Travel safety for women is an issue. Lonely Planet devotes at least a paragraph to it in every single book they publish.
Being female should not be an excuse for staying home, but the sad reality is that often women travelers do need to be more cautious than men, especially if traveling solo.
Still, many women travel alone and have a blast. How? By being sensible and following the tips below.
Ways to stay safe:
- Leave the diamonds at home. Flashing bling will not help you stay unnoticed.
- Don’t swing a handbag. Either put your bag right over your shoulder, so thieves can’t grab and run, or wear a money belt with a minimal amount of cash.
- Be aware of local standards of dress. Don’t bounce around the beach in a bikini if locals cover up. In more conservative countries, keep shoulders and legs covered and wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Look confident. Walk with a purposeful stride and keep to public streets.
- In some countries, solo women travelers are highly unusual. Either find a travel companion or avoid empty places and don’t wander round after sundown.
- Don’t respond to stares and catcalls. If a man is trying to get your attention, ignore him. Responding may be seen as sassy and egg him on. Look away and move on.
- Consider wearing a ring and calling yourself ‘Mrs.’. It says you’re taken and may deter unwanted attention.
- Take a self-defense course. This can come in handy anytime and may make you feel more confident. But use only if being attacked – don’t start the fight!
- If attacked, make a lot of noise and fight back if you can. Afterwards, seek help immediately.
Doubtless this advice will make things sound much worse than they’re likely to be. The trick is to be alert and careful. Don’t let the fear of the unlikely stop you from going, just be prepared.