It has never been cheaper, easier, or safer to travel but there are still safety concerns to take into account before you hit the road, particularly if you’re a woman. (While we wait for the dinosaurs to catch up…) Increased physical vulnerability, gender-based crime targeting, and varying attitudes towards women in different countries make it particularly important to protect your safety if you’re a girl on the go. We’ve rounded up 6 of the most important tips we know to help you stay safe while you explore the world.
1. PACK LIGHTIt might be tempting to take your whole life with you on the road but you’ll be an easy target for mugging if you’re lugging around multiple heavy bags. You also need to be able to carry everything easily yourself – it’s nice when a kind stranger helps you load your backpack onto the train but you don’t want to be relying on help everywhere you go.
2. CHECK AIRBNB & COUCH SURFING REVIEWSAirbnb is a great way to save money and meet locals but beware that anyone can sign up on the website offering their home to strangers. Ditto Couchsurfing. Make sure to check reviews from other guests, particularly other women, and only stay with people who have been positively reviewed multiple times. Never stay at a place that hasn’t yet be reviewed. Why should you be the guinea pig? Bonus points, use Google maps and Street View to scope out the place – and its surrounds, first.
3. WEAR A FAKE RINGThis tips is the worst. But….errr…popping a fake wedding ring on your finger will stop some men from bothering you, particularly in countries where attitudes towards women are still conservative. Wearing a wedding ring also makes people assume that a man is travelling with you – it’s not progressive but it is helpful for your safety. Use it, don’t use it.
4. DONT BE TOO QUICK TO TRUSTAnother aggravating tip – so here goes. You’ll meet plenty of fantastic people while you travel – it’s one of the best things about exploring the world. But women do need to be more wary of strangers they meet on the road. Don’t trust that guy to buy you a drink even if he says he has a girlfriend back home, and take your stuff with you when you go to the bathroom. If strangers are overly friendly, it might be too good to be true. To avoid a crook swiping your bag or a pickpocket taking your valuables, keep your bag sandwiched between your legs or pressed in between your body and a surface when you’re buying something or travelling on buses or trains. You don’t want to be caught in a tug of war with a stranger when you’re by yourself. Escalators are another prime location for a bag nab. Keep your bag away from the escalator passing in the opposite direction.
6. CHECK IN WITH HOMEGoing off-grid is one of the great joys of travelling but it’s hard to completely disappear these days with Facebook and cheap mobile plans everywhere you go. Check in with someone at home every now and again to let them know where you are and where you might go next – this information could save your life if you do get hurt unexpectedly or go missing. Travelling can expand your mind and offer amazing adventures – just be sure to stay safe and pass your best travel safety tips on to the trailblazing girls you meet on the road!
“Real travel would be to see the world, for even an instant, with another’s eyes” – Robyn Davidson, Tracks