20 Safety Tips for Female Solo Travelers

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Solo travel is one of the most enthralling and liberating experiences. It provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment and proves you’re made of some pretty stern stuff. 

Still, as a female solo traveler, you want to do everything you can to ensure safe passage to and from the destination of your dreams. 

With a little bit of planning ahead which, let’s face it, is part of the excitement, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to look after yourself and return home with a suitcase full of new memories that will live on in your heart forever. Here’s a good baseline to help you get started. 

1. Splurge On Your Accommodations

airbnb room
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The first and most important safety tip has to do with your accommodations. If it’s a choice between a 4-star hotel in a safe neighborhood and a 3-star spot on the fringe, splurge on all four stars. 

You can make up the difference in other ways. For example, in 17 travel hacks to help you see the world without breaking the bank, we show you how to account for that difference by choosing which meals to splurge on, how to reduce luggage fees, and when to travel to score the best deals. 

Without doubt, that sense of rushing home to your Airbnb after dinner while looking over your shoulder is sure to put a damper on your travels. 

2. Wear a Money Belt

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Sure, no one wants to admit they still wear a fanny pack. But, that’s not quite the same thing as a money belt. 

A money belt is a very thin pouch you can wear around your waist, under your clothes. It doesn’t have to be bulky and ruin the lines of your look. It’s simply a place to store your passport, credit cards, and ID – the things you don’t want taken from your room or your purse. 

When your most valuable documents are on your person the entire time, you put yourself at a much lower risk of losing your most essential items. 

3. Select Guest Favorites on Airbnb

airbnb room
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There are three general rules of thumb to ensure fairly safe passage to your Airbnb. The first has to do with the ratings on the Airbnb that caught your eye. 

One of the best things you can do is immediately filter your results so Superhosts – or Guest Favorites – are the only things that pop up in your search. 

These are tried and true accommodations that have been well-reviewed and earned the Superhost a badge from Airbnb. 

4. Read Every Review on Airbnb

airbnb room
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Yes, every review. This may seem cumbersome, but those reviews are going to tell you a lot more than the short description the host posted to their listing. 

They’ll reveal how welcoming or accommodating the host was upon arrival, the speed in which they respond to messages, and the cleanliness of the space. 

They’ll also reveal some of the finer details like proximity to other destinations, accessibility, and the safety of the area around the apartment or home. 

5. Message Your Host

airbnb room
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When booking an accommodation on Airbnb, the platform asks you to leave a short note for your host. Take advantage of this opportunity to test their responsiveness. 

Introduce yourself, as Airbnb asks, but then add in an additional question about the accommodation’s proximity to the nearest train station or grocery store. 

You want to know how responsive and detail-oriented they’ll be when/if you need them upon arrival and throughout your stay. 

6. Ease Up on the Luggage

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We all love to have our creature comforts with us no matter where in the world we go. But, one of the best ways to make yourself a target is to be seen struggling through an airport with a massive rolling suitcase, a backpack, and a huge tote bag. 

You want to be quick on your feet and nimble, even if you’re not in any sort of danger. 

Appearing assured, confident, and totally “with-it” sends a very different message than someone who’s dropping things, getting the wheels on their luggage stuck, and appearing to be in a generally discombobulated state. 

7. Walk With Purpose

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This brings us to the next point. Whether you’re in the airport or a major city, make sure you’ve done enough research ahead of time so you’re not looking up and around in a state of confusion. 

You also don’t want to be looking down at the map on your phone, stopping randomly in the middle of the street, because you’re lost and can’t decide if you should turn left or right. 

It’s perfectly fine to consult a map along the way. Just give yourself a bit of a leg up beforehand by studying the general layout of wherever it is you’re headed next. 

8. Forego the Earbuds

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It’s nice to have an audiobook, podcast, or playlist running when you’re on our own. But, reserve those for your more stationary moments. 

In order to always be aware of your surroundings, you can’t block out one of your most important senses. Keep the earbuds or headphones stored away until you’re sitting still on a train or plane and don’t have to watch your six. 

9. Dress for the Occasion

woman walking alone
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Even though you’re trying to pack lightly to ensure smooth transit, you want to dress according to the local culture. 

If it’s more conservative, stick to long pants or a blazer to blend in. Aside from just generally being respectful, you might want to look online to see how locals dress so you can blend in more easily, anyway. 

For example, people in Paris rarely dress as brightly as Emily in Emily In Paris. Cute as she is, you might want to stick to a more neutral palate to avoid calling too much attention to yourself. 

If you’re looking to go to a unique corner of the world like Vietnam or Thailand, check out our list of 15 budget-friendly destinations for solo travelers. 

10. Study the Mass Transit System

train station
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If you’re staying in a big city, study the mass transit system in finite detail. The last thing you want is to be spotted fumbling around in a train station, boarding the wrong train, or bumping into people because you can’t figure out which platform to head towards. 

Train and bus stations are a pick-pocketers delight. Do whatever it takes to avoid giving them an opportunity to hone in on you. 

uber driver
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If the thought of mastering the London Tube or the Paris Metro is a tad too overwhelming, no one can blame you. (That said, the Paris Metro is one of the smartest, clearest systems to follow. So, don’t count yourself out until you’ve given it a chance.) 

Poke around on Reddit and other forums to see how prevalent Ubers are in your destination. Although Ubers come with their own set of horror stories, this may be a perfectly safe way to travel through a city without having to get tangled up in their mass transit system. 

12. Start Early and Go Home In the Light

woman walking alone
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You don’t have to deprive yourself of the Eiffel Tower’s light show at night, especially after you’ve made it that far. 

As a general rule of thumb, however, if you’re traveling alone, you’re better off getting an early start on the day and going home before it’s too late. 

Not much needs to be said about how murky things become when it’s dark out and people have had a few too many drinks. 

On the nights that you do wish to linger over a nice dinner and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle, that could be a solid opportunity to splurge on an Uber to and fro. 

13. Go Easy On the Drinks

champagne bubbles
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It’s so easy to get lost in the moment and indulge in one more glass of champagne while you let the Eiffel Tower dazzle you with delight. 

But, again, if anyone’s watching, they’re going to notice that you’ve tipped over into the one-too-many category and that might make you a target for pickpocketing or worse. 

Ease up on the drinking while you’re out and about. Instead, reserve that bottle of wine you’d like to try for your safe return to your hotel room or Airbnb while you wash off the day and luxuriate until the next morning’s activities. 

14. Don’t Leave Your Cell Phone On the Table

cell phone taking picture of food
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It’s a natural habit. We shoot off that text or post that IG reel and then put our phones down on the table. 

But, if you’re in a busy city, only one bad actor has to breeze by to scoop it off the table and you’ll probably never catch him or her. 

Then, you’ve lost your itinerary, important documents, and all kinds of other precious materials. Instead, send your text or post your picture and put your phone back in your money belt. 

You don’t want to have your eyes down the whole trip anyway. People-watch; take in the sights; and know that you’re doing everything you can to protect your safety. 

15. Learn the Local Language

woman speaking
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Can you imagine trying to communicate with someone when you’re in a real bind – perhaps as that thief is running away with your cell phone? 

It will only augment the distress you’re feeling at that moment. Learn a small percentage of the local language.

The lead-up to a trip is half the fun – planning the places you’ll visit and the sights you’ll see. In the run-up, use one of the many free language apps out there to get a small portion of the language under your belt. 

16. Chat With the Locals

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With your basic language skills, chat up the people that you sense you can trust. Ideally, this will be your Airbnb host or the regular at the front desk of your hotel. 

You want to have someone to go to whenever you have a question. And, if your instincts are right, they’ll also be a nice resource on how to get around the area, who and what to see, and how to make the most of your time. 

17. Put a Travel Alarm On Your Door

security cameras
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You can find tiny keychain-size alarms for your door that are perfectly portable and may offer you peace of mind at night. 

Some hang on the doorknob and tuck into the space between the door jam and the door. Others attach to the doorway with a little Command Strip that’s easy to put up and take down. 

Either way, they’ll give you peace of mind at night that, heaven forbid, there will be a lot of ruckus should anyone bad come to your door. 

18. Purchase a Small Knife When You Land

swiss army knife
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If you’re going to an area where you can pick up a small camping knife or Swiss Army knife, pick one up when you land. There’s nothing wrong with having a small knife on your waistband should anyone try anything untoward. 

19. Learn a Few Self Defense Tricks

woman boxing
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YouTube is such a treasure trove of information. You don’t even have to leave your house or go to the local martial arts school to learn how to defend yourself in a moment’s notice. 

Just a few quick tips about how to leverage your weight to break free from an attack or how to perfect the S.I.N.G. method that Sandra Bullock tried to teach us in Miss Congeniality can make all the difference. 

20. Trust Your Instincts

woman walking on street
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Always, always trust your instincts. If your spidey senses are going up when some guy is trying to chat you up over lunch and you’re just trying to enjoy your lobster bisque and a ginger ale, listen to them. 

Don’t feel like you have to be nice or entertain someone that’s encroaching upon your space. This is your trip and your life. Send out all the signals that you’re not interested and/or move to another location. 

The same goes for your general environment. If you get a weird sense about the location you have to walk through at night, skip it. Skip the location all together or hop in an Uber as soon as you can. 

Whatever the scenario, just be sure you always trust your instincts. They’re a natural defense system that will always steer you in the right direction as long as you never suppress them. 

Get Out There and See the World

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This is your ticket to freedom! Once you see you’re strong, capable, and confident enough to travel solo, you may never want to travel any other way. 

You’re free from the constraints of other people’s demands, can go where you want to go and stay where you want to stay, and may experience a lot less stress. Pick a spot on the map and then go make your dreams come true.

With that in mind, we’re sure to have a destination guide to help you plan your itinerary, stick to all the safest places, and arrive and depart in as much safety as possible. Enjoy exploring that great big world out there. And may all your dreams come true. 

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