I’ve learned a lot about myself as a woman traveling solo. That’s my #1 reason for recommending it.
Traveling solo offers you a chance to follow your instincts, to meet new people, and to get “But aren’t you afraid to travel solo?”. Even after extolling its virtues, people almost always ask,
What’s to fear as a female solo traveler?
Although I’m a cheerleader for solo travel, I admit that bad things happen to good people. Among other unwelcomed experiences, I’ve had my wallet stolen some 2500 miles from home, and have run out of gas on a lonely Montana road.
I joined WBTV’s Kristen Miranda this week to talk about this, and there’s more to tell than I had time to say in that interview.
Safety concerns for solo travelers fall into a two main categories: financial inconvenience and bodily harm. Fortunately you can take precautions to address them both.
Top 5 safety precautions for women traveling alone
- Keep your money and credit cards in multiple locations. If something happens to one stash you will have a reserve.
- Make copies of your identification and the front and back of your credit cards. I upload these to Evernote so I can get to them even if my phone dies or is stolen.
- Never go to a place where your intentions will be “mis-perceived.” Think about it—being alone in a known “pick-up joint” is different than being alone in a farmer’s market!
- Wear a wedding band. If you are not married, it makes sense to wear a cheap wedding band (a $25 investment at most). If someone gets creepy you can always say you’re headed back to the hotel, where your hubby stayed behind to catch up on some email. The wedding band adds plausibility to your claim.
- Go where other people are. I’ve walked in NYC at midnight and felt absolutely safe because the sidewalks are full of others. If you think you are being followed, step into a crowded business, not into a side street or alleyway.
The good news is that if you are an American or Canadian reader I can personally vouch for the overall safety of your home country. Start there—where you speak and read the language—for your first solo adventure. Our countries are huge, after all, with plenty to see and do!