If you're planning a trip as a solo female traveller, here is a package of advice on how best to embark on your adventure and ensure a trouble-free journey:
- Research your destination carefully before you leave:
What are the best neighbourhoods and the ones you should avoid? Are there only certain types of taxis you should take? Is there a medical centre or hospital nearby? When it comes to your lodging, how are its ratings for safety? What are former guests saying about their experiences? Are there any patterns emerging in the reviews you should be concerned about?
- Don’t trust people too quickly:
When you’re traveling on your own, it can be tempting to join up and find a “tribe”. Sometimes these tribes turn into lifelong friendships, but not always. Some con-artists have mastered the art of befriending travellers, getting them to leave their valuables unattended, and robbing them before taking-off. If you’re just getting to know someone, don’t trust him or her to guard your expensive electronics while you’re in the bathroom.
It’s not rude to be cautious. Take things slowly, and if someone earns your trust, that’s when you can depend on them.
3. Prepare for the worst with documents and secret cash:
In the event that the worst happens – your purse is stolen, your credit cards are frozen, you get sick and need to go to the hospital – it’s good to have a back-up plan.
For documents, keep front-and-back copies of your credit cards saved to cloud storage like Google Docs or Dropbox, as well as a copy of your passport. It’s a good idea to keep your bank and credit card phone numbers stored in a document as well.
Keep a back-up cash stash. Keep at least £50 in hidden in a secret spot deep inside your luggage, like inside a tampon or hidden in a sock. In a separate spot, keep a back-up credit card. If your purse or day bag is stolen and literally everything is taken away from you, this will provide you with a temporary financial cushion.
- Buy a good travel insurance policy:
It could save your life. Whether your luggage is lost, you end up in a political coup or natural disaster, or you need to go to the hospital while on the road, travel insurance will reimburse your expenses. If you’re robbed, travel insurance will provide you with the security you need. Examine prospective travel insurance policies in depth, because they might not cover your personal situation. Many insurance plans won’t cover certain adventure sports or particular countries or regions. Most plans will only cover a fraction of the value of your electronics.
- Spend extra money on staying safe:
If your flight is scheduled to land in a rough city late at night, you should opt for a guesthouse that will pick you up directly from the airport instead of taking a bus into town and trying to find a guesthouse on foot.
Pay extra to take a taxi home at night if you don’t feel comfortable walking through the neighbourhood on your own.
Paying more to stay in a central neighbourhood with lots of lively activity instead of a cheaper, quiet residential area where you feel isolated.
Choose the diving school with the best safety reputation and most positive TripAdvisor reviews instead of the one that will do it cheaper.
- Keep in touch:
Choose at least one designated friend or family member to have a copy of your itinerary in advance: your flight numbers, your accommodation, and a general schedule of where you’ll be on which dates, as well as information on your travel insurance, credit cards, and a bank account number. Decide (before you go) how you’ll check in and how often, whether it’s through daily emails, texts, social media updates, or regular Skype chats. Make sure you keep a consistent schedule. Staying in touch will allay the fears of your loved ones, but if you find yourself in trouble, they could locate you more easily than if you had been vague about your whereabouts.