Travelling alone as a woman can be a liberating experience. The freedom to choose where you go and what you do, as well as the unpredictability of a solo trip, can turn a standard holiday into a thrilling adventure. But there are certain precautions you should take to make sure you stay safe and prepared for every eventuality. Follow our guide that’s full of tips for women travelling alone to stay relaxed and confident on your journey, while your friends and family at home remain reassured that you’re safe and well.
Before you leave
Having a loved one travel alone can be worrying for friends and family, so make sure you send them an itinerary of your trip, including flight and hotel details. This will not only give them some peace of mind but also an alternative contact point in case there’s any problem with your mobile.
While you have cheap wi-fi, take the chance to download anything and everything you may need for your trip. Maps, guides, translation apps, music, audiobooks – think about where you’re going and what you may need, and fill your phone.
Travel Insurance is a must. You should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling in Europe, but this will only provide you with basic medical treatment. Travel insurance can provide valuable cover for your baggage, money and other property. It's important to check your travel insurance policy covers your needs.
What to pack
Women who are travelling alone don’t necessarily need to take a huge amount of stuff to get them through a holiday. Indeed, one of the pleasures of solo travel is having the freedom to wear what you like, as many times as you like. Saying that, you’ll still need the basics, so a good tip would be to pack simple, light clothes you can mix and match, along with a couple of long skirts or dresses if you’re going to countries that require more modesty in say, religious buildings.
Another important tip is to pack copies of all your travel documents in case the originals get lost or stolen, a copy of the prescription of any medication you need to take, birth control if you take it, and a well-stocked first-aid kit. A travel washing line plus washing liquid are also useful if you want to avoid expensive laundry bills.
In general, solo travel for women involves the same rules as at home: stick to busy areas, avoid dark or non-tourist areas at night, and if you feel uncomfortable, then walk into the nearest busy café or restaurant. Of course, there will be times when you will be alone, so make sure you know exactly how you’re getting to your destination before you set off, walk briskly and confidently, and don’t be tempted to take shortcuts away from the busy roads. Try to use public transport where you can, but only use registered taxis. It may be useful for you to know where the nearest British embassy is in the area you’re travelling to, in case you have any emergency requirements.
Where to stay
Depending on your budget, you could be staying in a five-star hotel or a backpacker’s hostel, but book somewhere in advance and take some time to check its safety record. Aim to stay in a busy area of a town or city and if your hotel has a concierge, talk to them about places to avoid and the safest way to travel around the area.
One of the pleasures of travelling is meeting new people, but as a solo female traveller, there are certain precautions you should take. The main one is to keep the fact that you’re travelling alone to yourself, as well as any details of where you’re staying. Marking yourself out as a woman who’s alone in a foreign country can be a dangerous move.
It’s far better to meet people in the daytime then, if you trust them, meet them later at night, rather than the other way around. Your senses will be sharper in the daytime and you can get a better idea of what the other person is like.
Finally, stay in control of the situation. That means watching how much alcohol you drink, never leaving your drink unattended, and if you don’t feel comfortable, walk away and find somewhere safe.
There are certain areas of the world that may appear intimidating to women travelling alone, such as the Middle East. Unwanted male attention and the question of what to wear can deter the solo female from visiting these fascinating places. But with a bit of research and self-confidence, there’s no reason why you can’t add these countries to your travel plans. Consider your dress code and perhaps dial up on modesty to respect the local culture you plan on immersing yourself into.