Tips for women travelling solo
The downside of travelling solo, especially for women, is that you probably need to rein in total spontaneity for the sake of self-preservation. That is the sad reality – a woman travelling alone can be a target. Don’t despair though; it doesn’t mean the end of your dream of heading out the door on your own pilgrimage. It just means being prepared and being vigilant. Here are some tips for travelling solo:
This may sound obvious, but be careful with whom you get involved. Use only known or popular public transport, and stay away from unmarked taxis. Socialise, fall in love, do all the things you hoped you’d do while travelling, but remember that Brokedown Palace was based on a true story. Sadly, women travelling solo are often targeted to be unsuspecting drug mules, so be aware of those who show just a little too much interest in you, ALWAYS pack your own bags and be sure to lock them yourself.
If your trip entails many destinations (lucky!), ensure that someone back home knows your itinerary. From experience, my own dear mother was only too happy to know my exact whereabouts at all times. Sometimes she knew my trip better than I did! This is a good way to feel safe. If you are making it up as you go along, make sure that you inform someone back home where you are off to next and what mode of transport you will be using. Include the names of people you’ve met – the more information about where you are and who you are with, the better. Stay active on social media and keep in contact with friends and family. You’re less likely to be a target if you’re regularly in touch with people back home.
Some basics: travel with mace/pepper spray (but not in your hand luggage on a flight), use well-known travel organisations and tour companies, and when backpacking, stick in groups. You’ll easily find a bunch of other backpackers travelling solo – do activities with them (it’s often cheaper this way, too) and try not to do things alone. Be wary – something that looks too good to be true, usually is.
I didn’t want to ruin my travels by being too paranoid, but the above measures made me feel safe and kept me (mostly) out of trouble. Sadly, the world today isn’t a safe place to just wander off into the wilderness, especially for women travelling alone. You need to be vigilant, but STILL have a blast!