From researching your destination to carrying a personal alarm, our 25+ solo female travel tips will help you stay safe while enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.
Solo female travel can be an empowering and enriching experience (and maybe just a little out of your comfort zone!) – so it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety.
In this post, we will provide 25+ essential solo female travel tips to help you stay safe and make the most of your trip. Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or planning your first solo adventure, these essential bits of solo female travel advice will help you navigate unfamiliar territory with confidence and peace of mind.
And if you’re looking for some general travel safety tips that are not gender specific – we’ve got them too!
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In This Post
- 1 Solo Female Travel Tips: Before You Leave Home
- 1.1 Research your destination thoroughly and be aware of any potential safety concerns.
- 1.2 Research Accommodation Beforehand
- 1.3 Learn some basic phrases in the local language.
- 1.4 Make Copies of Your Important Documents such as your Passport and ID
- 1.5 Get to know the local customs and laws of your destination.
- 1.6 Have A Valid Travel Insurance Policy
- 1.7 Check Your Governments Travel Advisories Before You Go
- 1.8 Take a Self Defence Class
- 2 Solo Female Travel Tips: While You Are Traveling
- 2.1 Let someone back home know your itinerary and check in with them regularly.
- 2.2 Have Emergency Details Written Down
- 2.3 If you haven’t pre-booked accommodation
- 2.4 And no matter where you stay, Safeguard Your Hotel Room
- 2.5 Pack a First Aid Kit
- 2.6 Use a Secure, Lockable Bag for your Belongings.
- 2.7 Carry a Personal Alarm
- 2.8 Stay Connected
- 2.9 Share destinations or locations after you have already left.
- 2.10 Don’t advertise the fact that you are traveling alone.
- 2.11 Be Aware of your Surroundings, Trust your Instincts & Project Confidence.
- 2.12 Avoid walking alone at night and in unfamiliar areas.
- 2.13 Don’t Dress Too Touristy
- 2.14 Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash.
- 2.15 Carry Multiple Credit Cards or Debit Cards
- 2.16 When Booking Tours or Excursions, Use a Reputable Company
- 2.17 Use GPS When Getting Around (Walking, Licenced Rideshare etc)
- 2.18 Have a Fully Charged Power Bank in your Daypack
- 2.19 Avoid drinking too much alcohol and keep an eye on your drinks
Solo Female Travel Tips: Before You Leave Home
Research your destination thoroughly and be aware of any potential safety concerns.
Safe and responsible travel starts as soon as you start planning to travel. Research your destination, its customs, opening hours for popular attractions, cultural norms, dress codes, general costs, common scams, and up-to-date foreign affairs, etc. The more information you have, the better you can plan, and the more you will be aware of your surroundings when you are there.
Travel bloggers are usually a great way to get on-the-ground information from travelers who have been there and done that – both from their social media and their travel blog articles themselves. Work out who’s travel style you like and who you identify with, and read their posts.
(And we’ll be honest – we hope that MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld is – or soon will be after reading this guide – one of your favorite travel resources, and we’ve been to over 60 destinations so we should have something to help you out, no matter where you are headed on your next trip.)
Research Accommodation Beforehand
It is best to look for places to stay before you embark on your next adventure. Again, spontaneity may seem more fun but trust us, you want to have accommodation figured out before reaching the destination. Why? There are a couple of reasons depending on how you want to look at this.
Finding accommodation before taking the trip will allow you to get a better deal. The earlier you book a place, the lower the price will be. More importantly, this is the safer thing to do since it gives you time to research the background of the Airbnb, hotel, or neighborhood you’re planning to stay at. Reading other travelers’ reviews and seeing their photos can also be hugely helpful when selecting your accommodation.
Look for busy, well-lit areas – unless you are going to a specific luxury wellness retreat – isolation is not your friend. Check what safety measures a hotel/hostel has – such as a locked and patrolled entry gate, is there CCTV, are all visitors registered, lockable windows, in-room safety deposit boxes etc.
Learn some basic phrases in the local language.
There are several reasons why it can be helpful to learn some basic local language phrases when visiting a new country – especially if you only speak English (no shade, I only know the basics of Spanish as my ‘second’ language!)
Learning some basic phrases (and not relying solely on Google translate) can be a sign of respect to the people and culture of your destination. By making an effort to communicate in the local language, you show that you are interested in and respectful of the place you are visiting. Also, knowing some basic phrases can make your trip more enjoyable and efficient. You’ll be able to ask for directions, order food, and communicate your needs more effectively.
Finally, knowing some local language phrases is also a safety measure. In an emergency, being able to communicate basic information such as your name and where you need help can be crucial.
If you feel like you’re going to need a bit more than basic phrases (if you are heading away to study abroad for example), consider investing in some translator earbuds. With over 40 languages -10 that can be used offline, you’ll be able to understand practically anybody!
Make Copies of Your Important Documents such as your Passport and ID
Have multiple copies of your passport and driver’s license – a hard copy to carry with you, and scanned, digital copies in a password-protected account online. This way, should the worst happen with your actual passport (lost, stolen, destroyed etc), the copies can help identify you, and help get replacement passports quicker.
(You could also have digital copies of any living will, or power of attorney you may already have in the online folder, just in case you need them. None of us go on vacation thinking the worst is going to happen, but being prepared for any eventuality can actually make dealing with the practicalities of the worst happening, a lot easier.)
Get to know the local customs and laws of your destination.
It’s important to get to know the local laws and customs of the destination you plan to visit for several reasons.
First, following local laws is simply the right thing to do. Every country has its own laws and rules, and it’s important to respect and follow them while you are a guest in that country. Second, not following local laws can have serious consequences. You could face fines, legal trouble, or even imprisonment if you break the law in a foreign country.
Third, knowing and respecting local cultures and customs can help you avoid offending or disrespecting the people of your destination. Different cultures have different norms and expectations, and it’s important to be mindful of these differences and show respect. This can be as simple as wearing modest clothing at religious sites, or which hand to eat with (or more accurately, which hand not to eat with!)
Have A Valid Travel Insurance Policy
Now, this may be a contentious issue for some, but I am a firm believer in if you can afford to travel you can afford insurance. This isn’t so much of a solo female travel tip, but something I consider a requirement.
Travel insurance can help you out in a number of big – and small – ways. From compensation for delayed flights or lost luggage to covering doctor or hospital expenses if you get injured, and covering the cost of flights home in the event of an emergency.
There are lots of different policies available, from the basic 1-2 weeks general cover, or annual policies for frequent international travelers whose trips are typically 1-3 weeks. Then there’s backpacker cover for specific destinations (ie. South Africa or South America) or extreme sports cover, and even travel insurance policies (such as Safety Wing) that specialize in providing cover for long-term travelers or digital nomads.
Check Your Governments Travel Advisories Before You Go
In the US it’s the State Department, in the UK it’s Gov.uk and in Australia, it’s SmartTraveller. But every country has its own travel advisory provider that will let you know of any major – or minor – events and advice you need to be aware of when traveling to a destination.
Just be aware their advice is usually on the overly-cautious side, and that’s why it’s good to research your destination beforehand and get some on-the-ground information from frequent or recent travelers to give you a good overview.
Take a Self Defence Class
Now while this might sound extreme, taking a self-defense class before traveling solo is a good idea for women because it can help with building confidence and awareness, and give them the skills and knowledge to defend themselves in case of an emergency.
Self defense classes can teach women how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations, as well as how to defend themselves physically if necessary. These skills can be especially valuable when traveling solo, as women may not have anyone else to rely on for protection. They are also a great way to boost self-confidence and help you feel empowered which can be especially helpful for women who may be nervous about traveling solo (or even in general day-to-day life!)
Solo Female Travel Tips: While You Are Traveling
Let someone back home know your itinerary and check in with them regularly.
An important step toward ensuring safety during travels is planning ahead. Sure, spontaneous adventures may sound more fun, but they’re also more dangerous. If you want to put safety first (as you should), plan your trip ahead and map out where you want to be and when.
Having an outline of your next steps and travel plans makes traveling more accessible and safer, which in many cases is more enjoyable than having to deal with the pressure of not knowing what could happen next. Even if you’re the kind of person who prefers spontaneity, plan your trips to stay safe and healthy.
We also recommend giving a copy of your itinerary (and travel insurance cover) to a trusted friend, loved ones or family members who isn’t traveling with you. This way if anything untoward should happen, it will be easy to narrow down where you were supposed to be at any particular time.
Have Emergency Details Written Down
In the event of an emergency, you may not be able to think straight, but having your emergency numbers and insurance contact details to hand can help you get what you need quickly without panicking. It’s also very helpful to have local emergency numbers close to hand too.
We recommend having a copy of your emergency contacts and other details on your phone (I use the Docs app) and one copy physically written down and stored with your passport or in your purse. You can also get it laminated to protect it from moisture.
If you haven’t pre-booked accommodation
As we discussed above, selecting where to stay can be a key part of your trip and also be a great way to meet people/other female solo travelers – especially if you chose to stay in an all-female dorm at a hostel. But as above, we recommend stay ingin well-lit, busy areas, avoiding isolated locations, and selecting a hotel or hostel with good security measures.
And no matter where you stay, Safeguard Your Hotel Room
From 5* hotels to renting a bedroom in a private house, a little extra locking mechanism on your door can give you peace of mind you didn’t know you needed.
Two of the most common extra locks are doorstop alarms, which when placed behind and under a door acts as a wedge to provide extra resistance when opening the door, with a corresponding alarm to alert those inside the room. The second is simply known as a portable door lock and fits into the existing locking mechanism of a door – without causing any damage, of course.
Both are great forms of travel safety gear and we recommend traveling with both. This way if your hotel room door opens outwards, the portable lock will still work where the doorstop won’t, and in reverse, if you can’t use the portable lock for whatever reason, you have the doorstop alarm ready to go.
They are both small and lightweight (the linked set is cheap too) – and can easily be packed inside a shoe or trainer. It’s a no-brainer for me.
Pack a First Aid Kit
A medical kit is a basic travel essentials and can help you deal with bumps, scrapes, bellyache, pain and more. Most first aid kits include band-aids, gauze, a small pair of scissors, bandages, tape, antiseptic wipes, safety pins, tweezers, whistle, cotton buds etc.
You can pick up a small pre-packed first aid kit including all of the above for a few dollars and then customize it for your needs and your destination. For most places, we recommend including some sunscreen, anti-histamines for allergies, pain-killers, re-hydration salts, and anti-nausea medication for rough journeys.
Use a Secure, Lockable Bag for your Belongings.
If your bags are going to be out of your sight for any amount of time – or even if they are not and you are just on public transport – making sure they are locked can be enough to deter any would-be thieves. (Even if professional thieves won’t care at all).
Luggage locks will stop opportunist thieves and can also double as locker locks (in hostels, gyms or luggage lockers etc) Our favorite travel locks have a strong vinyl-covered cable and combination lock for extra security.
Carry a Personal Alarm
A personal alarm is a small, portable device that makes a loud noise when activated. It can be used to attract attention and deter attackers or other dangers. Many personal alarms also have a built-in flashlight, which can be helpful in low-light situations, and mean that you are not using your phone and potentially making yourself an easy target for would-be theives.
In case of an emergency, a personal alarm can be a quick and easy way to call for help. The loud noise can alert nearby people to your situation and potentially scare off an attacker and can give women travelers an added layer of protection and peace of mind when traveling or walking alone.
*Note* While we understand pepper spray can also be handy to carry, depending on where you are traveling to, you may not be able to take it into the country – especially if you are only traveling with a carry-on, so a physical alarm, on a keychain for example, is a great go-anywhere investment.
Whether you plan to get a local sim card or carry your own personal wifi hotspot, staying connected has never been more important. Having unrestricted access to the internet can help you with things like looking up directions, making reservations, or checking in with friends and family back home.It can also be a cost-effective way to stay connected when traveling internationally, rather than paying for expensive international roaming (especially if you don’t want to purchase a local sim) and in case of an emergency a portable wifi hotspot can help you quickly and easily contact people or access important information.
We know a lot of our lives are online these days, with Instagram, TikTok and BeReal, etc. But that doesn’t mean you have to actually share things *in the moment.* Not least for enjoying the moment in the moment, but also for your safety.
Take your videos and pictures, and upload them a few days later – or better still, once you have left that location. You don’t need anyone but close friends and family to know where you are.
Don’t advertise the fact that you are traveling alone.
As well as sharing too much online – you can also share too much with strangers. Whether it’s new friends at a bar, or shopkeepers being overly friendly – you never know who could have ulterior motives.
The best way to keep the conversation light is to not share personal information and only give vague information regarding where you are staying – the area, rather than your street or hotel; maybe it’s close to a certain landmark, etc. You could also mention it’s not your first time visiting, which with an air of confidence, could stop someone from thinking you are an easy ‘mark’.
If you’re feeling vulnerable in the conversation or don’t want to share any information at all (or sense another warning sign) – trust your instincts and make something up. A little white lie isn’t going to hurt anyone, and genuine people won’t care or probably notice.
Be Aware of your Surroundings, Trust your Instincts & Project Confidence.
While travel and exploring is super exciting, gazing up in wonder at a building or monument could be the perfect time for a pickpocket to well, pick your pocket. The same goes for public transport, in crowds, in tourist hotspots, etc.
Be conscious of your belongings and that you are paying attention to your surroundings at all times. Trust your gut and make sure your day pack is lockable or secure in other ways, and keep money hidden. (Money belts, bra pouches, and infinity scarfs are great and often made with rip-safe material and have RFID blocking technology).
This last part may be a little difficult, whether you are an introvert or not, but project an air of confidence while you are out and about exploring. If you look like you know where you are going, you’re less likely to be approached by people offering to ‘help’.
But at the same time, if you feel like you do need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Head into a shop, restaurant, or hotel etc, and ask for the help you need, be it directions, or if you are feeling like someone is following you.
Avoid walking alone at night and in unfamiliar areas.
As an extension of being aware of your surroundings and trusting your instincts, avoid walking alone at night and in unfamiliar areas. Both genders, but more commonly women, are more vulnerable to crime and harassment and it can also be more difficult to get help in case of an emergency if you are alone.
Don’t Dress Too Touristy
If you’re the kind of tourist that likes to buy a lot of city merch and dress up touristy, we’re sorry to disappoint you, but that might not be the best way to ensure safety. Nowadays, there are a lot of thieves and pickpockets walking around places, especially in big cities such as Rome, Paris, or London.
Wearing city merch and looking like a typical tourist may make you vulnerable to these small criminals. You’d be surprised to know how many people are taken advantage of by taxi drivers or locals in big cities because they behave like tourists. By trying to blend in with the locals, you will avoid any unwanted and uncomfortable situations that could lead to your wallet being stolen (or something worse)…
Also, try to avoid exposing too much skin with your outfits. While it shouldn’t imply anything, skimpy outfits make you stand out and can encourage unwanted behaviors. (As I said, it shouldn’t but it can – and is something to keep in mind when you pack for your trip). Obviously, beaches and beach towns are the exceptions, but as you move further from the water, it would be best to dress more conservatively.
Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash.
In the same vein as the above, flashy jewelry may look out of place in most destinations and in almost all, is likely to attract unwanted attention and make you a target for thieves (or worse). Leave the bling at home.
Also, carrying large amounts of cash is a recipe for disaster. It can make you a target if you accidentally flash it, or it can be gone in seconds if your bag or wallet gets stolen. (We recommend a money belt if traveling overnight or on public transport to keep your money, passport, and other valuable documents close).
Carry only what you need on a daily basis, have the majority of the rest in a secure place, and a third stash of emergency cash somewhere separate and secure that you can use as a backup.
*TOP TIP FOR WOMEN* While we do recommend keeping jewellery to a minimum, it can be a good idea to wear a cheap, replica wedding ring when travelling the world. It may not deter the most persistent man, but most will be content with a ‘I’m married’ and can keep up the pretense that you are not alone or are waiting for someone, are meeting someone etc.
Carry Multiple Credit Cards or Debit Cards
If you have the financial facility, we recommend always traveling with more than one debit card or credit card – preferably from different banks or financial institutions. And to keep them separate.
This will allow you to have one as your main spending card, and one as a backup. This means if your main card is lost or stolen (or is eaten by a rogue ATM! etc) you will still be able to access some money.
We recommend credit cards over debit cards because a credit card is always post-paid, which means you will have access to funds you may not otherwise have, and as such, if you need to buy an expensive flight home, you will have funds readily available. (Even if you do plan to reclaim it on your travel insurance later down the line).
We would also recommend having one card each from the two major payment systems – Visa and Mastercard, if possible. While it is rare that somewhere may only accept one and not the other, it can happen. Moreso, an AMEX card may have even more limitations, depending on the destination. (For example, I didn’t bother taking my AMEX to Africa).
When Booking Tours or Excursions, Use a Reputable Company
Use your common sense and trust your gut: if you think a tour deal is too good to be true, it probably is. A reputable tour guide and company can make or break an excursion (or worse, an entire vacation!), so it’s a good idea to know who they are, what they offer, and if you can, get some real-life reviews before parting with your hard-earned cash.
A reputable tour company will have a track record of safety and security, along with having experienced and knowledgeable guides that know how to take care of their clients and keep them safe.
By joining a popular tour by a recognisable company, you also have to chance to meet other solo female travelers which in turn can help you make friends and expand your travel network, so the next tour you take may not be as a solo female, but a group of solo women traveling together.
Knowing exactly where you are going – whether you are walking or in a Licensed Taxi/Uber/Lyft – can not only save you time and money, but is a huge deal when it comes to personal safety.
When walking, knowing where you are going will allow you to walk confidently, and make you look less like a target; and in a rideshare will allow you to check the driver is going in the right direction (and not taking the long way round) and share your location with a friend or family member – even if they are not on the trip with you.
If you’re wondering (or worrying) about being able to use GPS in a foreign country, or don’t plan on getting a local sim card – we highly recommend downloading the Google maps of where you are headed and downloading Maps.me. Both allow you to use offline maps and give A-to-B directions between points.
Have a Fully Charged Power Bank in your Daypack
Our phones sure do get a workout when traveling, from taking photos and videos to using them for maps, you may find that the battery can deplete quickly (particularly in extreme weather, for example very warm or tropical climates such as southeast Asia, or in freezing weather if you find yourself in the polar regions.)
To be on the safe side and fully charged at all time, we recommend carrying a reusable power bank that can top up your device power on the go. Just remember to charge the power bank too when you’re back in your room.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol and keep an eye on your drinks
Wherever you are – be it a bar, club, hostel, hotel, party, festival, etc – being able to drink responsibly and keeping an eye on your drink are simple travel tips that are really important when it comes to being able to protect yourself. Although we know it is easy to get carried away and when we travel, drinks can go down quite easily – especially if they are cocktails in the Caribbean, sangria in Spain, wine in Western Australia (you get the picture!).
Drinking can lower your inhibitions and make you less aware of unwanted hands on you or your property – which is why not going overboard on the booze (or other mind-altering substances) is one of our top safety tips for solo female travelers and is paramount to personal safety.
And that’s a wrap on our useful tips and top advice for solo female travelers! Bon Voyage and Travel Safe!
Now that you know all the tips for women on how to stay safe while traveling, have fun planning your next adventure without stress.
And if you loved our complete list of travel tips for solo female travelers (or know someone heading away that could use them!) please pin, tweet, flip, or share. I’d really appreciate it!
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