Let’s face it! Female travelers face greater risk than men, especially the first timers.
Hopefully, this article helps you prepare everything you need before you go.
CHOOSE THE SAFEST FORM OF TRANSPORTATION
It’s very important that you arrange your transfers from the airport to your hotel before you arrive. You may contact your hotel as most of them offer this service. Though it could cost more, I’m sure it’ll be worth it.
But most solo travellers do travel on a budget and hotel transfers may be out of your budget. So if you decided you’ll be getting a cab on your own, do some research first. Make sure you know what official taxis/cabs look like. Always sit in the backseat, behind the driver.
If you still want to save more money, by taking a public transportation like buses, trains or jeepneys, make sure that you’re not the only passenger on it, or that it’s not occupied mostly by men.
MAKE SURE YOU GET A SAFE AND SECURED ACCOMMODATION
Book your hotels/accommodations prior to your arrival, especially when you’re arriving at night.
When choosing a hotel, always read the reviews first. Always avoid hotels/accommodations where entrances are in the back streets or isolated locations.
Always check your room first. Look for peepholes. If it has deadbolts or chain locks, better. Use them whenever you’re in the room to make sure that door is firmly secured. Also make sure that the phone is working.
As a solo traveler, I’m sure you will meet different types of people on your way to your destination. Do not share accommodation with strangers or people you just met.
It’s very important to have your hotel’s address and contact information in their local language. You can ask any staff to write it down for you.
AVOID UNWANTED ATTENTION
For first time solo travelers, it’s very common to feel a bit uneasy or vulnerable being in a different place. But always act confident and that you know what you’re doing. If you’re acting like you’re lost and don’t know anything about your surroundings, this could be an invitation for anyone to take advantage of you.
Do not wear flashy and expensive items like gold, jewelries, or signature handbags.
Dress appropriately. This involves wearing conservative clothing (covers on your head or shoulders) in some countries. When you arrive, observe what local women wear and try to comply.
BE SAFE WHILE SOCIALIZING
Don’t share too many details of your trip, and do not let anyone know that you’re alone.
Be careful on what you post on social media. This is very important.
Party if you like, but don’t drink too much, or even take drugs. Make sure you will still be able to go back to your hotel safely without passing out.
If you’re drinking, NEVER leave your drink unattended to avoid chances of drink-spiking which is common around the world.
Avoid walking alone after dark or in isolated areas.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
If you can, purchase a medical travel insurance before you travel. If you are travelling alone and got sick, immediately go to a health facility.
Always think about the risk of sexually transmitted infections, like HIV.
In some countries, feminine hygiene products and contraceptives like condoms can be unreliable or even not available so you may want to purchase them before you leave for your trip. If you have prescription medications, it’s always advisable to do the same.
BE WARY ABOUT THE LAW
In some countries, even as small as chewing a gum is considered illegal.
You may encounter some random people by the airport asking you to carry a small bag for them as they have already exceeded their baggage allowance. Do not fall for that. Those are mostly people looking for mules to carry illegal drugs to another country. In some countries, these offenses are punishable by death.
Sex outside of marriage is also illegal in some countries, such as United Arab Emirates, where foreigners have been imprisoned for this offense. It is possible that victims of sexual assault may face criminal prosecution rather than being considered the victim of a crime in these countries. In countries where de-facto relationships or civil unions are not legally recognized, couples may be prosecuted for having sex outside marriage.
There are lots of guidebooks and online forums that talks about issues for female travelers in great detail, so make sure you read them. If you have some friends or relatives or even colleagues who have been to the places you plan to visit, talk to them and ask for advice.
Do not leave without sharing your detailed itinerary with someone at home. Keep in contact as much as possible.
Plan your trip carefully so you can choose the best destination where you’ll feel more safer and comfortable.
Always be prepared for any issues you may encounter.