Safe, Smart, Solo Female Travel 

/, Travel hacks/Safe, Smart, Solo Female Travel 

Safe, Smart, Solo Female Travel 

As a traveling woman of the 21st century who identifies as a feminist, I hate to say that I have learned it is still very much “a man’s world” out there.  While traveling alone, I’ve realized the importance of being cognizant of this and acting accordingly.
Before I left the states I never wanted to believe men still rule most of the world on a societal level.  I never wanted to acknowledge that it would be much safer to travel alone if I were a man.  My perspective is one from a place with (mostly) very equal rights and I didn’t realize how different the rest of the world can be in regards to how women are treated.  Every place is a new learning experience that broadens my horizons.  I have adapted, and strengthened, because of it.
With that adaptation to my surroundings and strengthened independence there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that I want to pass on.  (And if nothing else, “Mom: this one’s for you. I’m out here and I’m being safe, so don’t worry!”)

  • Blend in and be respectful of local customs.  If you’re in a country where the women dress more conservatively, follow suit!  Or risk experiencing a massive level of awkwardness.  Men, and women, will stare at you like a pariah.  You will stick out like a sore thumb- something you never want to do while traveling alone.   
  • Slum it up.  Want to know the fastest way to attract a pickpocketer?  Dress in your nice clothes and carry your favorite handbag.  (Admittedly, I do really miss my handbags and nice clothes back home, but that’s another story.)  Traveling, especially long term, isn’t supposed to be glamorous.  Dress down.  Slum it up and enjoy the time saved on getting ready.     
  • Keep your chin up.  Always.  Not feeling confident about the situation/place you’re passing through?  Fake it till you make it baby!  That’s my motto and it’s gotten me through 13 countries in the last 4.5 months.  This mentality will not only help you from point A to point B, it will help you build confidence in yourself.
  • Block it out (or pretend to).  Wear headphones.  When I’ve been in places like Istanbul or Barcelona, where the catcalling and harassment on the streets is bad, I learned quickly to only walk around alone with my headphones in to block it all out.  Sometimes I didn’t even have music playing and I’d just pretend I didn’t hear the outside noise.  I found this was the best mechanism after days of harassment that was really starting to get to me.    IMG_2647
  • Find someone to follow close behind.  Crowded streets can be very stressful and dangerous.  It’s important to not stick out as being alone.  I once latched onto a large local man in Turkey, following him very closely from behind as we made our way through the crowded Taksim street.   When I walked alone I was harassed, but when I made it seem I was a part of this random man’s family walking ahead of me, I was left alone.     
  • Drink smart.  Take a drink from the bartender only!  A nice man wants to buy you a drink?  Great!  Walk with him to the bar.  You never know who is who on the road.  You’re alone and vulnerable- you may as well have a “target” sign on your forehead- so drinking has to be done with some level of intelligence.  IMG_2869
  • Trust your inner compass.  Always listen to that quiet (or sometimes loud) voice inside telling you what or what not to do.  Your instincts are more powerful than you think!

Travel is the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself and I highly encourage all women (and men) to jump out of their comfort zones and into a foreign country.  What you gain from solo travel, especially as a woman, is a kick ass attitude and higher confidence levels.  You learn that you can tackle anything and can always hold your own- even in sticky situations.  Put one foot in front of the other and always keep moving.
Trust me, it’s so worth it.

By |2016-01-10T00:50:53+00:00January 10th, 2016|Solo Female Travel, Travel hacks|9 Comments

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? SheGoesGlobal.net is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.

9 Comments

  1. Sheree - The Fashionable Backpacker January 10, 2016 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Great tips – I always try to respect the local culture (even if I don’t agree with it). I must say, though, I have a lot less trouble than my friends, I think because I’m mixed race so I have dark hair and skin I blend in more than someone with blonde hair. It’s so rare to see a blonde in some countries that people stare- being with my fair mum or friends I feel so lucky I manage to mostly avoid cat calls. Or it could be that I’m massively ugly. LOL. anyway, I love your blog. Sheree 🙂 xx

  2. Lynne Weinsrock-Currie January 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Love your blog as usual and there are some great tips in there for fellow travelers……especially blondes. Haha

  3. Alex Schnee January 11, 2016 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Great tips!

  4. probearoundtheglobe January 11, 2016 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Great tips, the art of dressing appropriate are somethimes difficult to read but are so important. Great other tips tho! Wouldn’t occur to me about the drinking.

  5. anxiousgeek January 16, 2016 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Great advice. The tip about drinks is good anywhere.

  6. lakisha January 21, 2016 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I plan on traveling solo soon, thanks for the tips!

  7. Ellen Rose July 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    100% agree with this! I loved the freedom of travelling solo so much 🙂

  8. […] use a one-way ticket and fly to Lima, Peru with my best girlfriend Tyguenne.  No longer a “Solo Female Traveler,” I’m going to be traipsing around with my BFF, wing woman and Soul Sista from Another […]

  9. It seems to me that you are a very experienced traveler because you very clearly and well formulate your thoughts into tips that will be useful for us.

Leave A Comment