Though there are certain things that are helpful for every traveler to know, there are also particular tips, tricks, and smart tactics that female travelers should be familiar with before traveling internationally.
Traveling as a woman can be a totally different experience than traveling as a man. From how you pack, to how you’re treated (better or worse), your travel experience will vary vastly and there will be different expectations and challenges you'll likely face.
That being said, here are some simple and practical ways to navigate these obstacles and make your travels abroad an amazing experience.
1. When it comes to packing, less is more.
Stick to packing mostly practical, neutral pieces that can be layered and mixed and matched. (Check out our 7-day vacation packing list, including a sample packing list from FTLO Founder Tara Cappel). Chances are you'll most likely end us using a quarter of what you pack and you'll be lugging around all that extra stuff for no reason.
2. Don’t worry about bringing all your hygiene/feminine products.
Seriously, don't worry too much about taking all your hygiene and feminine products with you. Most countries will have those items, so can always restock if you run out of something or buy it if you forget it; it's definitely not worth stressing over. Or you can always improvise a bit (shampoo as body wash and shaving cream?!).
3. Pack Shoes that you can walk in.
Leave the heels or uncomfortable shoes at home.
If you can't wear them for more than one hour, you're probably going to find that you won't be using them much during your travels. Some stylish tennis shoes and versatile sandals or flats are usually enough.
4. Traveling is an empowering thing.
If you're a woman who is traveling for the first time, you're going to feel so empowered every time you learn something new, try something new, or make a new friend. Even if you feel a bit lonely or nostalgic occasionally, traveling as a woman is an experience that shows you just how bold, powerful and amazing you are.
5. Speak up when something doesn't feel right.
Don't ignore your instincts and don't allow yourself to second-guess your gut feeling. If something doesn't feel right, if someone is being sketch...pay attention to that feeling and try to safely remove yourself from the situation or say something to a trusted person.
6. You might be scammed.
It's ok. It happens every now and then to everyone, but especially to women. You might get scammed into paying more for something. People (unfortunately) think they can take advantage of your time or money. It happens. It's ok. If you are safe, if you are well, then hopefully it's just a few bucks lost and a learning experience.
7. Spending extra for peace of mind is usually worth it.
Spending the extra dollars for things that give you peace of mind is totally worth it because you can worry less, live more. Don't want to take a sketchy midnight train? Pay extra to take the day transit. Not sure about leaving your luggage with that dude in your hostel? Pay extra to store it in a locker.
8. Women are treated differently in every country.
Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, even in the U.S., women are treated unfairly or differently. Consider this when it comes to the way you dress, act, talk, and the things you do; it doesn’t mean you have to change how you are, but it’s just good information to have ahead of time so you can know what to expect. Sometimes it's due to cultural differences, sometimes it's religious or political...and sometimes, there isn't much to it, other than people being unfair.
9. Take precautions when you can.
As women, we have to take extra precautions that men don't necessarily need to...again, an unfortunate truth. Wherever you can take an extra precaution (not finishing a drink you left unattended for a few seconds), TAKE the extra precaution. Though we wish the onus wasn't on us to make sure women are safe, it's still important that as women traveling through the world we stand up and protect ourselves when we can.
10. spread out your money.
Spread out your money in cash and credit cards just in case you lose one or the other, and in case you come across a place where you can only use cash.
11. put together contact info (and have pictures of it all).
Put together contact information for any hosts or guides that you're expected to meet during your travels. Having these printed out and in the digital form are important in case your electronics give out, then you'll have those contacts on paper.
12. load maps ahead of time.
Download maps of the region you're visiting ahead of time so that you don't have to worry about getting lost and battling with finding wi-fi or working with spotty reception while you're in transit.
13. travel insurance.
Woman or man, you need travel insurance. This will ensure that you can travel with peace of mind (again, worth the extra dollars!). There are many options for travel insurance and you're free to browse for the option that works best for your travel style and budget. (What is travel insurance? Do I need It?)
14. You'll meet friends at hostels.
Hostels are great places to meet other young travelers and people who are excited about exploring the region you're in. You're bound to find a buddy (or a few) when you stay in hostels, and if you're traveling with a group, then it's a party!
15. Everywhere you go has good and bad.
No matter what you're traveling for - adventure, the great outdoors, delicious food, spiritual growth - you're going to find that your travels will both amaze you and occasionally let you down. There's good and bad everywhere you go. Seriously, everywhere. So if you find that something seems to fall short of your expectations, just remember that the place will blow your mind and exceed your expectations in another way!
If you find any of these tips useful, share them with any female friends who might be traveling soon and they'll be thanking you for the advice and pep talk!
What other tips would you add to the list?
Want to implement more travel into your life this year? Join FTLO and a group of new friends on an awesome adventure! Browse upcoming trip dates for 2019 to Greece, Scandinavia, Vietnam, Australia, Mexico and more.