Traveling the world is awesome, but it can be intimidating, particularly if you’re a woman traveling solo.
At Go! Girl Guides, we believe that the world is mostly safe and that people are mostly good, but we hear the same thing from women time and time again: “Is it safe to travel alone?”
The answer: YES, so long as you use remain aware, trust your instincts, and use a little common sense. These 7 travel tips will help you take on the world, with or without a travel partner.
1) Drink in Moderation: Alcohol has a way of lowering our inhibitions, and that can cause problems when you’re traveling abroad, particularly if you’re alone. So, have a margarita or two, but avoid getting wild spring-break style. That’s not what you’re traveling for anyway, right?
2) Avoid the Beaches at Night: Always. Without exception. Anywhere you are. Beaches are generally not patrolled at night (even in the US) and it’s best to just avoid them until daylight.
3) Plan the Basics: You don’t have to detail every day of your trip, but you should know where you’re sleeping and how you’ll get there. Once you arrive to your accommodation, ask your hotel or hostel staff for recommendations in the area, and how to best travel around. Would they take public transport? Do they think it’s safe to walk at night? Are there areas you should avoid? Be sure to find out the details of your neighborhood first-hand.
4) Talk to Everyone: We can’t stress it enough: other people are your best resource when it comes to staying safe and having wonderful experiences abroad. Introduce yourself to other travelers and to your hotel staff when you arrive, talk to locals in the squares, make new friends on long bus trips. Sometimes strangers turn out to be angels who come to your rescue when you need them, if you make yourself known.
5) Get Comfortable With Being Firm: When I first started traveling in South America, I was so afraid of being seen as a “rude American” that sometimes I would continue conversations (particularly with men), even if it was starting to make me uncomfortable. It’s important not to do this, however, and to state your boundaries clearly with a “no”, or by shifting your body language, or by moving your space. Be polite, but be firm.
6) Be Aware: It sounds so common sense, but there are times when we can forget we’re traveling and become just a little too comfortable. Don’t put your purse on the back of a chair at a restaurant, for example, or in the shopping cart as you’re strolling through the produce section in a Buenos Aires grocery store, not paying attention. Take stock of where you are, who is around you and what you have on you as you travel.
7) Be Cautious, Not Paranoid: Traveling is so transformative and important for personal growth, and part of that comes with taking calculated risks. Be aware while you travel, but don’t get so caught up in fear that you forget to enjoy. The world is beautiful, and odds are you’ll have nothing but amazing experiences abroad. Soak it up, lady!
For more info on solo female travel, or to pick up a Go! Girl Guides guidebook made specifically for women, visit GoGirlGuides.com. Or follow them on Twitter @GoGirlGuides.
By Kelly Lewis
Kelly Lewis is the founder of the Women’s Travel Fest and Go! Girl Guides, which publishes the world’s first series of travel guidebooks made specifically for women. She’s an avid traveler who has been to over 30 countries and lives to help inspire and empower other women to take on the world.
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