Last semester, one of my professors posed an interesting question that still sticks with me now. She asked us to write what we could do if we were the opposite gender that we couldn’t do as our own gender. The answers ranged from funny to profound. But one answer stands out to me since I uprooted my life back home and moved to Dublin for an internship. A female student in the class said if she were a guy she could travel alone without feeling unsafe.
While any solo traveler should be aware of his or her surroundings regardless of gender, it unfortunately seems traveling alone is more dangerous for females. I suppose I can see where my dad is coming from when he worries about me booking trips to various countries alone. I’ve chosen relatively safe destinations yet I still can’t help but feel a little nervous each time I get on a plane alone.
I would love to see the day where all women can travel alone without feeling scared. However, that day seems pretty far in the future, and we still live in a world where women are often not treated like human beings. It’s going to take a big societal change to make traveling solo completely safe for women. So, until then I think it’s important to equip women with the proper tools to avoid danger as much as possible. Sure it might be a measly Band-Aid on a large wound but at least it’s helpful for the time being.
Stick To Populated Areas
I’ll admit I’m not always thrilled about this guideline that I set out for myself but I still think it’s extremely important. While it’s really fun to happen across a restaurant or bar that’s off the beaten track, it also means you’re venturing into less populated areas. Unless you know the city you’re visiting extremely well, it’s very easy to wander into an unsafe neighborhood. Sure, the busy areas might be obnoxious tourist traps some of the time, but most of those sights are so heavily visited for good reasons! If you can’t resist and have to find your charming hidden spot make sure to do your research ahead of time. Ask the front desk at your hostel the safest way to get to your destination.
Have A Phone With You
Usually, it’s pretty easy to pick up a cheap phone and purchase a bundle of text messages and minutes. Make sure to ask at the store what the country’s emergency number is and add it to your contacts. Hopefully you won’t have to use it but it’s always better to have it in case something happens. The last thing you want is to be in a tough situation with no means to get help. It’s one of the easiest rules to forget about but probably one of the most important to remember.
I know, I know. Now I’m just raining on everyone’s parade. Even with the rule you can definitely go out and have a good time. Try going out for one pint at the local pub earlier in the evening so you don’t have to worry about heading home alone in the dark. If you can’t fight the allure of the nightlife try to make friends with some of your hostel roommates. Then you can all head out for a drink together and walk back to the hostel as a group.
Get A Cross-Body Purse
Most of the cities you’ll travel to will be pretty safe with the biggest problem being pick pocketing. It’s usually obvious which people are tourists. After all, you are often holding a map or at least looking a bit out of place. Unfortunately, you’re the easiest target. The best thing you can do is carry a purse that crosses you body plus has a zipper. Bonus points if it has a flap that buttons over the zipper! This makes it much more difficult for a person to get your possessions. Nobody wants to have their vacation ruined by missing credit cards. Believe me. I’ve had the experience, and it’s nothing short of a nightmare.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it’s always a good idea to research your destination before you leave. Safe and fun travels!!