10 Tips for Staying Safe as a Solo Female Traveler

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I’ve been traveling around the world on my own for seven years, seven years of beautiful moments, major screw-ups and everything in between.

Lucky enough, I learned more about myself and how to stay safe on the road than I could have ever imagined.

Here are 10 of my best tips for staying safe as a solo female traveler around the world.

1. Dress like a local

In my opinion this one could be highly debatable and theoretically women should be able to dress how they like wherever they go, but that is just not realistic.

One of the best lessons I learned traveling alone over the years is how to blend in, and that means dressing like a local when necessary.

If that means covering your hair, cover your hair. Or wear long sleeves or loose clothes, etc. It’s important to do some research before traveling and check out what the local customs are.

It’s often good to not draw attention to yourself on the road if you want to be left alone.

New Zealand

2. Don’t get wasted

Getting blitzed drunk while traveling alone is never a good idea – you open yourself up to all kinds of problems.

3. Don’t tell people where you’re staying

Blinding flash of the obvious – if you are traveling alone as a women and you meet people, don’t mention where you are staying, especially if you feel uncomfortable.

No one really needs to know the name of your hotel, and if you make plans to meet someone, meet at a local landmark or point instead.

The majority of the time, nothing will happen, but a little self-preservation never went amiss.

4. If you feel uncomfortable alone, join a day tour.

I went to Turkey alone back in 2013, it was right after the murder of an American woman traveling alone and I was met with so much skepticism and fear mongering I almost canceled my flights.

Luckily I’m stubborn and decided I needed to see for myself everything that was going on. Still I was nervous walking around Istanbul alone so I decided to join some tours to get to know the city.

I went on a market and spice tour with Turkish Flavours and also went on some cooking classes. It was the perfect introduction to Turkey and helped me get comfortable being there alone later on.

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Istanbul, Turkey
Enjoying Istanbul, Turkey

5. Avoid being “forward” when necessary

It’s really important to remember that in many cultures around the world, women who are very outgoing can be seen as being “forward.”

This means anything from making eye contact with men walking down the street to being super chatty with people in shops to dressing in tight clothes.

I am a very friendly person and I love talking with strangers and meeting locals on the road, but over the years I have learned to lean on the side of caution after I have had one too many men think I was trying to hook up with them or go out when in fact, I was just being myself.

6. Learn to read situations

It’s really important as a solo female travel to learn to read situations and if you feel in anyway uncomfortable or nervous, get the hell out of there.

Don’t worry about offending people or being rude, self-preservation is the most important thing and to stay safe.

7. Book a few things in advance

One of the situations I hate being in the most while traveling is showing up in a new city or place at night with nothing booked.

I am one of those travelers who prefers to “wing it” but I am careful about booking things for when I arrive straight off the plane in a new place or if I know I will be arriving somewhere at night, just to avoid any unwanted scenarios.

8. Carry a doorstop

One of my best tips for solo female travelers is to carry a little plastic doorstop.

It takes up no space and is great to have to shove under flimsy hotel room doors at night just in case of someone trying to come in.

9. And also a whistle

You never know when you’re going to need a travel safety whistle. Many great backpacks have built-in whistles in the straps.

10. Trust your instincts

Over time, you will learn to develop good instincts on the road which will really help you as a solo traveler.

I am a big advocate of building experience on the road.

For your first solo trip, maybe head to a place that’s considered an easier destination, where they speak the same language, have a small population or a very tourist-friendly, like Iceland or New Zealand before working on to places that can be more challenging, like India or Egypt.

Obviously, people have different instincts and learn different ways, so what works for me can be totally different than what works for you, but at the end of the day, my best piece of advice is learn to trust those instincts!


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27 thoughts on “10 Tips for Staying Safe as a Solo Female Traveler”

    1. Well Kathryn, off the top of my head I would say that the level of violence against women, especially rape as opposed to men would be why we need specific tips on how to stay safe when travelling alone.

  1. The culture difference is the one thing I struggle the most. I come from South America and let’s say we’re not scared to touch people. Even to the ones we just meet, we will touch their arm for whatever reason, but when I moved to France I noticed that some men thought I was flirting! The most simple things (for me) can attract the wrong kind of attention.

  2. Well said.. all the tips are helpful in most of the situations. different countries have different culture and its kinda really important to blend into environment and think before what your doing. Really amazing photos though and nice to know your amazing experiences. thanks for the info.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I am starting my trip this September and this article will be really helpful. Denmark is said to be the safest place but being prepared never goes in vain. Keep sharing such great articles. 🙂

  4. One of the great things about joining the Crone Club is that I don’t have to worry quite as much about being misunderstood… except where there are ‘companions’ trolling and that’s where my wardrobe tends to act as a shield. LOL
    I just wrote a post about women taxi drivers in India and many other countries that you might find interesting.

  5. When I was backpacking solo through Asia in the late eighties I found it helpful to slip a ring onto my wedding band finger. This then changed my profile from potentially hedonistic single woman to safely married woman awaiting the return of her husband

  6. Rule #1, #4 and #7 stood me in good stead in Europe (Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin) and South America – it’s important to try and blend in with the locals as much as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean dress down though – fisherman pants in South East Asia makes you stand out more not less! – and I think as female solo travellers it’s in our benefit to blend in with the scene as much as possible.

  7. Great tips. Luckily, when I was traveling through Costa Rica and Nicaragua solo, I never had any problems, beyond some annoying cat-calling. I think dressing appropriately is a BIG thing. The one day I walked a few blocks wearing only a mid-thigh dress as a swim suit cover-up, I faced more catcalls than I did the entirety of my trip. But regardless, traveling solo never felt unsafe as long as I kept some level of caution.

    1. Sky, I’m considering a trip to Nicaragua in the next few months solo and I’m concerned about street harassment. I plan on wearing maxi skirts or lightweight pants (except when on the beach). I never experienced any catcalls in Costa Rica so I’m hoping I won’t be bothered too much in Nicaragua either. But it’s making me waffle a bit. Did you have any scary experiences or just annoying comments?

  8. Absolutely love this post (bookmarked!) Will be needing this when I go on my first long haul solo trip this summer- I’m thinking Morocco and Tanzania. Could be a bit of a baptism of fire but they look too incredible to pass up 😀

  9. Great read! I am planning on some solo trips and am embarrassed to say, I am scared to death! It’s a fear I want to face head on. I think it’s more the unknown, or how I will handle situations alone, whereas I have never done before. These tips are exactly what I needed. The door stop one was brilliant! Who would have thought? Well, you!! Thanks!

  10. I was considering to travel to Greece alone, but then i have changed my mind! i thought that it is all better to go with a male friend. Life for women in this world enough challenging 🙁 i am sure that the tips you have shared are all useful. Thanks Liz.

  11. Solo travelling to a diverse place like India can seem to be quite intriguing. In order to keep your visit safe and hassle-free, I’ll suggest you plan the trip with a reputed travel operator. Nomaday Travel is one of the best trip planner in India offering enthralling customized tour packages for solo travellers.

  12. Great tips. I like that you mention not getting wasted. The amount of solo travelers I see stumbling drunk in Thailand is unnerving.

    It’s always good to be fully alert when travelling alone.

  13. My first solo trip was to Chile – and I really had zero negative issues. I think the places I encountered the biggest hassles would have to Morocco ( from constant unwanted male attention), and Kenya where someone tried to find my money belt! As a result of that I actually came up with a idea that has since reduced some safety concerns for travelling solo. Brave Betty travel bra can keep your valuables concealed, in a less obious place that a money belt.

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