Solo Female Travel: Essential Safety Tips

Written By: The Planet D

It shouldn’t be the case that solo female travel needs its own discussion about safety but unfortunately it does.

There are additional risks when traveling as a solo female rather than a male.

That by no means should stop you from doing it.

I’ve been traveling for almost two years as a solo female and love it but there are certain behaviors that you should adopt to increase your safety.

Solo Female Tips

1. Be firm

This is by far the most important tip for solo female travels.

There are instances when traveling where you’ll get off a bus and be swarmed by a crowd of people or where people will invade your personal space.

If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable at any point be firm and tell them to back off.

Don’t be rude or aggressive but do be assertive and state what you need. Say things like “I just need a minute” or “Please give me some space”.

This is especially important if you think someone is making unwanted advances towards you.

Be very firm in telling them to back off and if there are other people around speak loudly so that they’ll hear what is going on.

2. Know where you live like the back of your hand

The address of your accommodation and where it is in relation to other landmarks should be ingrained in your head at all times.

Your priority in arriving in a new location should be to memorize where you will be staying.

Be prepared for finding the accommodation in the first place by having the address written down and a screenshot on your phone, or the map downloaded, of its location.

Once you arrive at the accommodation, take a business card if they have one so you have the address written down in another place and then walk out of the front door and take a good look at everything that is around.

Then walk around the block so you properly get your bearings and know where your accommodation is in relation to the surrounding streets.

Looking like you’re lost is unfortunately, likely to attract predators. Always walk with confidence (even if you are lost).

3. Get a fanny pack

I know fanny packs aren’t cool and belong somewhere in the 80’s but they will make you so much safer when traveling.

In both Europe and Asia snatch and grab bag theft (where someone goes past on a scooter or in a car and grabs your handbag off your shoulder before driving off) is a huge problem.

A lot of travel tips will, therefore, tell you to wear your handbag across your body.

But what happens if someone tries to grab your handbag off your shoulder while it’s across your body? You go down with it.

Traveling to the Middle East? Enjoy our Etiquette Tips for Men and Women

I’ve seen one of my closest friends dragged along the pavement as a result of someone trying to steal her handbag in this way. I don’t say this to scare you.

I say it so that you can be prepared and take a fanny pack instead. It makes your possessions much less obvious and would make it extremely hard for someone to attempt snatch and grab theft.

Plus it is so much fun going for a night out and not having a handbag get in the way the entire time!).

4. Arrive during the day

It is not always possible to control when you will arrive in a location but if there is ever an option try to ensure you arrive during the day in a new place.

That way you’ll be much safer in whichever transport you use to get to your accommodation.

It also means you can explore before dark, get a feel for how safe the area is and don’t have to worry if anything doesn’t go to plan, such as your accommodation having lost your booking.

This happened to me the first night I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, which is not the safest of cities to travel around at night).

5. Clothing: Cover up

If in doubt, cover up.

There are a lot of places in the world where it’s seen as culturally unacceptable for women to show their shoulders or legs in public.

Or where doing so is likely to mean you get a lot of unwanted attention.

If you ever have any doubt as to whether it’s ok to show your knees or to wear a tank top, just cover up. Cover up until you have time to find out what is ok and safe to do in that area.

Read: 8 Myths of Solo Travel and What Really Happened to Me

This is especially true if arriving somewhere late at night.

I always make sure I arrive wearing long baggy trousers and a shirt no matter where it is if it’s the middle of the night.

It shouldn’t be the case that there are situations where women feel the need to cover up out of fear for their safety.

Nor would it make it their fault if they didn’t cover up and something did happen, but unfortunately the current state of the world is such that it’s a good idea to do so.

Solo female travel is not something to be scared of.

As long as you are sensible, use common sense, trust your gut and take any precautions you can, such as the above, you will have a wonderful time and don’t need to live in fear.

Don’t let the fact that you’re female hold you back from getting to enjoy it. Why should the guys get to have all the fun?

About Chantell

Chantell’s book, Travel for Your Life, shows people how to get over the obstacles which all too frequently stop them from traveling and what the benefits of traveling will be.

Chantell also shares her advice on travel Follower her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Bloglovin’.

Read More

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Travel Planning Resources

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

20 thoughts on “Solo Female Travel: Essential Safety Tips”

  1. To reduce the likely hood of being pick pocketed have you ever worn a travel bra? It keeps your passport and cards concealed and out of reach.
    This one hides your stuff in the back so it’s super comfortable.

  2. Great and helpful tips shared here. I think India is the safe place for solo female travellers but prevention is better than cure so every female should have to keep these points in mind.

  3. Hi Kirti, absolutely. I loved traveling in India and spent two months there as a solo female traveler. Unfortunately however it is one of the places where I’ve had to adopt the most behaviours in order to help ensure my safety but it by no means should put anyone off from traveling there. It’s a beautiful country.

  4. Hi Vinita, Thank you for your kind words. I hope this makes the experience of traveling solo easier for you

  5. Hi Amit, that’s great to hear. I hope the tips help her. Always happy to answer any questions she may have too.

  6. Hi Cara, I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to let fear get the better of us and such a shame when it does as the best adventures usually happen when we step outside of our comfort zones. And the reality is that there’s usually a lot less to be afraid of than we think, as long as we’re sensible. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Some great tips in here. I have been travelling solo all over the world for quite some time now and I have found myself in more than a few sticky situations, but I believe that planning ahead and being smart about where you are is very important. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Honestly, I don’t think there are some additional risks for women travelling solo if we adopt the right behaviour.
    Except in Sri Lanka where I was totally upset with the behaviour of a lot of men (it seems it’s a phenomenon that began recently), I feel safer as a woman when I travel, as most people try to help me, give me some tips.
    I regularly travel in India also and people respect me a lot because I respect them and their culture. It has nothing to do with the fact I’m a woman.
    The tips in this article are great, but they apply everywhere in the World and for everyone, man and woman.

    • I think that is sending the wrong message. There are additional risks. To say that there is no difference is irresponsible. there are differences period being a woman in this world, and when traveling we need to make extra precautions. Dave can go into a temple with shorts and a t-shirt on, he can walk around not covered up, heck he doesn’t have to think about much when we travel. It’s a man’s world out there. Yes, I as a woman always respect the culture and follow the advice of these tips already. I am not bothered much. But seriously, I travel with a man and see the differences first hand. Dave doesn’t have to think about half the stuff I think about. PS, the phenomenon in Sri Lanka isn’t new, I was groped in 2010 when Dave was standing right beside me. The guy didn’t think I’d react but I certainly did. It’s great that people help you and give you tips. Most people in this world are good and kind. But that doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind. You still need to think about safety. You are right, safety tips are good for anywhere in the world, man or woman.

  9. Great and helpful tips shared here. I think India is the safe place for solo female travellers but prevention is better than cure so every female should have to keep these points in mind. Enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the tips.

  10. Traveling as a solo is not easy for everyone and it is more difficult for solo female travelers. Only experienced holder can give you the true advice. Thanks for the useful tips everyone who wants to travel solo should follow these tips.

    Happy travel

  11. As my cousin sister always traveled alone, we will forward your post to it and ensure that she will follow these tips for safety and security.

  12. No doubt, you have given good tips for the women who want to travel and explore the beauty of the world independently. Anyone should keep these advises in her mind for safe and happy trip. By the way, you look stunning….

  13. These are great tips – thank you! It can be daunting travelling as a female on your own, often due to speculation from others, but if you’re confident, up for adventure and follow these guidelines you definitely have nothing to worry about! The beauty of solo travel is the ability to immerse yourself in the community and to stumble upon those moments of international connection organically on your own. But as a woman, fears—sometimes innate—over the silliest things can spin into overdrive, especially in a foreign environment.