Last Updated on January 24, 2024
In an ideal world, we’d be free to explore the world without any worries, to travel far and wide, and not have to think about things like safety. The reality though is that any kind of travel comes with risks, especially if you’re a woman traveling solo.
What that doesn’t mean though is that we should stay at home, it just means taking a few extra steps to make sure you’re making sensible choices and keeping yourself as safe as possible. Put in the extra work at the planning stage and you can free yourself up to enjoy your experience of a new destination.
Use trusted sites for your flights and accommodation
Before you go anywhere, one easy step to make sure your trip is as safe as possible is to use reputable sites for booking your travel. There are lots of sites offering flight and hotel deals, but there are also lots of reviews, ratings and other indicators to help you get it right!
It’s possible to get great deals and stay safe at the same time. If you book your travel with eDreams, you can get discounts when you book your flight and hotel as a package and also read their travel tips to help you find the most suitable arrangements for you. Their search engine allows you to filter results and find hotels that can be cancelled free of charge, which is an extra benefit if you’re traveling alone and on a tight budget.
Choose your destination carefully
You can’t apply the same rules wherever you go as local demographics, politics, and economics will all play a role in how safe somewhere is for women to visit. It makes sense to research potential destinations before you go and to perhaps err on the side of caution, especially if you’re new to independent travel.
A good place to start is the Safe Cities Index. Put together biannually by The Economist and based on masses of research about a huge range of safety indicators, the index could help you put together a shortlist of where you want to travel or help you decide based on safety if you’re stuck between two destinations. In the latest report, the safest five cities in the world were Copenhagen, Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
Remember that within cities there will be areas that are safer than others, so balance out the high-level stats by reading blogs for other solo female travelers to pick up more specific destination tips about where to stay and what to avoid.
Don’t forget the travel details
Be cautious too when it comes to the extras like booking airport parking. A lot of airports have dozens of independent companies offering meet-and-greet style airport parking services, but not all of them are reliable. Be sure to do your research and read other people’s experiences. The last thing you want is to end up stranded at the airport in the middle of the night. When in doubt, go with official airport services for parking.
Think too about your airport transfers and timings. It might be tempting to book cheaper flights at off-peak times, but do you want to arrive at an unfamiliar airport in the early hours of the morning? Ideally, opt for flight times that get you in during daylight and plan out your public transport route in advance or have transfers booked in advance from a reputable local service.
Check your travel insurance
If the worst happens and you are ill while you’re traveling, need hospital treatment, lose your luggage, or similar, you’ll want to know that help is on hand, which is why travel insurance is vital. Don’t just sign up for the first thing that comes up in Google though: take some time to find a travel insurance policy that fits your needs.
Make sure that you know exactly what your travel insurance covers before you go and that you have the details with you. Send a copy to a friend too in case of emergencies – there’s no point looking for the details in your bag if your bag has been stolen.
Be aware of your surroundings
A lot of being safe as a woman traveling alone comes down to awareness, of yourself, your surroundings, and the people around you. Is somewhere crowded and bustling? Keep a tight hold of your bag. Move to a different carriage and trust your gut if you feel like something isn’t right and look out for clues in body language from other people. Most locations have some form of transport police or travel support: acquaint yourself with those.
While you’re traveling, focus on making connections and having interactions with other women. Keep near brightly lit, occupied places if you’re lost. Many cities have women-only hostels or dorm rooms – pick these over a mixed dorm.
Plan out an itinerary in advance
This might not sound like the most adventurous approach, but it makes sense if you’re traveling alone to at least have a vague idea of where you’re heading so that you can leave details of your route with a friend or family member. Another option is to use phone tracking services like the Find My app to share your location with people you trust. This could also come in handy should you lose your phone and need to trace it. (Tip: Make sure you have some emergency contacts and email login details written down so that losing your phone doesn’t mean losing contact with everyone).
Ideally, you should arrange a series of regular check-ins so that someone back at home knows that you’re safe at regular intervals. Make these quite broad – don’t tell your mum you’ll phone her at 7 pm on a specific day if you don’t know whether or not you’ll have access to a phone as she will worry!
The most important part of any travel, the bit that makes it all worthwhile, is the fun! Yes, it’s important to be safe, but if you do your research, and make good choices, then you’ll be able to properly relax and enjoy yourself!