This year (2018), PRNewswire reported that ‘women dominate solo travel in a 63/36 split’. And according to TrekkSoft Travel Trends Report 2018, “The average monthly search for the term solo female travel grew by 52% between 2016 and 2017”. With the dramatic increase in solo female travelers, there are also subtle differences in their travel needs. Here’s what’s most important to ensure a safe, enjoyable trip:
- Extensive Pre-Planning
The first key to feeling confident as a solo female traveler is to research extensively. Research the public transit system, restaurants, activities, and ensure access to area maps. I also research where my country’s local Consulate is in that city. Depending on your mobile plan, it may be smart to research how to phone from the country you’re in to your home country. The more information I can gather, the more secure I feel.
For most women, safety is the #1 concern when traveling. It’s understandable that we feel vulnerable in countries where cultures, socio-economic and male/female equality differ from our own country. Here are ideas that will help keep you safe:
- Carry either a copy or a photo of your passport and health insurance phone numbers. A physical copy of the insurance numbers is best because if you’re unconscious, a stranger can easily find the information to help you.
- Keep small change in one pocket and bills in your bra. Don’t flash big bills anywhere.
- Don’t look at maps on the street. Slip into a store to do it.
- Older, frayed and unbranded electronics bags are less likely to be theft targets.
- Sometimes it’s best to just hand over what a thief wants. They likely don’t want to hurt you but it’s better to get a replacement item than risk it.
- When you look and act like you belong in an environment, everyone thinks you do. Just look comfortable, confident and like you know what you’re doing. It goes a long way to getting through many situations.
- Before traveling, search on ‘newest travel scams’ or ‘common travel scams’. For a few of the newest, check out, “Be Aware of the Newest Travel Scams”.
- The 1st night’s accommodation
The first night’s accommodation is really important in a new city. It’s during the first 24 hours that you learn the most about the new place you’ve landed. To help ensure you book a safe, comfortable hotel, research it and book in advance. A good way to find one is to go to TripAdvisor, select their drop-down menu and select Travel Forums. Once in Travel Forums, you can choose the Solo Travel section or you can search on ‘safe hotel’ in the city you’ll be in. Once you shortlist a few hotels, search ‘Hotel Name Safety’ from TripAdvisor. Then exit TripAdvisor and again cross-check each hotel by searching ‘Hotel Name safety’. Look for the newest posts. Older posts may not be relevant.
- Getting from airport to hotel
Of course, before you check into the hotel, you must get there first! Again, you don’t know the city so finding safe, quick transit is important. If the hotel has an airport shuttle, that’s your least expensive and safest way to get there but if convenience is your priority, take an ‘airport approved’ cab. Often airports offer only that choice anyway.
The blog, “Be Aware of the Newest Travel Scams”, lists some of the newest taxi scams.
- Getting local information from trusted sources
When you arrive at your hotel, use the check-in process to find out lots of information. Ask the desk clerk or concierge about common travel scams in the area, safe or not-so-safe areas of the city, and be sure to pick-up or take a picture of the hotel’s business card/map/address.
During the planning stage of a trip, consider joining some of that city’s Facebook groups. It’s here that you can find tips on what’s new, what to do and how to stay safe. What’s good about forums like TripAdvisor or Facebook is that if false information is posted, likely another person will jump into the ‘conversation’ to dispute it so legitimacy is more likely.
Not necessarily everyone is comfortable doing this, but I’m an avid connector and often find unbiased local information by talking to the person next to me on the plane or to other tourists waiting at a bus stop. I also learn lots from eavesdropping on conversations in restaurants, in transit or in stores. I’ve found some of the best places and activities by just comparing notes with people I strike-up random conversations with.
Solo female travel is the wave of the present and the future. These are the five most important travel considerations on my list. What are your most important solo travel considerations or tips?
Remember, to find the best selection of hotels, flights, cruises, vacation rentals and car rentals, use Opptee Travel Search.
Opptee Travel Search: One App. All Travel.