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Top Safety Tips for Female Travellers

April 29, 2024
Freya Harding

Travelling is one of the most eye-opening experiences, which everyone should experience at least once in their life time. The majority of my favorite memories have been made whilst abroad; however, there have unfortunately been times when I wished I had taken more precautions as a solo female traveller. Fear not – it is completely possible to be cautious without being overly nervous about travelling alone, to relax and enjoy your travels!

While most of the safety precautions we as women take are common sense, such as always being alert, not accepting drinks from strangers or leaving them unattended, and not walking in the dark alone, there's no doubt that people are more vulnerable when abroad in a new place. The FCDO Travel Advice website also has a specific section on 'advice for women travelling abroad,' and I've also made a list of safety tips for female travellers that I make sure to remember in order to stay confident and push myself out of my comfort zone and enjoy my time abroad.

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Accommodation

Just like anywhere back home, there are, of course, areas that are best to avoid when abroad. A major consideration as a female traveller before you book accommodation is to research the area. As mentioned above, people are at their most vulnerable when arriving at a new place with no sense of direction, the area, and the local customs. If you are travelling alone, or even in a small group of girls and have been placed on the ground floor, always lock your windows and doors.

Going out and about

As a language student, I've been lucky to have lived and worked in Italy and Spain, and as amazing as those experiences were, meeting new people, trying new things, and seeing new places, it can be difficult to get out that laid back 'holiday mode' mindset. Although you never want it to come in handy, my safety advice for female travellers is I would always recommend sharing your live location with family or friends back home keep a note of emergency numbers. These differ from country to country but you can find the relevant one for your holiday here. I do this whether I am alone or in a group as it not only keeps my mind at ease, but also those of loved ones.

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Before heading to a new country, check the local laws and customs in your chosen destination, especially the role and expectations of women in that society as they might be different. An important tip is to take your lead the local women to avoid standing out. How are they behaving? How are they dressed? Certain actions and dress codes that are perfectly acceptable in your country might be considered offensive or unacceptable in others.

If you are travelling with friends, always stay in a group. Most accidents tend to happen when people are alone abroad, so there is that extra level of safety if you #StickWithYourMates and watch each other's drinks. During a recent girl's holiday to Amsterdam, there were times where part of the group wanted to do different things, but we made sure we were travelling in a pair (or more), stayed in touch with the group chat, had each other's locations on and arranged a meeting place if someone got separated.

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When is the right time to lie?

My third safety tip for female travellers is that white lies will essentially keep you safe. Never tell people you are travelling alone – I always make it clear that people are expecting me to meet them somewhere and at a specific time. Even if it is the taxi driver simply making conversation about my plans for the day, I will always say that I have visited this place before, I'm visiting family here or I'm going to meet friends. In addition to this, if I get a taxi alone (only use registered taxis to ensure accountability and share your live route if possible), I will make a note of the vehicle number and send to a family member.

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Being regarded as ‘overly paranoid’

As a female traveller who regularly gets labeled as 'overly paranoid', I will forever argue that if this is what will make you feel safe to be able to enjoy your time abroad, then absolutely do it. If you feel the need to make a big fuss and draw attention to yourself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, then absolutely do it. Being safe is more important than being polite. The reality is that there are still inequalities that place women in a vulnerable position where we have to think, plan, and coordinate our travels but still have the time of our lives!

Safety tips for female travellers shouldn't be an afterthought; instead, it's something that you should practice daily to ensure your well-being. However, I don't want these precaution tips to dissuade women from travelling, especially alone, as being abroad allows us to enjoy relaxation, new cultures, foreign food, or incredible landscapes different to our normal surroundings.

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Written by

Freya Harding
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