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Concerns about my safety are always common from friends, family, and even myself before leaving for any solo trip. Safety concerns are one of the many reasons some woman avoid traveling alone. Remember though, just because something can happen to you, doesn't mean it will, especially if you use the following safety tips.
Research. Research. Research.
Once I have an idea of where I want to go, I research practically 24/7, trying to find interesting things to do, toying with flight deals. While over-researching may seem like a waste of time for some who just want to pick up and go, I find it relaxing. It eases my fears about traveling in a new place. I believe the better prepared I am, the better can handle a bad situation. Moreover, it can keep you safe.
Some important questions you should be googling about your destination: What are the best neighborhoods and the ones you should avoid? Is there a hospital near my lodging, just in case? How are the reviews for my lodging? How will I travel once there? What the public transportation? Do I need to have vaccinations before leaving?
Being prepared is step one to safety while abroad. The better prepared you are the better equipped you can be to handle unexpected situations.
Confidence can be a subtle weapon. Theoretically, people are more likely to try to take advantage of someone who appears vulnerable. Holding your head high and carrying yourself as if you are comfortable and aware of your surroundings can be a deterrent for unwanted interactions. Even if you may not feel confident, fake it until you make it. Solo travel has the ability to boost your confidence, so let it.
Be rude when you have to be.
Be comfortable saying no or turning down an invitation if you are getting a bad vibe. Even, if you think you are being rude. Don't feel like you have any social obligation to put up with an uncomfortable situation. I know I can't be the only one who has gone along too long with a situation because I wanted to avoid conflict. Your safety always trumps politeness. Are you in an uncomfortable situation and unsure of how to leave without being rude? My advice is to be rude and put yourself first if your gut is telling you something is off.
Use your common sense.
Aside from being in a different place and not being in your typical routine, traveling isn't any more different than your everyday life. You are able to get by in your own city you'll get by fine in another. Stick to the basics like; don't go down a dark alley at night, don't accept a ride from a stranger, etc. You don't always have to have your guard all the way up but do use your basic common sense to guide you.
Be Comfortable saying NO.
There are countless scams that target tourists all over the world. Whenever I was around a popular attraction, while in Europe, it seemed like there was an increased number of people asking for money, wanting me to donate to something, or stopping me, to read my fortune; before asking for payment. If you don't want to interact with someone or stop to give money, you have to be comfortable saying no. Now, believe me, I'm all for helping people in need but it's not feasible to stop and give money or converse with every individual that I come across. Many of the inquiries for money also seemed to be scams. If someone approaches you a simple 'no thank you' is all you need. You don't have any obligation to explain why.
Bring an Imaginary Friend.
By 'imaginary friend' I mean, pretend you are traveling with someone. You, obviously, don't have to pretend all the time but sometimes it's a good excuse if you have to leave a situation. You can say you're meeting up with your significant other, family, or friends later on. People may see you as being less vulnerable if they believe you're with someone. Some women even go as far as to make fake phone calls or wear a fake wedding ring while traveling.
Be aware of how you present yourself.
Try to blend in as much as possible, if you can try to dress like the locals. Not looking like and obvious tourist can prevent you from getting some unwanted attention. Just as well, avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying expensive things around.
Having and regular check-in with someone from back home is always a good idea. I would even go as far as to email someone your itinerary so they can better locate you in case something were to go wrong during your trip.
Stash your cash in safe places.
Hiding your money and other important documents like your passport, and copies of it, in several different places can help you out if you happen to get robbed. If you keep all your money in one place and you get robbed all your money will be gone. However, if you stash it in multiple places then you'll always have a backup plan in case something like that were to happen. Want some tips on how to Stash Your Cash?
Get Travel Insurance.
While traveling you are solely responsible for yourself if something happens. However, travel insurance can get you out of a bind if need be. Travel insurance can cover things like emergency hospital stays, lost baggage, theft, flight cancellation, etc. You may not have to utilize it on every trip but it's something you will be grateful to have had when you need it. I purchased mine through World Nomads.