you instead of behind and secure with a lock.
- Walk the opposite way to the traffic to avoid any cars pulling up.
- Walk in the road if the pavements are too crowded (be careful of getting run over though).
- Don’t listen to your ipod whilst walking in remote areas.
- Be aware of looking too ‘new’ and walk with a confidence like you know where you are.
In Your Room
- Ask for a different room number if the front desk says your room number out loud and others can hear.
- Don’t take all your valuables with you, keep some in the hotel safe and make sure you get a receipt.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with an adjoining room door ask to be moved.
- Keep a rubber doorstop for using against your room door at night.
- If someone knocks your door ask who it is first and if you are unsure don’t let them in.
If you feel something isn’t right, change your route and avoid any short cuts or alleyways.
Carrying a key in between your index and middle finger can act as a weapon in case of an attack.
Maintain eye contact and show that you are not intimated.
Don’t get into anyone’s car even if they are pointing a weapon at you. Make a scene and run away to get some help.
If driving don’t stop if someone is trying to get your attention. Wait until you get somewhere crowded before checking if there is a problem with the car.
If someone is following you on the street, slow down and let them pass giving them eye contact as you do.
If a car is following you, turn around and run in the opposite direction.
If something does happen report an assault at the police station or contact the British embassy or consulate.
Get friendly with the locals but not too friendly. Some foreign men (especially in Eastern Asia countries) can misinterpret your easy-going nature for someone who is interested. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t interact with others as you definitely should, but just be careful about what your body language is saying, be firm and reject their advances by saying that you’re married. Read the local etiquette info on the specific country pages or click here.
Travelling should be fun and as long as you use your common sense and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home you will be perfectly fine. If you still feel vulnerable when you’re travelling join up with another group of travellers for that extra security. Most solo travellers have no trouble abroad and if you listen to your gut instinct and be aware of your surroundings, you won’t either.