Travel is a great way to discover the culture and beauty of the place you are visiting. It is not always feasible or desirable to travel with a friend. Solo travel is liberating and can provide a sense of security. If I travel to Nairobi, Kenya, or Newton, Kansas, I follow the same guidelines.
Be sure to check that your mobile device is compatible with the area of the world you will be visiting. Learn how to make local and long-distance calls and how to contact emergency services.
Call a friend
If you are traveling in a less structured way, pre-schedule dates and times to communicate. Pre-schedule communication dates and times if your trip is not well planned. Sending a quick email, text, or phone call lets others know that you are safe.
Arrive at Daylight
Arrive at your destination as early as possible. Pre-plan ground transportation to and from your destination if your flight arrangements or ground transportation do not allow it. Hotels can provide reliable and safe shuttles or car services. If you can’t use either of these services, try staying near the airport overnight and then heading to your destination the next morning.
Even if you don’t know where you are going, walk with purpose. Keep your head up, look forward, and be confident. Do not pull out a map on the street and look like you are lost. Ask for directions in a restaurant or store. Use the hotel’s circle on the map as a reference. If you cannot find your hotel on the map, then write down the name and the address of the hotel on the map as a reference if you ever need directions.
Take a picture of your surroundings before you leave your hostel/hotel or bunkhouse. The majority of key cards no longer have the room number. Grab a hotel business card at the front desk and put it in your wallet. Take a picture of the station or stop where you will be boarding public transport if you’re using it.
Get a sense of direction.
Take a small compass or a handheld navigation system, and make a note of where the hotel is in relation to landmarks such as the city, the mountains, the clock tower, or any other landmarks. Pre-program your navigation system with the hotel and airport addresses if you have one. If you are too tired or confused to remember whether you booked in the North or South location of your hotel, you will have all that information at your fingertips.
Hire a driver
It would help if you relied on the kindness of strangers to get you through your trip as a solo female traveler. It would help if you always trusted your gut. Ask for the driver’s card if you feel a particular sense of security and comfort from him. Most drivers, especially those based at airports, offer tourists special rates on half-day, full-day, and multi-day trips. When “locals” are looking after your safety and security, they will keep you safe. As you are being watched by someone who is looking out for your best interests, the chances of you falling victim to random crimes are reduced. The local driver will want to be paid at the end! Following my gut has enhanced my travels and given me a more authentic perspective of my destinations, the people, and the traditions in the area.
Some countries may view Western women as promiscuous because of the way they dress. Research before packing, and then look around when you arrive. To be prepared, I always bring a cotton “wrap” or scarf. If all women are covering their heads, then you should, too. Cover your shoulders if they are the only ones exposed for miles. The knees need to be protected, and telling the toes in open-toed footwear is unacceptable. You may not be allowed into some religious or government buildings if you expose any of these parts. You can avoid offending people by remembering the nursery rhyme: “Heads, shoulders, toes and knees …”.”
Bags, Purses, and Other Belongings
Wearing a hip bag cross-body keeps valuables secure and close. In crowded places, large bags can be easily reached, and items can disappear. Handbags and shoulder bags can easily be discarded. It is not the time to expose your most precious jewels or to carelessly wear your latest electronic device.
Limit Your Intake
It is not the time to experiment with your limits of alcohol consumption or controlled substances. Overindulging in alcohol can result in a variety of uncomfortable or dangerous situations. Poor judgment can make you vulnerable to unwanted advances. You should always be in sight of your drink if you want to consume it. It doesn’t matter if you are at a coffee shop in Amsterdam or a new club in Cuba.
Attracting or Avoiding Men
Wearing a simple wedding ring can help you limit unwanted advances from men. Avoid direct eye contact, as this is seen as a sign that you are aggressive or trying to get sexual attention. Learn the social norms of the region you’re visiting. Many places in the world do not allow single women to go out alone at night. A little social awareness can make a woman traveling alone feel much safer.
Solo travel can make you less intimidating and more approachable. It is also the best way to boost your self-confidence. On every trip, I bring a book and an open-minded mind. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to return home with your loved ones safely.