Is it possible for a woman to travel the world and stay safe? Absolutely. Even if you steer clear of resorts. Even if you go to developing countries. Even if you don’t speak the local language. Even if you’re traveling alone.
I created this site so I could help women travel safely and independently around the world. And after five years, it’s working — I get daily emails from women who have gone on their first backpacking trips, their first non-resort trips, their first solo trips, all because sites like mine gave them the confidence to do so. They survived, they thrived, and they had the time of their lives.
But the women who took these trips did so well in part because they prioritized their safety while traveling. What does that mean? Well, this list of travel safety tips for women will give you an idea!
Here are my top 10 travel safety tips for women:
Research Your Destination Thoroughly Before Your Trip
For many travelers, planning and researching is almost as fun as actually traveling! In between scoping out the most beautiful beaches and coolest cities, take some time to look up safety information for where you are headed.
What are the best neighborhoods and the ones you should avoid? Are there only certain kinds of taxis you should take? Is there a medical center in the city, just in case?
When it comes to your lodging, how are its ratings for safety? What are former guests saying about their experiences? Are there any patterns emerging in the reviews you should be concerned about?
How are you going to get around? What is public transportation like in your destination? Do you need to rent a car? Does the situation change at night?
Visit a travel clinic beforehand and talk to a doctor or nurse where you’re going. Do you need any vaccinations or prescriptions? Are there local health issues for which you should prepare?
When it comes to activities, especially adventure sports, what are the risks? If you injure yourself, will you be covered by your travel insurance?
This is the stuff to find out in advance, well before your trip begins.
Keep Your Valuables On You While in Transit
But you shouldn’t bring valuables in the first place!
True. You shouldn’t bring anything you would be despondent to lose: family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, your birth certificate, and the like.
Today people travel with an amount of technology that was unfathomable a decade ago. Most travelers bring a smartphone at the very least; many bring laptops, tablets, Kindles or other e-readers, DSLR cameras with pricey lenses, and more. When you consider the costs to replace any one of those items, they definitely count as valuables.
You should have a day bag into which you can fit all of your important items: your passport, your camera, your medication, your jewelry, your credit cards, your smartphone, and any other technology, photography or otherwise valuable equipment.
Never put these items into your general backpack. Never put these items into the luggage hold on a bus. Never put any of those items into your checked luggage on a plane. If you let them out of your sight, there’s a fair chance that they could be taken away from you forever.
Only Take What You Need and Leave the Rest Locked Up
There’s no need to go out for a walk in the city with all of your credit cards, your passport, and the equivalent of $500 in cash. Take what you need for the day: maybe around $50, tops, and a debit card, and keep the rest locked up in your accommodation.
Almost every reputable hostel has lockers available for guests. Use them if they have them. In guesthouses, hotel rooms, or other places that don’t have a locker or safe for you, use a portable safe instead: a slashproof bag you fill with your valuables and lock to a pipe or something else sturdy in the room.
Don’t Trust People Too Quickly
When you’re traveling in a new destination, and especially when you’re traveling on your own, it can be tempting to join up and find a tribe. Sometimes these tribes turn into lifelong friendships.
But they don’t always. Some con artists have mastered the art of befriending travelers, getting them to leave their valuables unattended, and robbing them before taking off.
When it comes to romance, you might want to crank up the speed when you meet someone outrageously sexy, but that’s not always the best idea. Sex is prevalent on the road, but be sure to protect yourself as much as possible.
Sometimes, we want to be part of a group so badly that we start trusting people before we should. Instead, err on the side of caution. If you’re just getting to know someone, don’t trust him or her to guard your expensive electronics while you’re in the bathroom.
It’s not rude to be cautious. Take things slowly, and if someone earns your trust, that’s when you depend on them.