I’ve created a guide to staying safe as a solo female traveller that’s filled with helpful tips to make your solo travels as safe as possible. But there are things you can do before you even step out your front door that can make your solo travel experience safer.
This post goes into more detail about what you can do before your trip, to make your arrival smooth and your whole trip much safer.
Checklist for female solo travellers before travelling
From bringing enough cash for your first two days (at least!) to downloading offline maps. I hope this checklist helps you prepare for your solo travel adventure with confidence!
Official Travel Advice
Check out your government’s Foreign Travel Advice website, like the UK one here. This should be standard advice for any traveller, but check to see if your government offers any Foreign Travel Advice for the country you’d like to visit. These pages are usually updated frequently, and take into account very new information, from natural disasters to political unrest.
The experience of others
Research the experience of other solo females that have travelled to that country e.g. using the Travel Ladies app, Facebook groups or advice on blogs.
Arrive with cash
Make sure you bring the correct currency for that country for the first two days, at least, in case of any issues with your card on arrival. Check that it’s enough to cover the cost of transfers from the airport/train station etc, food and also any accommodation costs.
Check that your debit/credit card will work
Double-check that your card will work in the country that you’re heading to. Banks don’t usually need to be informed anymore when you’re heading abroad as their fraud dedication teams have improved in picking up anomaly transactions. But just in case, arriving with cash means you can get transport etc, and you won’t be stranded with no money.
Research how you’ll use your phone
Check if your mobile phone data etc, will work in that country, if not, make plans to get a sim card at the airport or in town. Don’t rely on wifi only. If you need to make an emergency call you’ll need cell service.
While travelling as a solo female traveller in Vanuatu I forgot to check whether my phone would pick up service. Long story short, it didn’t!
Extra phone tips…
- Make sure you know how to call emergency services in that country.
- Have a written copy of your emergency contacts for family or friends. Just in case your phone battery goes and you need to borrow a phone to call someone.
Before you arrive in a new location, book (at least) your first night’s accommodation. Two nights is ideal, especially if you’ve shifted across a major timezone.
Extra accommodation tips…
- If you can, book hotels or hostels with a 24-hour reception. This means that if your flight or arrival is delayed, or you have any issues at night, staff will be around to check you in or help out.
- Many hostels have female-only dorms, but these will often book up quickly. If you feel safer in a female-only dorm, book early to guarantee your space!
- Hostels are the best place to meet other solo travellers and make friends!
Related Read | How to Make Friends While Solo Travelling
Download offline Google Maps of the area before you arrive. Make sure it covers areas you’d like to visit and your accommodation too so you can easily head back there without using up data. Do this while you have a great Wi-Fi connection. For example, at home before you go or at your accommodation before you move somewhere else.
This is especially useful if you’re catching a taxi too, and I mention it in my taxi safety tips for solo female travellers. With an offline map, you can follow the route back to your accommodation and make sure the taxi is heading in the right direction.
Get the right day bag
Depending on how long you’re going for, you’ll likely have a suitcase or carry-on backpack along with a smaller bag (hand luggage piece) that you’ll carry around during the day.
Make sure to bring a secure backpack that’s comfortable to wear and helps to protect your stuff. But a secure-fitting backpack can deter thieves, compared to a shoulder bag that could easily be swiped from your shoulder.
No matter your budget, there are some great affordable backpacks out there. Anti-theft features like secure zips, RFID-blocking and durable fabric.
Related Read | How to Keep Your Gear Safe While Travelling