Travelling solo tops the bucket list of several daunting and aspiring challenge takers for obvious reasons. The vibrant feeling of freedom, unforgettable adventures and exciting escapades acquired while travelling alone is tempting for anyone.
This prospect gets more trickier for female travellers as it is not common for women to travel alone due to safety concerns and several other constraints. However, with technology at the tip of your fingers and proper prior planning, solo female trips are more convenient than ever.
Coming up with a foolproof plan and pointers for your solo trip can be quite challenging, and we’ve got you covered. So ladies, here are the top safety tips to take note of on your next solo trip.
Choose your destination carefully
First and foremost, watch out for which destination is best for you to travel to, considering your level of comfort and convenience with exploring new places. If you are a first-time traveller, it is advisable for you to venture out to nearby locales, from where you can work your way to more diverse locations and countries. Make sure to go on trips that you are confident to handle alone, it is not wise to get too bold too soon.
As a solo traveller, your options are much less limited as you don’t have to plan for everyone. However, watch out for the safety protocol, expenses involved, weather conditions, and activities to do.
Moreover, we are still very much amidst the pandemic era, with several countries imposing travel restrictions, vaccine and mask mandates for entry. Tourism and travel has not been completely restored worldwide, so thoroughly go through the travel restrictions in your place of visit to enjoy a hassle-free trip. Some countries require you to be fully vaccinated for entry, even allowing you to bypass quarantine.
Only a handful of countries are open without testing or quarantine restrictions for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Check out our comprehensive list of countries that are currently open for everyone, without Covid-19 restrictions in place.
A handy checklist comes a long way
The last thing you want to do while leaving for your trip is to panic. Avoid going through your luggage for the umpteenth time to see if you’ve packed everything. Create a handy checklist to check the boxes of those you’ve packed, and keep the list till the end so that you have a reference when you’re packing for your return trip.
Here’s a general list of all the items you would need on your solo travel while travelling out of the country:
- Visa papers
- Driver’s license
- Wallet with money in local currency, cards
- Local Sim card
- Travel/Flight passes
- Other documents — insurance, allergy info etc
- Device chargers, fully charged power banks
- Basic/emergency medication
- Vaccine certificate and negative Covid-19 test certificate (if needed)
Get a pouch big enough to fit all your essentials into one so you don’t have to dig into your bag at the immigration customs for all the documents.
Mindfully choose your accommodation
Finding the right place to stay on your trip, looking out for the safety procedures, amenities and proximity of the hotel to your desired tourist spots forms an integral part of planning any trip. Watch out for these factors, especially while travelling alone.
Make a hotel booking well in advance of your trip only after carefully reading online reviews and customer ratings. By spending some time, doing proper research, you will be able to find the perfect hotel or boarding facility for your stay within your budget.
You can opt for either a hotel or dorms exclusively for women. Most dorms have individual rooms available if you would like to have more private space. Keep other alternative hotel options open, so you can always move to another place of stay if your initial choice did not match your expectations.
Opt for safer transportation methods
If you are not aware of the public transport system, try avoiding them. Opt for taxis or cabs as they are safer. Make sure to share your tracking details with a friend and do not allow the driver to pick up anyone else during the ride. It should be just you and the driver. Use google maps or other navigation devices to follow the route taken by the driver, and stay alert throughout the ride.
However, public transport does have its own perks. It is safer as you will have company and it is cheaper than hiring taxis. You may even meet new people and get to know the locality much better. Try sitting next to other ladies on the bus or next to a family.
Plan everything about your day in advance
Since you will be venturing out alone to an entirely new country or locale, fix on a particular sightseeing schedule for a day by assessing how many places you could comfortably cover in a day. Share your itinerary with a friend or family member and keep updating them about your hourly whereabouts.
As a rule of thumb, start your day early to get a jump start while visiting heavily crowded popular tourists spots. Try to do most of the sightseeing during the day and stay indoors during the night. Moreover, make sure to dress appropriately depending on your place of visit. You can wear chic, modern clothes as you please, as long as it does not violate the religious or traditional sentiments of the region.
Socialise, but never let your guard down
You are bound to meet new people on your trip and make new friends, but beware not to divulge any personal information or your place of stay to total strangers. Have fun responsibly. You are free to visit pubs and enjoy the night but never get drunk as you are on your own. Have some light drinks and stay sober.
You can also try learning a few essential words of the local language to help you navigate better. This will help you converse with the locals and know more about the place, but do not look vulnerable and completely unaware, as this may make you an easy target to cheat.
Reach out to social media to find like-minded women who are used to travelling solo. Facebook has numerous female traveller groups that can help you on your trip, by sharing their own experience and giving valuable tips.
It is always safety first
Keep your head high, walk confidently and show no hint of fear. If you ever feel threatened or uncomfortable, do not hesitate to get up and leave. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you ever feel uncomfortable around new people, a place or a situation and feel like leaving, just leave. Your gut feeling is probably right when it comes to sensing danger, especially when you are all by yourself.
Here are some quick additional tips that will keep you more safe:
- Try to avoid using your phone while walking and secure your money and other valuables safely in your purse or backpack.
- Have limited cash that is necessary for the trip and hide them strategically. Instead of keeping them all together and increasing the risk of getting robbed, store them in different pouches of your bag or wallet.
- Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not absent-mindedly walk on the streets listening to music on your earphones.
- Invest in an alarm door stop. This will prevent intruders from entering your room and sets off an alarm sound when someone attempts to open the door.
- Leave all your essential documents in your room while leaving the hotel to avoid losing them. Try making copies of the documents to help in case they get stolen.
- Get a slash proof, baggage lock to secure your bag.
- Stay safe from Covid-19, as you do not want to get sick especially when you are travelling alone. Try to keep away from over-crowded venues and practice Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and etiquette.
We know things may not always go according to plan, but that is also one of the most exciting parts of travelling alone! So it is okay to loosen up a bit, let things take their own course, but do note these points on your next solo trip.
This article was first published in Wego.