If you are a woman backpacker, particularly a solo woman backpacker, you’ll often hear people say that it’s too dangerous, too unsafe, and that quite simply, you shouldn’t do it.
Whilst it is important to be aware of the additional dangers being a solo woman backpacker can bring, you shouldn’t put off doing something you love because of some scare stories. Exploring the world can be a life changing experience, and as long as you do your research first and are aware of the safety risks, then there’s no reason not to take the plunge. We’ve created a list of the top 5 safety tips for solo women backpackers, to help you stay safe around the world.
Always stay alert of your surroundings when travelling to new places. Be cautious when being approached by strangers, and don’t give out too much personal information, such as how long you’ll be there for or where you’re staying. Make sure that you’re aware of common scams and protect your belongings when out in public, particularly in busy tourist areas.
When you’re travelling, you don’t want to bring unwanted attention to yourself. This means respecting the local culture, following their cultural norms and dressing appropriately. For example, wearing an off the shoulder dress in a temple in Bali is considered offensive, so it’s important to respect this and cover up. Also make sure you’re aware of local behaviours; for example, it is considered a sexual advance in the Middle East to catch a guy’s eye and smile, even though for many Westerners, this is a sign of friendliness. Read up on the local culture before you go to understand what is and isn’t appropriate.
Whilst in most cases it’s perfectly fine just to wait until you arrive at your destination to find somewhere to stay, if you’re arriving at night, having a room pre-booked somewhere is a quick and safe option to consider. Wandering around at night on your own, trying to find somewhere to stay, can be unsafe. As soon as the sun rises, you can go and out and find a more affordable option
This might seem extreme, but taking a self defence class before you head off on your travels can be a great way to make you feel more at ease when you’re travelling. Knowing that you have the knowledge to protect yourself in case you are in the wrong place at the wrong time can be rewarding, and make you feel more comfortable when in unfamiliar places.
Wearing a fake wedding ring might seem odd, but it can help to divert unwanted attention from men in countries where they can be very forward. It’s not going to help protect you from every man, but a flash of the wedding ring can help to ease off some of the attention.
Travelling as a solo female traveller can be an exhilarating experience. Do you research before you go and keep your wits about you. Follow your common sense and intuition, and remember to have fun.