There’s something empowering about solo travel, particularly for women.
You get to experience somewhere new while doing any activities you choose, entirely on your terms. But it can also be a bit daunting to navigate any cultural and language barriers. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done and that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while doing it.
Always have insurance
This is an absolute no brainer. From cancelled flights to a hospital visit, travel insurance is the safety blanket every traveller should carry. Check out your options on comparison sites like yallacompare or souqalamal.
Dress the part
Research your destination beforehand. You’re less likely to be a target for petty crime if you blend in. You don’t have to go out and buy and entirely new wardrobe, obvs, but a quick flick through the ‘Gram will give you an idea of how people present themselves in each of your chosen destinations. The “spot the tourist” trope exists for a reason, try not to look like one.
Leave your swag at home
One of the worst things you can do is travel with valuables and family heirlooms. Just don’t do it. If you must, try and leave what you can in the hotel safe. For extra precaution, it’s worth keeping a travel safe with you, like the Pacsafe Travelsafe. Obviously nothing is 100% theft proof, but it will minimise the chances of losing valuables. Also, don’t let your valuables (passport, camera, etc) out of your site in transit. Keep them on you.
It’s a good idea to save copies of your passport and both sides of your credit cards and any important phone numbers or addresses in the cloud in the event of losing them or having them stolen. Equally important, don’t keep all your cards and cash in one place – keep a separate credit card and a spare bit of cash somewhere separate.
Be wary of people
Not to be a Debbie Downer but not everyone has good intentions. Pick pockets and scam artists are experts at lulling strangers into a false sense of security. Same goes for any groups of tourists. Yes, travelling can be an amazing way to meet people and form lifelong friendships. But keep your guard up; not all countries are as safe as the UAE so it’s important not to become complacent.
Touch base regularly
If you’re going to go off the grid to find yourself in the Himalayas, that’s cool. But make sure somebody knows where you’re going, and I don’t mean in a vague direction. Give them your flight itinerary and relevant accommodation info. If you’re meeting friends along the way, share their contact info. Check in with them as and when you can, whether via WhatsApp as soon as you have Wi-Fi or an email from the airport. Let somebody know you’re safe along the way.