Traveling without company may seem a somewhat dangerous way to expand horizons, but the truth is that many women travel alone without endangering their safety at any time and are much more independent and self-confident thanks to it. However, we must recognize that to assume that traveling alone being a woman is the same as doing it being a man is a recklessness. Like it or not, there are still many cultures that do not see women as equal and do not see the need to respect them. Also, most men are physically stronger than women, which makes us an easier target to attack because in a physical confrontation we would all lose.
But do not be scared: as discouraging as this all sounds, the world is full of wonderful people, so do not let fear stop you from discovering only those corners of the world you’ve always dreamed of.
How to travel alone safely as a woman?
Give yourself the chance to discover new cultures and learn more about yourself while traveling by following these ten specific tips for traveling alone with total security as a woman.
1. Investigate your destination city and plan the trips if you are traveling alone
Let’s start with the basics: knowing and understanding the place where you want to travel is vital to plan what to do if something goes wrong. It is always a good idea to research online in the websites of the official agencies of the country and the forums of travelers who have already been there to verify if that particular area is safe for women and what areas, neighborhoods, or bars you should not frequent. Nor is it unnecessary to investigate the typical tourist scams of a particular destination to be prevented and avoid them.
Make sure what means of transportation are those that exist in your destination city and if they are safe for women. In many large cities, it is not advisable, for example, for a woman to travel alone in the metro at night. It is also not safe in many countries to stop taxis in the street since sometimes they are not legal. Locate a reliable taxi company before traveling so you can order one when you need it.
2. Learn the basic terminology of the local language
Not being able to communicate is something that puts female travelers at a clear disadvantage in many situations, so when you travel, it is very important to know the basic words in the local language. With this, you can buy essential items and perform day-to-day tasks without problems, and you will know how to ask for help if you need it. In addition to being useful in dealing with everyday activities, it can also help you avoid being scammed. Generally speaking, you will not have a problem speaking English in large cities, but in rural areas in certain countries, things can get complicated.
3. Locate the number of authorities
Write on a paper the telephone number of the emergency services, the Police and the Embassy or Consulate of your country in your destination city and save it as gold in cloth. You never know what problems can arise (theft of documentation and telephone, accident …) and it is always better to know where to go beforehand than having to devise them to contact authorities amid a panic attack in a time of need.
4. Contact your family or friends frequently
You do not have to have daily contact: there’s no better way to disconnect when you travel than to forget about the phone. But, for security reasons, if you’re going to put yourself in a less secure than a normal situation, tell someone you trust. In general, it is enough that each time you arrive at a new destination, and you are safe and sound in your accommodation, write or call a friend or relative, so they know where you are. Also if you are going to make some night shift or do some risky sport.
Give them the address and phone number of accommodation and tell them how much time you plan to stay. If after a reasonable period they do not hear from you, they will know where to start looking for you so they can locate you and give you a cable if you have any unforeseen event, such as losing your phone or your wallet.
5. Try not to bring many things of value to the sight
Tourists, and especially women, are the favorite target of scammers, thieves, and pickpockets, so the best way to avoid having problems with this type of people is to try to blend in with the environment and not look like a stranger. If you stop in the middle of a square to consult the GPS or take your camera to the neck continuously you will call too much attention. Logically, you do not have to stop taking photos of the sites of interest: part of the grace of traveling is able to collect memories. Simply use your camera or phone the right and necessary time, and the rest of the time keep them safe.
6. Always carry a ‘fake’ wallet with you
One of the worst things that can happen to you when traveling alone is to run out of money and documentation. For this reason, it is advisable to bring an inner fanny pack under your clothes in which to store your documents and most of your money (either cash or cards). Additionally, a good trick is to always carry in your purse an old wallet with expired credit cards and the lowest value banknotes and coins.that you can use for small purchases of the day today.
The reason? If you are unlucky enough to be assaulted and someone tries to steal, you probably will not accept an “I do not have money” for an answer. With a fake wallet, you will have something to give the hypothetical robber to content him (and, consequently, to protect you from a violent response) in the time it takes to run away without losing your real valuables.
7. If they try to rob you, do not resist
Closely related to the two previous points is the question of what to do if they try to rob you. Although it does not usually happen often, you may even be wary of having the bad fortune to be robbed. In that case, the important thing is not to lose your nerves and have your priorities clear: no material object is more valuable than your own life. At the moment you can look like a world if your iPhone is stolen because, apart from its economic value, you will believe that you will not be able to access the rest of your tickets that were in the mail, nor can you contact family and friends or cancel the cards, etc.
But, even if you feel tempted, do not try to resist because the response can be violent and disproportionate, and if you give them what they ask they will probably leave you alone.
You do not know what weapons your assailants can have, and they could injure you or even kill you … And there is no phone, camera, computer, documentation or wallet full of money that is worth so much. Give the attackers what they ask for and run away from there to take refuge in a safe place as quickly as possible. When you arrive at your accommodation or a nearby bar, explain what has happened to you and get in touch with the Police, your Embassy (in case you need new documentation) or your family.
8. Being nice is allowed, being unpleasant is an obligation
How many of you are reading have you been unable to say “no thanks,” “I prefer to be alone” or “leave me alone” to a stranger who has come looking for conversation when you are alone for fear of looking rude or rude? It seems silly, but sometimes the excess of education can lead to not leave you alone despite your hints and short answers throwing shards, so you notice that your presence is not welcome.
When you travel alone, safety comes first. Therefore, ignore your intuition and not put yourself in your place to not seem rude could put you at risk of assaulted and even raped. If a stranger talks to you and does not give you a good thorn, fuck education: do what you have to do to get out of that situation, including shouting, running or setting up a scene to get attention if you refuse to leave peacefully. The worst that can happen is that you come across a good person who did not have bad intentions and who thinks you are crazy … But, on the contrary, if you feel insecure and do not react in time, the consequences can be fatal.
9. If you whistle or whistle on the street, turn a deaf ear
It has happened to all women: you walk down the street without disturbing anyone, and suddenly a man (or a group of men) starts to whistle or shout obscene things. Although it is unpleasant, luckily the vast majority of the time is also harmless, so it is best to ignore them. Go long fast, do not establish eye contact, and above all do not respond.
Depending on where in the world you are, answering bad manners or getting angry with them could put you in a bind, especially if you are in a less developed country where women are second class citizens. Of course, if the thing is not a mere wake-up call without grace and they begin to harass you or persecute you, make sure you get safe ipso facto. Entering the nearest store or café, as well as engaging in conversation with another person, should be enough to stop them since by not being alone you are no longer an easy victim.
10. Never drink until you lose control if you travel alone
There is nothing wrong with partying and having a couple of drinks, but you should never exceed the limit of drinking that makes you “tipsy.” Getting drunk increases the risk because it makes you lower your guard and that makes it easier for people to try to take advantage of you. Also, even if you are not at all, the mere act of looking drunk makes you look like a potential ‘victim’ much more accessible. It increases your risk of getting into trouble considerably.
Therefore, do not drink more than you can in unknown places until you have become familiar with the surroundings: knowing how strong the drinks are.