Essential Travel Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers
Travel safety tips for solo travellers are the top stay safe rules for women.
It’s easy to be caught up in the thrill of an exciting adventure and new experiences.
When you are far from home, you need to remember travel security and safety, even if you know self-defence.
SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS
Read the news about the country you plan to visit has any political changes or travel restrictions.
Determine where you want to go.
Your original inspiration to travel may come from a magazine cover or even a movie you watch.
For me, it was Mamma Mia, the movie which was filmed in Greece.
You can travel better simply by understanding why you want to go, where you want to go and what you want to do.
Do research your destination.
- Check for travel warnings before entering any foreign country.
- Check if the destination you want to head to is safe for solo female travellers.
- Find out about visas and the length you can stay.
- Know the location of your home country’s embassy.
Research any local laws or regulations governing social visit pass (Visa).
In Malaysia, Immigration officials will place an entry stamp, known as a social visit pass (visa), in your passport, authorising a stay of up to 90 days.
Travellers may apply to the Malaysian Immigration Department for extensions of up to two months.
A Short-Term Pass / Social Visit: does not allow any form of employment in Malaysia.
Warning: Also, check for travel warnings before entering any foreign country. If you travel to Malaysia and Singapore, drug trafficking is punishable by death. Anyone who possesses over seven ounces of marijuana or one-half an ounce of heroin will be assumed to be a drug trafficker and will be tried.
Don’t draw attention – Be Aware of Your Clothing.
Find out how the local women dress? What are customs and body language considered appropriate and inappropriate?
Find out customs, culture, religious restrictions, and body language behaviour you should know.
Travel Tips: Dress appropriately at Immigration checkpoints.
Get Travel Insurance.
Essentially, when you take out travel insurance, you are covering yourself against travel risks.
- Accidental Death or Total Permanent Disability
- Medical Expenses Arising from Accident or Illness
- Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
- Unplanned Travel Inconveniences
- Emergency Trip Cancellation (Pre-Departure)
Your travel insurance cover Unplanned Travel Inconveniences (lost or stolen luggage, cancellation cover (due to unexpected medical reasons), unanticipated medical costs abroad – a sprained ankle, a tooth extraction, or an animal bite.
If something goes awry while you’re away, you’ll be covered.
If you aren’t sure which one to choose, first check with your credit card company to see if they included any travel insurance with your membership.
Please check your policy for exclusions and other details.
Plan your flights well.
I have been on cheap group tours to maximise every waking hour we have sightseeing.
Whilst flying at night and arriving first thing makes sense. If you are travelling alone, try to reach your destination by mid-afternoon that will give you time to find your hotel in daylight.
If you don’t like the hotel, you will have enough time to change your accommodation.
Remember to rest well on your first night and wake up, refresh the following day.
Not all airlines offer self-service check-in machines at international airports.
So, plan to reach your airport early and note possible jams along the way.
Travel Tip: When you travel multi cities, remember to have your air tickets home for inspection at the check-in counter.
Your Direction, Not Intention, Determines Your Destination
Splurge on Extra Safety.
Arrange for your initial transfer from the airport to the hotel.
I usually will arrive at my destination before booking a Grab to my hotel or Airbnb.
If your flight is in the early hours of the morning, it may be worth the extra cash to decide on a transfer from the airport to the hotel before you travel.
In case of any delays, the hotel transfer picks up will wait for you.
When you travel alone, hopping into a vehicle with a stranger can be nerve-wracking.
SAFETY OF YOUR BELONGINGS
You don’t have to bring everything and the kitchen sink with you!
Travel light and go further without lugging a giant suitcase. Not all hotels have a porter service or an elevator.
I remember staying at the beautiful Hotel Empress Zoe in Istanbul, which has a spiral staircase and no elevators.
Secure your luggage.
Remember to pack for the right season and pack light.
Personally, finding the right size and fit of clothing that you are accustomed can be challenging.
You will save money by packing light, plus you will be more mobile.
When I was in the US for two weeks, I checked in luggage for 25kg and 7kg cabin luggage.
I kept the essential that I can’t afford to lose with me.
My underwear, socks, thermal clothes, and an extra pair of prescription glasses.
You can always send your clothes to the laundry. Whatever you forget, you can buy it.
It takes a little planning. You can pack a colour-coordinated wardrobe in muted colours with a colour or two to pull it all together.
Lock Up Your Valuables.
Travelling with personal items you cannot bear to lose is a bad idea. The first rule of solo female traveller safety – everything you have with you can be replaced, except sentimental items.
If you travel with expensive camera gear, call your accommodation ahead about secure storage options like lockers or a locked storage area.
The hotel room safe is small and not able to keep bulky equipment.
If you are staying at backpacking hostels, carry your locker padlock.
STAY IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT.
Staying safe is very important as you will leave early and may come back late to your hotel.
Remember to check the distance to the airport.
Safeguard your hotel room.
It is vital to exercise hotel safety.
- Ask reception to write the room number down instead of saying it audibly.
- Have your door key out and ready for use when you get off the elevator.
- Please don’t fill out a meal card and leave it on the door; this shows you are alone.
- Call room service instead of placing your order over the phone.
- Get a door stopper alarm to wedge it under your door while you sleep.
Don’t Share Too Much with Strangers.
Only your family back home needs to know where you are staying.
Your accommodation is your haven.
If someone you just met ask where you stay, it’s easy to be vague.
Don’t tell people where you’re staying for security reasons.
Not every stranger you meet is a friend – these are the dangers of travelling.
Trust your instincts.
In casual conversation, folks will ask general questions like:
- How are you?
- Where are you from?
If questioned about where you are staying, don’t disclose that information.
Never, ever, ever tell a stranger that you’re travelling alone.
If asked if I’m travelling alone, I usually tell strangers that I’m meeting my husband shortly.
- Use common sense when travelling abroad alone.
- Don’t end up walking alone late at night.
- Buddy up with a fellow woman traveller
- Venture out in gropes
- If you plan on drinking, do not leave your drink unattended.
If something doesn’t feel right, ALWAYS trust your gut feeling.
“My Spider-Sense is tingling!” For Peter Parker, it was a tingling sensation that alerted him to an imminent threat.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Always Stay Alert.
Having a travel playlist is excellent, but keep your music volume low when you use in-ear headphones or earbuds.
It would be best if you heard an alarm or someone walking up behind you.
Maintain your confidence.
Try always to look confident. Keep your head up, shoulders back, and eyes straight ahead.
If you get lost, go into a nearby shop to look at your map discreetly. 7 Elevens are good places to head to if you are lost.
You can ask a shop employee for directions.
If there aren’t any shops open, I will look for a woman with children or her family to ask for directions.
Keep your contact list close to you. Paste a copy inside your suitcase.
Memorise Emergency Numbers.
9-1-1 is not universal.
Memorise the emergency contact number for the country you’re visiting.
Register with Your Embassy.
You can use a registration program so that you will receive emergency alerts.
That way, if anything pops off while I’m abroad (like a natural disaster, protest, or coup d’état), I’ll get an alert.
Find out the contact and location of your embassy in the county you will be visiting.
Make copies of important documents.
Keep your passport and other important documents secure.
Remember to make backup copies by on you.
You can take photos of your document and store it on Google drive.
You can also keep a set at home with a trusted contact.
Write Emergency Info.
Create an “Emergency Plan” on your phone for you to follow if things go wrong.
Write on a small card Emergency contact Info, get it laminated and keep it in your wallet/purse.
Good info. Includes numbers for local police or ambulance services or directions to the nearest embassy for your country.
Keep your friends and family updated.
Whether you call, text, or use social media, check in with friends or family periodically.
Leave a copy of your general itinerary with someone you trust at home.
That way, they’ll know your general schedule and where you’re slated to be on which dates.
If you go to an area where there is no Wi-Fi, remember to update your friends and family before and after that brief trip.
I remember staying in Calumpit in the province of Bulacan, Philippines, without Wi-Fi.
I stayed by the river and had the most relaxing time of my life.
While the break from screens and technology was relaxing, it also meant that I couldn’t touch the home base and vice versa.
Free Public Wi-Fi is Not Secure.
Don’t let the convenience of Free Internet access cloud your judgment.
When you use public Wi-Fi, hackers looking to steal valuable information can access your data, including credit card or Social Security numbers.
If you do need wireless Internet service, set up a virtual private network (VPN) that will allow you to access the internet securely while travelling.
Food & Water Safety.
Being careful with food and water hygiene is crucial. However, don’t fear trying new food when you travel.
Eating strange new food is an adventure and the highlights of their trips.
I’ve only had one unpleasant episode of food poisoning in all my years of travel.
I had dinner at a well-known restaurant and suffered the entire flight home.
- Eat at popular places with long lines.
- Try to watch how your food is prepared.
- Pack translation cards to express your allergies
- Some food contains peanuts, which are crushed or in powder form.
- Thoroughly cooked food is always the safest.
- Only eat peel-able fruit to avoid bacteria.
Buying bottled water everywhere you go creates a considerable impact on the environment.
If you can, get a reusable, sturdy filtered bottle. Just remember not to leave it behind (like me).
You do not have to eat alone.
There are so many ways to have company over dinner – if that’s what you want.
You can join cooking classes today tours to themed dinners.
Stay local, buy local, ask locals for advice.
I like to stay in locally owned accommodation or Airbnb to support the local economy.
I like to eat local food and buy local produce and crafts.
Some of the best coffees are locally brewed and not from chains.
Meet other women travellers.
You can build friendships with women around the world. I’ve made friends with the owners of the Airbnb I stayed with.
Following these tips can help you travel safely, but no matter how many precautions you take, the unexpected can always happen.
Stay protected with travel insurance and get peace of mind no matter where you go.
When you understand how important it is to stay safe and take precautions, you will have enriching travel experiences.
Let’s have a conversation and a cuppa!