Wandering solo means that you always have to keep alert and stay on guard. It’s no secret that women are more vulnerable to be targeted on for the scammers. But it’s also one of the reasons why people are nicer and protect female traveller than men (Sorry guys!). Regardless the matter of gender, I truly believe that we have to put our safety as the priority. No matter where we go. It breaks my heart whenever I read some sad news about unfortunate events that comes to female travellers. But hey, I have met more and more solo female travellers that were having a good time (even over the roof) during their trip and safely landed back home. Even though I know it is hard for Indonesian women to travel solo, I truly believe you can always start trying to go alone. Nonetheless, I try to put some of the travel tips that hopefully will be a good use for you girls. I have compiled solo female travel safety tips from several blogs that I love and already has applied into my journey as well!
Here are some safety tips for you to check on:
Investment & Preparation
- Buy a travel lock. Some hostel does not provide the lock or even ask you to pay again. Would be easier to have one for yourself.
- I always keep a whistle and travel alarm in my pocket. I never use them. But I know that Legal Nomads have some experiences that helped her. That’s why I always bring it too.
- Keep extra money in several places in your luggage. Do not put them just in one place. I always spread it all underneath my shoes, my garments in the luggage and my money belt.
- Have an extra credit card with you safe inside you luggage. Keep it safe and only use it for the emergency.
- Have an extra Dollar or Euro money with you. If things go wrong, you can always use or exchange them.
- Scan your important documents and keep it save on drive, cloud and your email. I even send it to my parents and my best friends just in case I lost them. What are the important documents? Passport, Visa, ID Card and other things that you think will impact your journey.
- Also have some photocopies of the documents spread into your backpack, luggage and in your wallet.
- Always pack some medical kit that you think it is important for you.
- I learned some basic self-defense in Ubud and some Thai kickboxing to keep me safe. Thank God I never really use it in a real world.
- I have a backup marriage ring that I always use in a couple of countries. Men in several countries won’t harass any married women. So when they do it, I just show them the ring on my finger. Another tip from Tea Cake Travel is to bring a photo of any hot guys and pretend to be his wife (I should have done this)
- Your bra (yes things to keep your boobs on) can be a good ultimate hideaway. Keep some money stash, or any valuable things inside.
- Hat and sunglasses can keep you off the radar. In some country, it kinda intriguing to make eye contact with men.
- Take a photo of your tickets on your phone and spread it to your friends and family.
- Write down all your hostel address, or your host address along with their phone number. Now, don’t depend on with the notes app on your phone. Write it down with your pen in a small notebook.
- Put down your itinerary (if you have one) especially the big excursions that you will go on, in your notebook as well.
- Find out who you can contact for emergency and support. Put their details in your notebook too.
- Have all of the important stuff on your small notebook? Good. Now take a photo of it and spread it all again to your friends and family.
- Check your country Ambassador’s address, phone number along with any emergency call (like the police station, ambulance, etc). Save them in your phone book.
- Research on the internet about what kind of scams are happening on your country’s destination. Don’t be a fool and fall on their trap.
- Full charged power bank and your phone battery before you leave!
- Dress properly according to the local culture. Do some research. When I went to Banda Aceh, the women had to wear long sleeves. Same as when I was in Morocco. It can keep less attention for the men.
- Always prepare a backup plan. If the hostel you’re staying is not good, make the list of others. If the plane you’re going get cancel, know the other transportation to get there. Be prepare.
- Check out the public transportation, taxis, walk and safe times.
- When you get to your hostel, ask for their business card. Keep track of the name and number of your hostel. When you get lost, you can just ask people on the street or taxi or bus how to reach the hostel again. If this is your first time ever on a hostel, read the guidelines here.
- Ask your hostel receptions about the kind of scams too.
- Hostel usually provides some maps and suggestion on what to see and do. Always ask them.
- No maps? Download offline map on google maps. It helps me a lot! Don’t forget to pinpoint and save your accommodation spot on google maps. On this digital era, phone application surely helps! Read here on my favourite travel apps.
- Keep an eye on every little thing around your hostel. Signage, shops, bus stations, anything that can help you memorise the way. If you are lost, you can always ask people on the street. The tip is: ask the young people as they often speak English really well. When you already ask one person, walk 110 meters and ask other people the same question. Always make sure.
- Leave a note or tell someone before you go out so people have an idea where you’re headed.
- Don’t walk alone at night in some sketchy small street. If you stuck and out at night, always follow the crowd and walk on the big street or even better, call the taxi.
- Developed country usually have a good tap water bases. But in some developing country, it is better for you to buy reliable water bottle brand. Healthiness is important to keep you going!
- Do not accept drinks from strangers unless you get to know them first.
- Always check the kitchen of the restaurant that you’re going to eat. If its clean and plenty of people, you know you’ll be fine too. Do not eat in sketchy places even though you are on a budget. My tip is to find a supermarket and get their budget meal. It helps your wallet and still keeps you on the run.
- When it comes down to the bar and alcohol, keep guard of yourself. Do not get drunk when you do not have any friends that can take you home. Control yourself.
- Walk with confidence. Even when you were feeling scared, chin up you head and leisurely stroll the street. Your body says it all. People will think twice about taking advantage of you!
- I personally really like it to bond with the locals. Read on how I travel like a local here.
- Try not to build any scene. Even when I got harassed by words, I always ignore them and do not put into hearts. Remember, you are in other people’s country with no one from your side.
- Learn how to talk in their language. “Sorry”, “Thank You”, “Hello” are the most common words to learn. It can help you to blend in with the locals as well. Admit it. You will respect tourists who want to learn your language 🙂
- When I travel across the city or country, I put my money and credit card inside money belt or travel neck wallet. So when you were sleeping on the bus, you know that yours are safely intact to your body.
- If you are on a long term travel, always take a photo of the transportation you’re gonna take to hop in other cities and send it to your closest friends and family.
- Have one set of clothes ready for your cabin bag. I remember that I have a friend who lost their luggage with all of her clothes there. She had to wear 1 set of clothes for 3 days in a row until they give her luggage back. Smelly!
And the last tip of every woman should know: Trust your gut. A woman’s intuition usually true!
If you need a more convincing backup for your solo travel, read my top tips and guide for solo travel preparation here.
Now I hope you have wonderful solo travel experiences. Any experiences or tips that I am missing here, please comment below?
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.