The idea of travelling solo as a female can be daunting. Yet, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Travelling alone as a female has become an acceptable option, and more and more Australians are choosing to go it alone. By following some simple tips, you can remain safe and have a great time.
- Choose a safe destination to travel to and be sure to arrive during the daytime. Check with www.smartraveller.gov.au and read up on travel advice for countries you are traveling to. Plan ahead and have accommodation and airport transfers booked before you leave, particularly for your first destination and especially if the primary language in the destination country is non-native to you. You might be able to be a bit more flexible once you find your feet. The Tripit app is a travel organizer that allows you to link with emails, and collates information to go into your itinerary.
- When travelling in taxis, sit in the back seat and pretend you are meeting someone. In crowded buses or trains, keep your luggage safe and close to avoid theft. Sit near another woman and avoid sitting in an empty carriage on a train. It’s advisable not to hitchhike in any country at any time.
- Be aware of scams: Check out TripAdvisor for advice on certain places or any issues of note. In some places, including licensed venues, locals may collude with bar owners to entrap tourists and extort money.
- Carry a travel bag that goes across the front of your body, rather than a back pack, without any loose or dangling straps.
- Whichever platform of social media you prefer, use it to let your friends and family know where you are and where you are heading. It is good for someone to know roughly where you are at all times.
- Avoid unwanted attention by dressing appropriately. Try and look like a local. If you are dressed like a tourist, you will draw attention to yourself and attract pickpockets.
- If you become ill on your travels, seek medical attention quickly. Know where your nearest health facility is and ensure the facility is trusted, reputable and has appropriately qualified personnel. You may wish, in some countries, to only be attended to and visited upon by a female physician. Explore group activities and tours. These are great places to meet other like-minded solo travelers you can connect with.
Pre-travel medical check up
- Take the time to visit your GP to have a health check. Do this regularly but at least 6-8 week before an extensive trip. If you have a pre-existing illness ensure that you are fit to travel, and have enough medication to see you through. Your GP can assess and discuss any medical concerns you may have, appropriate vaccinations, and exactly what you may need, depending on your destination.
- Women’s hygiene products and contraceptives including condoms may be difficult to purchase in some countries, or they may be unreliable. It’s a good idea to stock up on supplies and medication before you leave. Remember that sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and hepatitis B are more prevalent in some countries compared to Australia. Condoms are your best protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
Maintain a healthy diet and eating alone
- Wherever you are, try to maintain a diet with a good variety of lean protein sources such as red meat, fish, chicken, tofu or legumes. In addition, eat plenty of colourful vegetables and fruit daily. Vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12 are particularly important to maintain a strong immune system. The best way to get these nutrients is through your diet.
- In developing countries you should only drink bottled water, and eat foods that are thoroughly cooked. Avoid undercooked meats. When eating at restaurants, make sure it is a popular eating spot with lots of customers. These restaurants are likely to have a better turnover of foods and hygiene practices. Food from street vendors has been associated with a higher risk of illness. If you are tempted, make sure the food is well cooked (being made in front of you whilst you wait).
- Eating alone one of the hardest things to get used to as a solo female traveler. Meeting people and joining new friends is the easiest way to avoid this. Surprisingly, it is often easier to meet new people and like-minded travelers when you are travelling solo. Alternatively, you can always get some healthy take-out and eat comfortably in your room whilst you go through your photos, upload them to social media and reflect on your days of travel.
Avoid too much alcohol or drugs
- Be careful not to drink alcohol in excess, or take drugs that could impair your judgement or compromise your ability to maintain your senses or general awarenes. It’s important to understand that different countries have differing moral and social standards and making yourself vulnerable may unnecessarily expose you to greater risks of harm.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks that are being sold from market stalls or any unlicensed setting. Check labels of alcoholic drinks.
- Single women travellers may be targets for drink spiking. Make sure you buy your own drinks, and watch them being poured at all times. If in doubt, do not drink it.
- Walk everywhere if possible and always exercise during daylight hours. Make sure you pack your joggers! Walking and running are great ways to explore any city and keep fit at the same time. Alternatively, book accommodation at a hotel with decent gym facilities. Routine combined with discipline is the key to staying healthy.