Traveling alone has been a growing trend in the past couple of years. It really makes your confidence grow and gives you unforeseen opportunities. I, for one, know that traveling truly broadens the mind, gifts you new friends and is simply awesome! But at the same time I can’t ignore the fact that as women, we really can’t afford to be naive.
This post’s purpose is NOT to scare anyone or talk anyone out of traveling alone. On the contrary, I have traveled alone most of my life, and very much encourage you to do so too, even if only for one weekend.
The point is to bring facts to your attention that I, as a privileged and arrogant sod, didn’t always remember to consider. My upbringing in the safest and one of the most equal countries in the world laid foundations in my mind that I would be worth the same respect anywhere in the world.
Not the case! I don’t need to travel much further than one country South from Finland to be reminded of the fact that women can still, in 2019, be considered as property in a European country.
So, my point is to gently remind you of a couple things one should keep in mind when traveling alone. Because I want you all to have as awesome a time as I have had in my travels.
The ultimate fact is that 90 per cent of people in the world are nice, decent and absolutely wonderful, but there is that 10% of rot, that we need to be aware of. But no worries, these tips are everyday things that you probably are aware of anyway.
Points On Safety When Traveling Alone As A Woman
I’m basing these points on my own experiences, which have accumulated during the past 10 years living in 5 different countries around Europe. I’m quite a visible persona, so if there’s trouble, the odds are it will find me.
So, many of you can easily avoid any difficulties that I have encountered along the way by just avoiding annoying people on purpose, and by not taking unnecessary risks.
Double-check the taxi
Actually, this point is valid in your home country as well. Crazy people are everywhere and most of them don’t stand out from the crowd.
There was an unfortunate case about a woman in South Carolina who mistook a random car that stopped by as an Uber, got in, and was killed. Obviously, this is extremely unlikely to happen, but you can very easily ensure your safety for extra measure:
When you order a taxi with an app, the app will give you the register plate and the type of the car in addition to the driver’s name and picture. This is ample information, which you should check every time before you get into the car.
Is the register plate the same? And the car type as it says on the app? Match the driver’s face to the picture provided in the app, and last but not least, ask the driver who they are picking up. Do not say “Are you here for Rebecca?” but instead make him confirm that this car is for you.
Avoid walking alone after dark
Wherever you are, taking a taxi to your hotel after dark instead of walking is a cheaper option than risking your life.
I love walking and I walk everywhere. 98 per cent of the time it’s totally safe, but those 2 times that I have been attacked, I would rather have avoided. Thankfully the only thing hurt in those situations was my ego.
If walking alone is required, you can easily keep yourself safe from any unwelcome occurrences by holding your keys in your hand so that the biggest and sharpest key peeks from between your fingers.
Odds are if anything should happen you may not have the opportunity to use that fist, but in case you do, it may save your life.
I have a (very strong) pepper spray that I was given as a Christmas gift by a colleague after having been attacked couple months earlier. It’s one of my most precious possessions, and thankfully there hasn’t been need to use it.
Or actually there has, but it was so early in the evening, and I was in a group of people, that I couldn’t have expected anyone, let alone a bouncer, to attack me and thus wasn’t holding the spray ready in my hand, as I would when walking home after dark.
Familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs
In Western European countries women tend to be used to the fact that their worth is no less than somebody else’s. Nobody can tell you what you should eat, look like, and who and when to marry, if at all. I made the mistake of moving abroad thinking that’s how it works everywhere. FAIL!
Don’t be as arrogant as I was. Understanding how the local culture differs from your own will save you a lot of awkward misunderstandings and prevents unnecessary insults made unwittingly.
Knowing just the basic things will take you far; for example many Catholic countries are much more conservative than Lutheran countries and those without an official religion. Such differences include, for instance, the roles between men and women, which can be very old-fashioned and inflexible in many countries.
Thankfully, as an expat, I have never been told how to live my life. But I had to watch on the side while parents put down their daughters in Eastern European countries if they weren’t married and pregnant at the age of 25.
Sometimes I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and wondered to them why they put up with such. Thankfully nobody took my inquiries as an insult, but patiently explained that that’s just how things are there.
Take extra-good care of your possessions
Funnily enough I’ve never been robbed on my extensive travels. My local friends have, though, and my bank card was stolen from my hand in my home city when I was about to pay for a drink.
Pick-pockets exist in every single capital in the world today, so wherever you are, always make sure that your bag zipper is secured, and don’t carry excessive amounts of cash with you.
A phone can be snatched from your hand, just like my bank card was, so perhaps avoid waving it around when in the midst of a thick crowd.
I have one tip, which has saved my life more than once, and that’s making sure that you’re phone has enough battery when you leave your hotel, no matter what the time. I am hopeless with directions but getting lost is a less frightening prospect when modern technology is present to see you through.
Get an insurance
I have been playing with my luck in my recent travels because I have embarked on them without a travel insurance. And knowing the disaster-trap that I am, that’s some bold shit, right there!
Basically I’ve been a bloody idiot. Insurances are cheap and so easy to purchase these days that there is no excuse for my not getting one. You can easily compare prices between different companies through the calculators on their websites or by asking for an offer via e-mail.
There is an ocean of options to choose from; do you want to insure yourself, your luggage, or both? Would you like an insurance for the whole year or just one week? You can choose the sums and if you want any extras on it, the choice is all yours.
There you have it, my tips for safe travel. Honestly, the most important thing you can take with you to any trip is
That alone will take you very far. Remember that we people tend to be exactly the same when it comes to core values in life; we all want safety, love and happiness. Respect other people, be humble, and ask if you need help, and I promise you, you’re up for an epic trip.
Have you guys traveled alone or are you planning to? I’d love to hear your views on this trendy subject! ♥