For all of our female traveler friends out there, we want to empower you to feel prepared to handle tough situations when things don’t go as planned.
Unfortunately, women still face more safety challenges than men when it comes to traveling internationally or alone, but there are some things you can do to help eliminate those extra risks.
While the below list does not cover everything, it does offer some key safety tips for all female travelers who are considering traveling to a new country soon.
1. Travel in Groups
There’s power in numbers! Traveling with a group allows your to split up in to pairs if needed for different activities, and at the end of a long day, it’s a guaranteed dinner date. In other words, group travel can still come with the freedom of solo travel at any given moment, but you’ll be able to accompany and look out for one another.
2. Day Travel vs. Night Travel
There are different precautions that need to be taken for day travel than for night time travel. Try to plan solo activities in the day time, and any night travel activities should be with a group - or at the very least, let someone know where you'll be. If you’re taking night transportation, make sure to have all your belongings secured and take routes that are more popular and that you can research ahead of time.
3. Know Your Drinking Limits
This applies to men and women equally: be in control of what you drink, and how much you drink. No matter who you are and where you’re traveling to, there is always a risk of encountering ill-intentioned people. Men, women - watch what you’re drinking! Order your own drinks, watch your drinks be made/poured, and don’t leave your drink unattended. And also know your limits, because even one extra drink beyond your personal limit can inhibit your decision making, which is never ideal when you’re in an unfamiliar setting. It’s a 101 safety rule, but it is always worth mentioning to anyone who is traveling.
It’s OK to lie — we won’t tell! Sometimes, you just gotta roll with a tiny lie to shoo away any unwanted interactions. For the sake of your safety, don’t feel bad if you need to lie and tell someone that you’re waiting for a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc., - even if there is no actual friend you’re waiting for. These tiny lies can sometimes protect and empower you to not feel like you need to give a stranger your attention or information.
5. Research Your Destination
It’s impossible to really “know” any new area you’re visiting for the first time, but it doesn’t hurt to research it beforehand. Research the different neighborhoods, try to memorize the name of a shop or two, and try to read up on the local culture. This will help you blend in and navigate the region more seamlessly, which will also reduce your chances of sticking out like a sore thumb and becoming a target for scammers and sketchy people.
6. Be Present
Put down your phone and let go of the distractions that limit you from using all of your senses to observe and absorb the places you’re traveling through. When you’re present, you’re less likely to get lost and more likely to be aware of all of your surroundings. A simple way to check if you’re being “present”? Ask yourself if you’re engaging all of your senses. Are you taking in the aromas? Are you observing the architecture and noticing the names of shops and streets? Are you listening to the local sounds?
7. Be Respectful of Local Culture
We encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the local culture and norms beforehand. Some countries require certain attire for women and men, and it’s important to be respectful of those rules and to adhere to them as necessary.
8. Feel Confident!
No matter where you go, there will always be risks. But you can feel confident knowing that many before you have traveled there, and many after you will travel there too! Though it is true that women tend to be more vulnerable while traveling than men, there is a lot you can do to minimize your vulnerability and travel more confidently.
🌎 Ready to start traveling the world? Check out FTLO's upcoming trips for young professionals! Meet other young, like-minded travelers and explore some of the most beautiful regions of the world.