As much as I’d like to say that travel is the best thing you can do (and it is in my opinion), I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention some of the ways travel can go wrong. When you’re on your own, in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by unfamiliar people you’re bound to uncover some tricky situations. And, unfortunately, if you’re a woman or non-binary or gender fluid you’re likely to encounter these situations more often than not compared to men. So, here are some safety measures you can take to make sure you’re staying as safe as possible while you’re off having the time of your life.

  1. Download the map of where you’re going.
    • Google Maps really pops off when it comes to its usefulness during travel. One of the best features it provides is the ability to download a map of a certain area on your phone so that you can use it when you’re offline. This really comes in handy if you end up having Sim trouble, which you will likely encounter at some point when travelling between countries, or if you tend to use up all your data very quickly. While you won’t be able to get real-time directions from your location to where you want to go, you will be able to see your location on the map and follow the general route you need to take. Furthermore, downloading it allows you to store all your favourited or starred locations in a city so that you constantly have access to some ideas of fun things to do wherever you may be. 
  2. Share your location
    • Always give your family and/or friends back home a general itinerary. They don’t need to know where you are every hour of every day but it’s good for them to know which countries you will be travelling to and when. Before I left on my trip, I gave my family a brief overview of where I would be going and how long I’d be staying in each country. I’d update as much as possible if plans changed but at least they had a general idea of my route so that if I didn’t get in touch for a while they would know where to expect me to be. 
  3. Avoid answering specific questions about your travel plans
    • When you are making friends in hostels or on a night out, you may be tempted to lay out your entire itinerary to them. However, unless this is a person you can honestly say you trust with your safety, it’s best to leave your answers to any questions about if you’re solo travelling and where you’re headed next, open-ended rather than giving specific details. If you want, you can even make up a fun cover story to offer to people. I’m not saying to outright lie (unless that’s what’s best for your safety) as you may want to become friends with the person, you’re talking to but in the initial stages of interacting it’s definitely best to keep some of that mystery. Not only will it keep you safe, but it may leave them wanting more.  
  4. Always read reviews on places you plan on staying and/or frequenting
    • When it comes to choosing a hostel or Airbnb or what have you, security should be something you place close attention to. On Hostel World look through the reviews to see how easy it is for people off the street to get access to the building, for instance, some hostels have their own bars open to the public in which case you want to make sure that there are going to be secure doors separating access to the bar from access to the dorm floors. Furthermore, if you’re signing up for a tour or anything of the sort look through the reviews to see how people have rated their experiences. If you’re a solo travelling
      woman, you may even want to look for reviews from similar people who have used the service to see how safe they felt throughout. Unfortunately, not every hotel owner or tour provider is as trustworthy with our safety as we’d like them to be. 
  5. Have fun but be aware of your surroundings
    • There are a lot of people that will recommend avoiding things like drinking and going out late at night altogether. However, as someone who personally likes the occasional party and finds exploring a city at night to be an opportunity to see it in a whole new light, I wouldn’t say you need to be that extreme. That being said you’re going to want to take certain precautions especially if you’re a solo female traveller. This could mean maybe not drinking as much as you normally would on a night out (while it makes for a good story if everything turns out alright, a blackout night could also end in disaster). If you’re going out drinking stick by people you know such as people from your hostel. Furthermore, if you plan on walking around or using public transport at night keep your eyes and ears open, meaning no listening to music no matter how aesthetic and vibey it may be.  

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