Travelling As a Lone Female
Part of the excitement of travelling or backpacking is spreading your wings and setting off alone on your travels. Travelling alone can broaden the mind, encourage independence, and give the freedom to explore places of interest without others criticising or refusing to come. This way of travelling can also make you rather vulnerable, especially if you are a woman, and keeping safe has to be a top priority.
Before setting off, as well as during your travels, keep safety issues in mind and protect yourself as well as your belongings. You certainly don’t want to compromise personal safety, end up in awkward or potentially dangerous situations, or run the risk of losing your possessions. Take a look at some key issues when travelling solo and increase your awareness of safety.
Choose your accommodation wisely and pick well-known hotels or hostels. Do a little research before you travel, take a look at travel blogs and forums, and note any accommodation that has poor reviews. Inspect your room first and if it appears isolated or unsafe, then do not be afraid to refuse to use it. Hostels, especially, should be sympathetic to female traveller needs and ensure that their guests are as safe as possible.
Some hotels or hostels have rooms designed especially for female travellers, with secure locks and en-suite facilities to reduce the risk of unwanted encounters. If you are in any doubt about security, take a padlock to use on your door at night and follow the age-old backpacker tradition of padlocking your bags or backpack to your bed frame.
When travelling on coaches or trains, sit as close as possible to other women, or women with children. Sit near the front of a coach near the driver and try to find a seat next to the aisle so you can move if necessary. If travelling by rail, avoid isolated carriages and travel with others, preferably women. If you do receive unwanted attention, do not be afraid to move and find another seat. If you need to ask for directions, speak to a woman or a man with a child, but do not give them details of where you are staying.
If you plan to explore an area, do so by daylight and try to keep to areas where there are plenty of other people. If you must walk at night, avoid unknown or badly lit areas or better still, take a taxi. Avoid unwanted male attention by dressing conservatively, not making eye contact, and wearing a wedding ring, which may put off ardent admirers. Learn some of the local language as phrases like “go away” and “I will call the police” could be useful, and walk away from uncomfortable situations. Use confident body language like walking tall and avoid wearing expensive looking jewellery or designer clothes. Standing out in a crowd may be great for self-confidence but it can produce unwanted attention.