Travel. Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it? All of us wish to just take a break from our busy chaotic lives for a little while, pack our stuff and go somewhere far, far away. But how far? Where exactly? Solo or in a group? Would it be safe? These concerning questions are the next thought that shoots in the mind after a wonderful thought of traveling.
For a woman traveler, it might not be entirely safe to travel everywhere, solo. Sexual assaults, eve-teasing, groping, kidnapping, rapes are just a few of the many terrors that can happen on the road. Each city in the world has different safety parameters and it is wise to consider them properly before hopping on a plane. We will thoroughly discuss the reality and some safety tips of a solo trip.
What is Safety?
Well, you might wonder sometimes what safety even is because everywhere we go, we hear spine-chilling stories about kidnaps, murders, rapes, and other terrors. So, what is it exactly? If we boil it down to one word it is, Consciousness. Personal safety is in your hands. If you stay conscious while traveling, you would be much more aware of the surroundings and can call for help.
The other thing is acting smartly, your instincts will always try to warn you about bad situations if you get dragged into one. The more conscious you would be, the more are the chances of you being safe. Be aware of your surroundings and keep helpline numbers on speed dial so as to reach out whenever you feel threatened or afraid.
For a reality check now, how safe is it actually for a woman to travel solo? Probably not much and definitely not at night. This is in no way implementation of taking the crime away from those who commit them but when it comes to personal safety, we need to take care of ourselves.
Women, from the beginning of absolute time, have been victims of sexual harassment, groping, rapes, and other forms of sexual exploitation. We ask you, how safe would you feel while walking the silent roads of an unknown city after midnight with no one around? Possibly not at all.
Many female travelers might have never been victims of the aforementioned crimes but that does not imply that it never happens. We absolutely cannot risk our safety in the name of ‘luck’. This, however, has many facets to it, number one being, “do you stop traveling solo to your heart’s content just because some people decide to look at you as objects and might even rape you?”, and number two, “is it my fault that some person could ruin my whole persona including my mental and physical health just to satisfy their hunger?”
The answer to both questions is NO. You would certainly not stop traveling solo and none of that is your fault. But it wouldn’t hurt to take some precautions to ensure your safety. This world is a dark place with criminals lurking in the shadows.
You might catch yourself asking the “whys” of this whole situation and what motives could be behind all of it. Unfortunately, there might not be a well-put-together reason or motive behind it, some just find pleasure in it and others might not even look at it as a crime.
We all know at least one person who has been a victim of the said crimes. Evidently, it becomes even more terrifying when you are in a completely new city or even a country, traveling solo with no one by your side. You do not know anyone in that unfamiliar place. It is okay to be scared of all these things but that should not stop you from doing the things you love. Help will always be available to you and if you are smart enough to get yourself out of any worrisome situation, you will be more confident about it the next.
Other Actual Dangers Of Solo Travels
Aside from the most terrifying fear, there are other dangers for a solo woman traveler, one of them being road accidents. Road safety is completely out of your control if someone else has got the steering. Deaths and heavy injuries by road accidents are evidently present all over the world and with the traffic being in some countries, the chances increase even higher.
It is advisable to study your maps properly, maybe even talk to the locals about the roads in a region you are unaware about. Avoid the medium of travel you think might be risky for any road accidents especially if you are alone.
Safety Tips For Your Travel
We talked about plenty of stuff that might be scary and make you not want to travel at all, all these fears should not limit your heart’s desires. You can always take numerous safety measures to keep yourself safe and enjoy yourself while you are on the road. Let’s discuss some of them.
- Research Well
When planning a trip abroad or even within your national boundaries, it is crucial to do your research thoroughly. Learn about the cities you would be visiting, their culture and dialects, if any. Book hotels near airports and choose a flight time which is suitable, maybe sometime during the day as to avoid any unnecessary travel at night.
Also, keep a check on the weather conditions as you wouldn’t want to get involved in severe rains or thunderstorms if visiting any wet places. Note down different helpline numbers so you can reach out to them when in need immediately.
- Stay Aware and Sober
Being a solo traveler, it is not wise to put yourself in situations in which you would not get help from other people. Since no one would really know you or your whereabouts, they would not know how to help you out. So instead, steer clear of drinking too much at clubs or anywhere else. Staying sober is one of the most safety measures to look for. It’s important to conduct yourself in a way you would, at home.
The next tip is to stay very much aware of your surroundings, as mentioned before. If you feel threatened in public, do not be afraid to scream or ask for help from other people around. Act smart and try to get yourself out of the situation without panicking too much.
- Do Not be Too Nice
The next tip is to avoid being too nice to everyone while you are traveling. Although it is always advised to be polite to other people but avoid overdoing it. You are in a new place and not them. Say no to the things that make you feel uncomfortable. It is your choice in the end, no one should be forcing you to do things you do not feel comfortable doing.
- Carry all the required documents
Though it is the most basic tip of others, it is most important to carry all your identification, accommodation, and insurance documents, in case of legal problems. You are in a new place and you may not know or understand the legal proceedings of the country so it is essential to carry hard and soft copies of documentation while traveling, at all times.
- Speak to Locals
Another important tip is to speak to the locals of the place you are visiting, maybe even try to learn a few words of their language. This will assist you to learn more about the place and will give you an insight on how to handle any situation if somehow, things go south. It might also assist you in your future travels.
Maybe try to even involve other people while on the road by asking for help from your hotel staff, bartenders, or any other people you see. Ask them what places to visit and what to avoid, they will be more than happy to help if they know you are alone.
- Plan your day beforehand
To avoid any extra hustle or any mishaps, it is important to plan out your whole day what activities you would be doing that day. Make an itinerary of all places you need to visit on the day and book your transportation in advance, the night before. Since you are in a new place temporarily, you might not have the time to go as you please. It is good to organize everything prior to your trip so as to avoid any travels at night or in transports you are unfamiliar with.
- Update your family
It is very much understandable that you are on a break and you need time for yourself, but it’s always a good idea to update your family and close friends about your activities and places you would be visiting each day. Social media is a fast and easy method to update everyone.
This is necessary as they will know about your whereabouts and they can send for help if anything goes wrong. It will also give them a relief that you are safe wherever you are.
- Choose the time of the day you are alone
If you can, maybe try to find other tourists or local tourists around you, so you would not be alone even while traveling solo. Plan your trips during the time where tourism is at its peak in a particular country. You can meet other tourists for lunch or drinks and they will be most happy to take you in for some time. This might also result in you even making some international friends!
- Carry Whistles and Pepper Spray
Another tip for your personal safety is to carry whistles or pepper sprays so you can protect yourself and also, alert other people around that you are being threatened. Usually, locals will help you out and ensure your safety to the most extent.
- Self Defense
In your free time, before your first solo trip, it is always advisable to learn basic self-defense. This will prepare you for the future and make you feel confident enough to protect yourself without relying on other people.
Know to react quickly and help yourself out of the situation and alert the legal people about it so no one else has to face the same situation.
Summing It Up
In conclusion, solo travel can be risky but it can also bring a lot of excitement, joy, and experience. You can tell other people about your trips to different parts of the world and even educate them through your experiences. It might help other women who desire a solo trip but are too afraid to actually go on one. You will gain more and more experience as you go on. Your confidence will keep increasing and you will become familiar with bad situations and will know how to help yourself out of them. It will only happen when you give yourself a chance, trust yourself enough to be your sole protector. Bad things will happen, that is the order of the world, but you should not put a ‘full stop’ to doing the things you love. You might even inspire other younger people to try and eventually it will become a chain reaction.
In the end, we are sorry to any person who ever felt threatened or has been a victim of any aforementioned crimes. You did not deserve that. It is okay to come out of it now, there are other people just like you. They have been through similar things. Come out and share your story with other people, you will definitely feel a burden being lifted off of your chest. Travel again. Enjoy again. Smile again. Find joy in the things you loved, again. You have only got one life, make the most out of it.