Wanting to travel solo?
Where in the world is safe to travel for solo female travel?
With the proliferation of online news, social media and mobile technologies, coupled with the very nature of today’s interconnected world, we are faced with news of terror, tragedy and sadness from around the world on a daily basis.
I’m somewhat perplexed as to what is going on in the world today, when only a few years ago it seemed that people were embracing other cultures and it appeared that people were evolving a level of tolerance, understanding and respect for others. The recent rise of nationalism and fear is a foreign concept to me and in direct conflict with my personal worldview.
However, in the modern world, it would seem that most countries are not immune to the threat of attack and even here in my hometown of Melbourne Australia, we have experienced attacks on innocent people. Tragic events that have happened in many places in the world, have left many people wondering where in the world is it safe for solo female travel?
Many solo female travellers and would be solo travellers are asking questions like Is it safe to travel to….? or How can I keep myself safe when I travel?
Places that were once considered safe, for solo female travel, like countries in Europe are now being viewed as unsafe to many. As an older woman, a lot of places that were perceived as safe to go to when I was young are now the countries that people are concerned about visiting. In my own experience as a solo female traveller, before I left for my trips to France (my first trip to France was just after the Charlie Hebdo attack, and on my second visit the Nice attack occurred the day after I left for Rome) and Istanbul (a few months after the attacks on night clubs in the city), many people were wondering why I would consider going to these countries.
My answer to this question then and now is I am not afraid of the world.
In my experience, both France and Turkey, along with other countries including England and Germany, where attacks have happened, have a hightened level of security, awareness and obvious involvement of trained armed services, making them much more alert to problems than many other countries in the world. I have never once felt unsafe in either France or Turkey. Indeed, it was in New York, where I came the closest to being in danger when I saw a shooting happen within a few metres of where I was walking.
It’s my theory that the more we travel and encourage other people to travel too, the more likely we will be to return to a level of understanding and tolerance that will enable the world to start to get along in a better way.
Solo female travel to other countries broadens your mind, enhances learning and empathy and makes you realise that everyday people in the countries we visit, are doing the same things we are – getting on with their day to day, trying to earn a living, to feed and clothe themselves, and endeavouring to put a roof over their heads.
Travelling to more places and experiencing how people of different cultures live, learning about the history of a place and getting to know people from different backgrounds, both makes you feel humble and also makes you see the similarities rather than the differences between people from different cultural backgrounds. We may all look different, we may all speak differently, some of us believe in deities, some of us don’t, but in many ways we are all the same.
So, is it safe to travel the world as a Solo Female Traveller?
Absolutely, Solo Female Travel is still safe. You just have to keep in mind some things to help to keep you safe. Here are a few things I do to keep myself as safe as I can on my travels, and things that you can do too:
Learn a little of the local language before you go
Most countries are far easier to navigate if you can speak some of the local language. It’s also easier to keep yourself safer if you can understand what’s going on around you
Check out your Government’s travel advisories about your destination during your travel planning
- Check out Australia’s Smarttraveller here.
Talk to other travellers who have been to your destination.
Don’t stay out on your own too late at night and stay in public places with light if you do venture out after dark on your own.
Be respectful of other people’s religious traditions and wear appropriate clothing and shoes when entering places of worship.
Dress as close to how people dress as possible
- Don’t stand out from the crowd. Dressing like the locals you may be viewed as an expat and left to your own devices.
Research travel scams for your destination.
Keep your valuables safe.
Stay away from large crowds or be hypervigilant in the crowd.
Stay away from war zones – (this is a no-brainer)
Trust your instincts and intuition.
Keeping safe as a Solo Female Traveller out and about in the world is not about being fearful of everything. You don’t have to mistrust everyone you come across either. Travelling solo you are likely to make new friends, and get the opportunity to really experience local culture and community. Solo female travel broadens your mind and is a wonderful experience that will provide you with memories to last a lifetime. It’s all about balance and sensibility.
#Update May 2019: There are currently a number of travel advisories out for several countries with recent terrorist activities. Make sure you check your Government advice before travelling.