5 Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

How safe is it for a woman to travel alone? As a solo traveler, I always get asked this question. A simple answer would be yes, it IS safe to travel by yourself, even if you’re a woman.

However, the truth is that there ARE issues that you must take into consideration when you set out to travel, whether abroad or in your own country, alone or with friends. Here are some of the basic safety tips I practice whenever I travel solo.

Angkor Wat

Solo travel can be a lot of fun! (Cambodia, 2009)

Let someone know where you’re going.

If you’re the type of traveler with a fixed itinerary, give a copy of it to your family and friends before leaving. Include as much information as you can that would give people a starting point should something happen to you.

When I went on a 70-day solo backpacking trip in Europe, for example, I gave a file of my rough itinerary to my parents, containing the dates, places, names of my hosts, and their contact numbers and addresses. I also included other information, such as the transportation I was going to take (bus, train, or plane) and my hosts’ Couchsurfing profile addresses.

If you don’t have an itinerary and just go with the flow when you travel (as I often do), you can use your social media accounts to keep people updated of where you are. Send an email (or post a status, or tweet) everyday so that people can keep track of your whereabouts.

Distribute your money in your belongings.

Don’t keep all your money in one place. You may think it’s safe to put everything (all your cash, credit cards, passport, and travelers checks) in your money belt because it’s hidden, but consider that thieves nowadays know that travelers have a money belt. If you are held up, you can lose everything in one go!

So, keep some money with you when you walk around, but also leave something in your backpack or other belongings in your hotel. Keep a photocopy of your passport in your backpack or hotel; you can even have a scanned copy in your email for additional protection.

solo woman traveler

Be aware of your surroundings when you travel alone.

Read up on the place you are visiting for any security issues.

Read blogs or articles online about any specific safety issues of the place you’re visiting. Are there any common scams there that you should know about? Are there any security issues you should be aware of, especially as a woman traveling alone?

When I was in Bangkok, for example, my tuktuk driver told me that the Grand Palace was closed that day, and he would take me somewhere else. If I didn’t read up on Thailand prior to my trip, I would have fallen for it! However, don’t let all you read online prevent you from enjoying your trip. Just exercise common sense and you should be good.

Respect the culture you’re in and dress appropriately.

Again, practice common sense. Do some research before flying into a new country and find out what’s the appropriate attire. If the women around you are fully covered from head to toe, it is not a good idea for you to strut around in your mini-skirt. Respect the culture you’re in and try to blend in your surroundings.

Pattaya, Thailand

Respect the culture and dress appropriately.

Practice protective behaviors.

One way to practice protective behaviors is to listen to your intuition. Wherever you are, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Do you, for some reason, feel uncomfortable in the situation? Don’t bother analyzing why, immediately leave the situation and seek a safer place.

The nervous feeling you have (even though you may not be able to identify the reason why) is your body’s way of telling you there’s something wrong. Listen to your body’s discomfort and seek refuge. I have done it a couple of times during my travels and while I don’t know if I was right, I was happy not to find myself in a situation where I regretted not following my intuition.

Be aware also of your surroundings, especially when walking alone at night or in places where there are not a lot of people. I always walk briskly, and use my peripheral vision to check out whether someone is following me or not. If I have to check the map, I go off the streets.

Don’t deaden your sense of hearing  by wearing your headphones while walking around. Don’t get lost in your own world while walking on the streets; it’s an invitation to trouble!

There are many, many advantages of traveling alone. You have the utmost freedom to do what you want, go where you want to go, be with whoever you want to be with. However, as a female solo traveler, you have the responsibility as well to keep yourself safe, and following these tips are just some of the things that can keep you secure in your travels.

Have you traveled alone? What safety tips do you follow?


 Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!


Comments

  1. says

    natuwa ako sa picture with the caption “.. dress appropriately” tapos may chubby na naka-swim suit. Maloko ka ha. hahaha! Apir!

    Anyway, I tried it and I really had fun. Nakaka-relate ako sa lahat ng sinabi mo. Praning na kung praning diba? Importante kumpleto at buhay kang makakauwi. God bless you!
    kura recently posted..Sino si kurapengpeng?

  2. says

    I agree on the practice of protective behavior although sometimes I tend to feel that my intuition is broken.. nagkakaron tuloy ako ng mis-adventures na bonggang bongga. but solo traveling is fun, makes you feel you have done something out of the ordinary ^_^

  3. says

    This is a perfect summary of the safety for women traveling alone. I’ve only traveled once so far, and I was smiling all throughout this post, as I’ve done them all! But solo traveling is really not for me. Ika nga sa, Happiness is real when shared! :D
    Ada recently posted..Bohol Travel Guide

  4. says

    This is very useful for women who jump into any plane, boat or bus with little knowledge what to do while on the road to be safe.

    If I may add, drink moderately too? Women are prone to abuses when they are drunk in a foreign country or even here. I makes her doubly vulnerable.

  5. says

    @ Ada: Well, to each her own. At least you tried solo travel already. Yeah, agree with Chris McCandless’s statement. Into Thin Air is so profound!
    @ Doc Wends: True, true. Drinking and other things that can dull your intuition or affect your decision making should be really avoided or done in moderation.
    Aleah recently posted..5 Safety Tips for Women Traveling Alone

  6. Deiane says

    This is very important especially to the women who are planning to travel alone and even in the place where they are not familiar with.. Helpful tips!
    Deiane recently posted..Sharepoint Hosting

  7. says

    Like Kura, first I noticed..yung two ladies in swimsuits hahaha… sori medyo nakaktuwa kc nga ang caption… anyways, thanks for the tips. you are right most of us already is aware of the belt. spread itout sa mga gamit plus photo copies of the docs para safe anytime.

  8. says

    yeah, it is important to be cautious when traveling to a foreign country, no matter where. when i went to Nice, i had $30 well-hidden inside my suitcase, which was also locked. when i returned to the condo, the suitcase was broken into, and the clothes were thrown all over the room. the thieves found the $30, stole it and left. so, even if it is well-hidden, people have to be careful because they dont really know what to expect in that country.
    fifi leigh recently posted..Quick Tip: Paste Contents on Every Page in an Instant

  9. says

    @ Fifi Leigh: I am so sorry to hear that! At least you weren’t there when they came, worse things could have happened! Hope it doesn’t happen to you again!
    @ Tripsiders: Thanks, Joan. Yeah it would be he– to lose all your money in a foreign country. Scary!
    Aleah recently posted..Luxury Accommodations in Singapore

  10. says

    I’ve been planning on going on a solo trip since who-knows-when, but have never had the chance to! BUT I’m looking into a trip early next year so these tips would really help! :) Thanks for sharing!

  11. says

    I just did, last year. And, I’m on to my second and third this year. These tips I read from you and other solo female travelers were all really helpful. Thanks. I’d say, faith and common sense are the best defenses a solo female traveler needs. :-)
    cha recently posted..Prison Break

  12. says

    @ Christine: I always bring my netbook and my camera with me, too, that’s why I always carry a day pack. I just wear it in front–like you do–to discourage pickpockets.
    @ Cha: Congrats, and I’m happy you find solo female travel as gratifying as I do!
    Aleah recently posted..The Most Romantic Places in Europe

  13. says

    hi aleah! thank you for the safety tips on solo travel.. i refer to your post for my countdown to my 10-day-first-solo-travel to South Korea next week. been following your post, i admire your courage! :-) keep it up.

  14. Apeksha says

    Great tips! I also make sure that I make friends with the locals. Its a great way of knowing the culture, place better as well as get some handy tips and ideas to visit the ‘non-touristy’ places.

  15. Gracey says

    Hi! I’ve just booked my solo flight to Palawan for May this year, and it’ll be my first time ever to travel solo. I’ll be staying there for 17 days and would appreciate to hear tips from you. I honestly don’t know what to ask yet, and I’ve read most of your articles in your blog. But what comes into my mind now is, have you ever gone to Palawan? Is it safe to go around there solo? And have you tried home stays? How did you go about it? I don’t want come out as an amateur solo traveler causing me to be prone to manlolokos, so how did you go about that as well? Any help would be greatly appreciated! :)

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