Safety Tips for Women Travelling Alone
Safety Tips for Women Travelling Alone
- Pack light – A very good tip for women travelling alone: leave your heaviest suitcase at home. Either take a backpack or one of your smaller rolling suitcases. I’m a fan of a rolling suitcase. Don’t take the biggest suitcase and try to pack light. You don’t need four pairs of shoes and three outfits you won’t wear.
- Paranoia – It’s okay to be paranoid. If fact, I HIGHLY encourage it. Keep your head on a swivel. Keep your hand on your bag, wear a money belt and be cautious of strangers.
- Don’t Panic – If you get lost, do not panic. Simply find a spot to open your map (maybe in a store or around the corner) and figure things out or ask someone for directions. I usually try to find couples or ask a local shopkeeper for help if I can’t figure it out for myself. But if you keep your wits, you can probably figure things out yourself. But don’t show your panic.
- Clothing – Don’t bring your formal clothing. Maybe one or two outfits if you plan on going out but otherwise, bring comfortable clothing. You may be walking a lot so be prepared with good walking shoes. I want to tell you to blend in with the locals but sometimes you cannot and you will stand out like a tourist. Blend in if you can but don’t worry about wearing those comfy walking shoes and sticking out.
- Jewels – leave them at home. Simple advice but important and maybe one of the better tips for women travelling alone. This will help with your safety!
- Loose Lips – Be careful when talking to strangers. You don’t need to tell them you’re all alone or where you hotel is located. I have met some wonderful people during my travels and this is where having some street smarts or even common sense comes in: assess whether you need to tell this person all your travel details such as your room number. You can be a bit vague; nothing wrong with that.
- Glug Glug – This is another important tip to help keep women travelling alone safe! Take it easy on alcohol. Yes you can still go have a rockin’ good time at Oktoberfest but don’t drink too much that you can’t find your way back to your hotel.
- Hotel/Hostel – I would choose a hotel/hostel that is centrally located AND near a metro stop. You will probably spend most of your time in the city centre and if not, the metro is nearby so you can have a quick walk back to your hotel after a long busy day of sightseeing.
- Nighttime – Be careful taking the metro late at night. You can still do this BUT just be careful. I travel alone around Europe all the time and while I do take the metro late at night and walk to my hotel in the dark, I am VERY careful about my surroundings. Cross the street if you’re uncomfortable about someone walking behind you; stick around a store for a few moments until you are more sure; walk confidently; take the bus instead; know your route before leaving the metro/bus stop. Otherwise, you can always take a taxi.
- Avoiding scams – if someone approaches you on the street, be aware they may be trying to scam you. Google travel scams and you will see a long list – maybe they want you to sign a petition (I was warned about that one 5 mins before it happened – I never would have signed it anyway but always good to know what the local scams may be), try giving you a rose, tying a friendship bracelet on your wrist or “finding” a ring on the ground and offering to sell it to you. These are all scams to make you pay up or designed to distract you and pickpocket you. If you take the rose and they demand money, give back the rose and strongly tell them to leave. Usually when you raise your voice, they leave you alone. Also check out your restaurant bills for extra items or incorrect prices.
- Keep a copy of your passport and any important documents (such as credit cards) and also email a copy to yourself. You may even want to give a copy to a family member. This will be helpful in case your passport is stolen or you are pickpocketed. Also keep important contact information for your banking information in case you need to cancel them AND contact info for your local embassy, police station and hotel/hostel..
These are just a few of my tips. Government of Canada’s travel page has some good female-specific tips and a general travel tips website. Use them – I have in the past! So what tips would you recommend?