13 Important Travel Safety Tips for Females

Travelling the world is one of life’s most liberating experiences. Not everyone can take time out from work and family commitments, let alone save up enough money to travel the world. Anyone who can manage it is incredibly fortunate, and therefore don’t want to see dreams ruined by unforeseen circumstances. In light of this, let’s talk about travel safety tips, specifically for female travellers.

For the sake of being direct, there are so many things that can go wrong when travelling. For example, you could lose your passport, be robbed in the street, or break your ankle hiking up a mountain (let’s just hope these are examples). Any of these things could put an early end on your holiday and send you straight back home.

In general, people are kind and many places are safe. It’s not ideal to feel you have to stay at home due to the thought that something bad might happen while you’re out living life. Everyone should get the chance to travel if they can, but travellers — especially solo female travellers —  need to be wary of all the risks and take steps to keep themselves safe while on the move.

If you are planning on travelling soon, below are 13 essential travel safety tips to help you look after yourself while making the most of your journey:

Prepare

Before you even step out of your front door, you should be aware of what you’re getting into. Do some research into the area you’ll be staying in and the facilities available. Where will you go if you need medicine? What will you do if you need to buy a new phone? How will you cope if your glasses break and you need to save your frames in order to see? Be prepared for any eventuality. While in Iceland in 2018, I caught pneumonia and had to go to a health clinic an hour away, only to find out they didn’t’ take traveler’s insurance. Know the health care landscape before you go!

 

Keep emergency details on you

If you get in trouble, you may need to find your way to the nearest hospital, police station or your country’s embassy. Keeping details of how to find them will be a massive relief in the event of a disaster. Having your emergency contact details on you will allow the emergency services to get in touch with the right people if something does happen. Take for example Covid-19. Many travelers and expats (myself included) found themselves calling their embassy’s to discuss travel bans, boarder closings, and extractions. While dire situations rarely arise, the point is that they do. It’s best to be prepared.

Be aware of common scams

This is one of the most important travel safety tips. Every tourist area has common scams designed to trap unsuspecting travellers, so do some research in advance. Tourist traps you may run into include being handed something for free and then being asked to pay for it, broken taxi meters, or having your ID stolen by corrupt police officers. For example, in Prague’s Old Town Square, pick pocketers will attempt to distract tourists by asking for directions, while another will steal items out of pockets or backpacks. Taxi drivers will also often refuse to turn on their meters for English speakers, so it’s best to establish a price before getting in the vehicle.

 

Lock up your valuables

Your phone, money, and passport are the most important items you will have on you while travelling. It is crucial that you keep them safe at all times. Most hostels and hotels have secure storage facilities, so make you check before you book. Many opportunistic thieves choose to steal items straight from backpacks or unlocked lockers, so invest in a sturdy model that can’t easily be slashed or snatched from you. 

Invest in travel insurance

A good insurance policy will protect you if anything goes wrong with your health or you lose your belongings. Make sure you choose a respectable provider that will cover you for all your valuables, and scrutinise the terms of your policy carefully before you go.

Don’t share too much

When travelling, it’s tempting to share everything with friends back home on social media, but this can make you a target for unsavoury characters. Not only will you be advertising that your house is unoccupied, but you may be alerting local criminals to your whereabouts. Be wary about who you share information with, and if you don’t trust someone you meet, don’t tell them where you are staying.

Be mindful of your clothing

What you wear can unknowingly mark you out as a tourist, or present you as easy target for thieves and scammers. Try to be inconspicuous and blend in with the local dress code as much as possible. That could mean no garish Hawaiian shirts, sheer tops or pants, or belly shirts. In some areas of the world, there are strict regulations on women showing skin, so brush up on local customs before you travel to avoid trouble.

 

Budget for safety

If you’re travelling on a budget, it can be tempting to cut costs when considering accommodation and travel insurance. Even with cost in mind,  it is always worth spending a little more if the investment keeps you safe. The cheapest accommodations are often cheap for a reason. They may be unsafe and frequented by the wrong sort of people or located in dangerous areas of a city. Having a safe place to stay at night is worth the extra expense.

Learn to defend yourself

In the unlikely event that you are attacked in the street, it may be a good idea to learn how to defend yourself. Avoiding confrontation entirely is the best option, but if unavoidable, knowing a few basic self-defence moves may help you escape. Crucially, if someone tries to rob you with a weapon, the best course of action to protect yourself is to give them what you want and get away as quickly as possible. When I lived in Washington, DC, I was robbed at gunpoint in 2011 by a gang. Thankfully, they only wanted my cell phone, which I gave to them immediately, but the situation could have had a much different outcome.

Have emergency cash

If your money is stolen or lost, it is wise to have an emergency supply tucked away. Secret compartments sewn into clothing, belts or backpacks are brilliant hiding places for just such an eventuality.

Be vigilant

Even though you’re travelling to have fun, you should never let your guard down. Always be wary, particularly when travelling alone or in dangerous areas. Be particularly careful when withdrawing money from ATMs as these are hotspots for scammers and thieves.

Use the Buddy System

Although travelling solo can be liberating, always try to link up with other travellers, especially if you are in a dangerous location. A group dynamic can deter criminals from targeting you, and they are  less likely to succeed if they do.

 

Keep a clear head

Most travellers enjoy having a drink and a night on the town. However, this is when you are at your most vulnerable. By all means enjoy yourself, but drink in moderation. Avoid putting your safety at risk. Furthermore, if you are travelling in a country with a tropical climate, too much alcohol can put you at risk of dehydration or sunstroke.

Travel is one of the most enjoyable experiences in life, and you should seek new adventures and friends. Staying safe while you’re at it will enable you to keep out of harm’s way while still making memories that will last you the rest of your life.

Do you have any more travel safety tips to share for your fellow lady explorers? Share them with me in the comments below!

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28 replies to “13 Important Travel Safety Tips for Females”

  1. Some really useful information for keeping safe while travelling. It’s so easy to get caught up in the thrill of travelling that you can sometimes forget the little things.

  2. Great article! I almost always travel solo, so I’m more cautious when I am going out. While I’m proud to be traveling alone, I don’t tell people left and right. There might be someone who will take advantage. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much, Arra! Yes, I am much more careful when I am traveling solo at night than I am if I am with people. I think that is smart! I usually find a buddy in a hostel that will go to dinner with me or sightsee and that’s the only person I tell I am alone (and usually a female) 🙂

  3. Love all of these! I do a lot of these myself – I am a HUGE prepper and like to know details about everything before I go somewhere – scams included! I think it’s really important to be aware of these types of things – no one things it’ll happen to them but sadly that’s not always the case. Great pos!

    1. That’s amazing! I am glad to know that I am not the only one who is a prepper haha. It’s so important to just know what you are getting into I think!

  4. These are great tips! A few years ago I bought a pickpocket-proof backpack that I always bring on trips for extra peace of mind. It’s actually really cute too and sometimes I carry it as a regular, everyday purse!

    1. I have seen those pickpocket proof backpacks and fanny packs and I really need to invest in one! I travel so much and I don’t like wearing a shoulder bag (bad experience with one haha). One of those would be perfect.

    1. Yes! I always make sure to go out with a buddy if I am in a city and go out to dinner or go sightseeing. I try to make a gal pal at the hostel I am in and then I keep in touch after the fact! 🙂

  5. A great post and a topic that is always on my mind particularly since I had children. I definitely agree with being aware of common scams. I often do my homework on things like this before I visit a new destination. We had a bad experience in Turkey at a bar one night, and one that I won’t forget!

    1. Thank you Sharon! I am not a mom but I imagine that I would worry about all of these things, too! I think it’s so smart to do research on common scams before hand since it’s better to be safe than sorry!

  6. I think these are great tips but I don’t think they’re just for women. Everyone should know safety tips to travel. I also get so sad when women focus too much on preparing to be safe on their travels. I wish we lived in a world that was safer for us ladies <3 <3

    1. Yes, they can be applicable to all people though women do need to be more careful especially when they are traveling solo. It is unfortunate that we have to take extra precautions because of our gender. Hopefully someday it will be like that! <3

  7. These are some great tips! I’m usually a very cautious traveller but you’ve given me some extra ideas that I hadn’t considered. I’ll be sure to come back to your post before I next travel to make sure I’ve ticked everything off the list! Thanks for the advice!

    1. Hi Hannah! I am so glad you found them helpful! It’s a sad thing to have to talk about sometimes, but I always like to be safe than sorry 🙂 I hope you can use these tips when we can all travel again!

  8. These are some great practical and sensible safety tips for females traveling solo. Whichever part of the globe you are traveling in, prudence and caution are always helpful. Knowing about your destination and having all emergency information accessible is so critical. Also it is necessary that one does not take undue risks in strange places and when meeting strangers.

    1. SO true to everything you said! Safety tips are important for everyone but I think females need to be especially careful when traveling solo depending on what part of the world they are in. Doing research before hand is so so crucial just to make sure you have your bases covered <3 Thanks for reading Sandy!!

  9. Ich reise seit vielen Jahren allein und hatte nie Probleme. Dennoch ist es selbstredend immer gut, einige Sicherheitsregeln zu beachten. Nach meinem Dafürhalten war meiner Erfahrung auch immer zuträglich, dass ich tagsüber alle möglichen Sehenswürdigkeiten besuche, so dass ich des Abends zu müde bin, um mich in Gefahr zu begeben 😉

    1. Tienes suerte! Sé que muchas mujeres tienen problemas para viajar solas. Me gusta salir por la noche a cenar para explorar, luego me gusta dar consejos 😉

  10. Being aware of local scams is such a good tip – it’s something that I already check up on before I go and something which I think is invaluable, especially as a female solo traveller.

    1. I do too! I was scammed once in Morocco and ever since then I always do a little bit of research on that. Most of the time it’s fine, but you never know!

    1. you’re welcome! I am so glad that you found it useful. Over the years I have learned so much about staying safe as a single girl. Maybe one day we won’t have to worry about that as much 🙂

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