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4 Tips for Solo Women Travellers

Updated on October 2, 2016
Kelli Woolworth profile image

Kelli graduated with a Conflict Studies and Mediation degree with a minor in Sustainability.

Backpacking in Alaska '13
Backpacking in Alaska '13

For women, as there are physical limitations we must acknowledge (as much as I think my 5'5'' build could take down anyone), and therefore must properly prepare for our travels to ensure that we make it back home safely. When you are confident (or at least exude confidence) while travelling, you are much more likely to avoid problems.

1. Resources

Make sure you have adequate resources for "just in case". Have your phone charger on you as much as you can (hell, bring 2). Try to have your phone charged as much as possible. Have an emergency contact list on you or in your bags. If you're visiting someone, have their information on you as well. If you know how long you will be travelling or even have a planned itinerary, give this information to someone you trust at home- this way if you don't come home for whatever reason they will know when you were supposed to/possibly where you are (if you have that itinerary....I never have one! Oops). Another good idea is to look up important emergency phone numbers of the areas you will be visiting.
Recap:

  • Phone charger/charged phone as much as possible
  • Emergency contact list
  • General itinerary for family/friends at home
  • Emergency phone numbers for location travelling too (police, embassy, hospital, etc)

2. Papers, Documents, and IDs

Keep track of these, they are extremely important! Your ID, passport, tickets, credit/debit cards, money, etc. These things can create a major issue for your travels if you misplace them. I like to keep them all together in a wallet or folder. When it comes to the airport, this is key for a smooth ride. Also, I like to take a small amount of "emergency" cash that I hide in my belongings in case my wallet is lost or stolen. If you lose your passport, you will have to contact the embassy which you are from located in the country you are visiting. If you for whatever reason lose all your cash/cards, money orders are always an option if you have someone willing to send you one.

Recap:

  • Bring necessary papers & documents
  • Keep track of them in a folder and/or wallet
  • Emergency cash hidden in bags
  • Know how money orders work 'just in case'

3. Be Confident [and if you're not, fake it]

A major thing I tell people travelling solo for the first time, and honestly good advice for any sort of travel, is to exude confidence. If you're lost, confused, scared, try your absolute best not to show it! Right when you show that sort of vulnerability it opens you up to becoming a visible target. Not to say this is going to happen, the fact is that it can happen so it's better to avoid it. If you look like you know where you are going or what you are doing, it's less likely someone will view you as a vulnerable and target you. This also pools over into cultural sensitivity, which is another entire topic I could write about buuuut ~not the time~. Make sure you know somewhat about the culture you are visiting (personally I'd say to extensive research BUT that's me). Some cultures find certain "dress" inappropriate- shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops may be okay where you are from but can be very disrespectful in another.

Recap:

  • Confidence minimizes vulnerability
  • Know the culture

Hanging with local kiddos in Tanzania.
Hanging with local kiddos in Tanzania. | Source

4. Basic Safety Knowledge

For those travelling on an airplane, certain personal safety weapons may or may not be allowed. Typically it's best to put any you may want to bring in your checked baggage, but to be sure it is allowed check the airlines policies. I've carried a jacknife for most of my life because it has great utility and safety use. Pepper spray, or other knives are also options. Make sure you know how to properly take care of/use these items as they can turn into a danger for yourself if you do not know how. Also, taking a self defense course before you travel may be smart and instill further confidence in yourself.

The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.

— Albert Einstein

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