But especially after a few too many repeats of “Taken” – how do you reassure your loved ones at home (and maybe even yourself) that you’re going to be safe?
Nothing in life comes with a 100% guarantee, of course. But there are a few simple tips you can follow to increase your security while traveling solo.
I’ll admit that sometimes, choosing safety isn’t fun, and sometimes it is more expensive and inconvenient. But your life is more precious than any potentially raging party could ever be.
7 Tips for Solo Travel Safety for Women
1. Learn self defense
Both preventative and reactionary self defense can be life saving.
Do you know how to free yourself when someone holds your wrists? How about when they begin choking you? How do you escape when a much larger man is pinning you down, on top of you?
You need self defense.
Enroll in an online or in-person course (I highly recommend jiu-jitsu). You’ll learn and practice strategies that will eventually become instinct, and can help you react in a dangerous situation.
Self defense can help you feel more confident and prepared, even in your every day life.
2. Don’t get schwasted
Getting really drunk lowers your inhibitions. You’re more likely to make iffy decisions while drunk, and more likely to ignore your intuition.
Combine these lowered inhibitions with an impaired motor control, and you’re easier to take advantage of – both mentally and physically. Drunk women are more likely to be robbed or assaulted, and being visibly drunk makes you appear an easy target.
3. Intruder-proof your room
Whether you’re staying a super sketchy guesthouse or a nice hotel, traveling solo can be most anxiety-causing while you’re trying to sleep.
What if someone tries to sneak into your room?
4. Avoid isolating situations
Don’t put yourself in isolated situations with strangers – especially hitchhiking or taking rides from people you don’t know. Even if they seem nice and even if you are in a “safe” country. Only ever ride with licensed taxis after dark.
Don’t go to a party far out of the city with a man you don’t know and who you are relying on for a ride. What happens if he turns pushy or things get weird? Miscommunication and misinterpretation happens easily, especially between cultures. Don’t strand yourself at the mercy of a stranger.
5. Become an early bird
Try to trade in your night owl ways, at least for your trip.
Always arrive during the day to any new place, so that you can scope out your surroundings and also get your bearings.
Plan activities for the day time as much as possible. More crimes happen at night, influenced by the cover of nightfall, alcohol, and by potential criminal’s decision fatigue.
6. Don’t be flashy with your valuables
Don’t make yourself an easy, obvious, valuable target by showing off expensive items, a wad of cash, or bragging about your big budget. This should all be common sense.
That might mean leaving your expensive earrings and designer handbag at home, but it is a worthwhile inconvenience.
7. Trust your intuition
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Sometimes your subconscious picks up on cues from others that you wouldn’t otherwise notice – strange wording, aggressive or nervous posture, negative energy or too much adrenaline.
Trust your gut (and read the Gift of Fear), in many cases women who were attacked later realized there were “signs” they couldn’t put a finger on, signs that predicted something was wrong.