25 ESSENTIAL Solo Female Travel Safety Tips for Any Woman Traveling Alone
25 ESSENTIAL Solo Female Travel Safety Tips for Any Woman Traveling Alone
1. Start local
If it’s your first time traveling solo, start small and try a local trip. Take yourself out to dinner alone. Do a weekend stay a town or two away from home. As you get more comfortable with these experiences, work up to an international solo trip.
2. Do your research & read reviews
Before your trip, research as much as you can. See where other solo travelers go and recommend, read reviews of hostels/hotels, figure out how to get around, and plan out at least the first few days.
Make sure to keep an open mind – the feeling of safety is very much a personal metric, so a country that didn’t feel safe to another solo traveler might feel safe to you, or vice versa.
3. Pack light
When traveling alone, you are solely responsible for all of your things – and you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to haul a heavy suitcase all by yourself up and down stairs, across cobblestone streets, and above you on a train or plane.
4. Research local scams
Sometimes certain countries have common scams to trick tourists. See if you can research what scammers might try, so you can be aware and ready to get out or avoid a bad situation.
5. Let a family member or friend know your plans
6. Enroll in STEP
For US-based travelers, I recommend enrolling in STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It allows you to sign-up with the local embassy so you will receive up-to-date information about safety conditions, get contacted in case of an emergency, and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
7. Get travel insurance
So many things can (and will) go wrong when you travel, and solo travel means dealing with any issues that arise all on your own. Getting travel insurance (might I recommend World Nomads!) before your trip can help you navigate and prepare for challenges that arise. Lost luggage, getting sick, missing a flight, and more – all these are common problems that travel insurance can assist you with.
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8. Consider having a backup plan and/or stay flexible
If you arrive somewhere and it just feels OFF, allow yourself the flexibility to leave, to stay elsewhere, to exit a tour early, anything at all. It might hurt short-term to spend money to go somewhere else, but you can’t put a price on your personal safety & well-being.
9. Arrive before dark
When you arrive in a new destination, make sure to arrive before dark, and generally avoid traveling in the dark in general. This can be a bit tricky with long international flights, so if you can’t avoid arriving before dark, make sure to set up a safe form of transportation to your hostel/hotel, such as a pre-booked shuttle, Uber, or other transport that you’ve researched and read reviews on (avoid public transport until day-time or if you are very comfortable with it).
10. Don’t flaunt your valuables
When you are not using your phone, make sure to keep it out of sight – which will also help you not be distracted and stay aware of your surroundings. Consider leaving other valuables at home that you don’t need such as jewelry. If you have a camera, put it away between uses and don’t leave it hanging on your neck.
11. Split up your money
Keep your money and credit cards in at least two different areas, just in case. I highly recommend always having at least a little bit of cash – split that between your wallet and other location, such as in a shoe in your suitcase, rolled up in a tampon applicator, in a dummy wallet, or elsewhere.
12. Keep copies of your passport
Having multiple copies of your passport is always wise, including both printed and electronic copies. Make sure the electronic copies are available offline, and accessible on a different device other than your phone.
13. Stay connected
Keep in touch with family and friends back home and keep them posted of your activities and whereabouts. Getting an eSim (like this one from Airalo, my absolute favorite way to stay connected) is one of the best safety tools you can have, so that you always have data no matter where you are – the ability to text, check a map, and otherwise stay connected on your phone.
14. Be aware of your surroundings
Avoid wearing headphones, being engrossed in your phone, or otherwise not paying attention to your surroundings. Make sure you are constantly taking stock of where you are, how you are feeling, who else is around you, where you are headed, and generally just taking everything in.
15. Keep your belongings close and in sight
Never leave your bags unattended and try to keep all your belongings together. When you are sitting down, make sure you have your backpack in sight and/or keep the strap wrapped around your leg so it’s harder for someone to quickly snatch and walk away with.
16. Use your phone (judiciously!)
You don’t want to constantly be on your phone, but there are a ton of helpful apps that are great for solo travelers. Google maps (download offline maps!), Whatsapp, Google translate, a currency converter, GetYourGuide, and more are great to have downloaded and ready to go on your phone.
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17. Be careful on social media
It’s okay to share your travels online, but I cannot recommend enough that you should never post your trip in real time! Even posting a single day late is such a smart choice so that others won’t know exactly where you are at all times.
18. Know your limits
Whether this is your alcohol tolerance, your level of being in-shape for a hike, or another limit, make sure you are both aware and also highly respectful of yourself. Respect how you feel and never feel back about quitting, turning back, or anything else you need to do to be safe. Your safety is more important than your pride.
19. Spend money if it keeps you safe
Keeping to a travel budget is important, but if you face a choice where spending a bit more money results in you being more safe, 100% spend that money. If you need to take an unexpected Uber, upgrade to a safer hotel, change your plans, or leave a bad situation – please please just spend the money to do so!
20. Go with confidence (even if it’s fake)
Keep your head up and exude confidence (even if you don’t feel it!). This helps you appear less of a target and might even allow you to blend in more with the locals. Walk purposefully and if you need to check directions or are unsure, tuck into a shop or safe, semi-private space to check your phone before continuing.
21. LIE, LIE, LIE
You do not owe ANYONE the truth. If someone asks if you are traveling alone, lie. If someone asks where you are staying, lie. If someone makes you uncomfortable, lie. Say you are married, you are on the way to meet up with friends, say you’re leaving the area earlier than you truly are, whatever you need to say to keep your safety in check. And remember – politeness is never more important than your safety!
22. Trust your instincts
If you have a gut feeling that something feels off, even if you can’t figure out why, or even if it doesn’t make sense, just TRUST that. It’s better to be safe and mistakenly get out of a situation than to ignore your feelings.
23. Use common sense
If you wouldn’t do it at home, you probably wouldn’t do it abroad! Things like don’t walk alone after dark, don’t share the exact dates and locations of your travel on social media, be sensible, double check your travel details, and having realistic expectations can all be helpful to keep in mind.
24. Chat with the locals & learn a bit of the local language
Don’t be afraid to connect with the locals! 9 times out of 10 they are the most friendly, helpful people who want you to enjoy their home as much as they do. Local recommendations can lead to some amazing experiences, just make sure to again use common sense.
25. Connect with other travelers
Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to be alone! Connect with other travelers by doing a class, joining a group trip, staying in a hostel, or just chatting up someone else on their own.
And if you are looking to join and travel with a solo travel community, sign up for my group tours here! I lead small group tours including female-only tours that help women connect with other solo travelers.
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Hey I’m Rebecca!
I’m a travel & outdoors photographer, blogger, and content greator living in the US but you can find me adventuring around the globe! On this blog I share tips to help you improve your photography, inspiration and advice to explore the outdoors, destination guides, travel tips, and more to plan your own adventures!
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