Photo by Valeria Ushakova:
Traveling alone can be quite a thrilling adventure. You get to explore new places and indulge in fresh delicacies without limitations from other people. However, you will also need to be more cautious and alert when traveling alone, especially for women. Here are four tips to help keep you safe.
Research Your Destination
Information is power and will give you the details you need to know about visiting the area. Extensive research will let you into which places are dodgy and which you need to avoid. When you look into the general attitude and beliefs of the locals, you will be able to determine how safe it is for you as a woman. Ensure you check on the laws about foreigners and equip yourself with the necessary contacts in an emergency. Accustom yourself to the required authorities to help you out if you get robbed or harassed. Therefore, it is pertinent to note where and how to get to the nearest hospitals and police stations in the area you will be visiting. All the information you gather will help you avoid any gestures that may be construed as offensive to the native of the place you are visiting. Knowing a word or two of the local dialect can also come in handy.
Self and Surrounding Awareness
It is no secret that when traveling alone as a woman, you are exposed to so many more dangers than a man. The golden tip here is to always stay on your guard and ensure that you take note of your new environment. When you pay attention, it will be easy to tell of changes in your surroundings and judge them accurately. It is, therefore, quite unwise to travel alone with distractions such as headphones, especially while out and about. It would be best to watch out for people who may seem to be following you or cars slowing down near you. Self-awareness is synonymous with safety. Before traveling, you can equip yourself with some self-defense skills and tactics, such as areas you can kick an attacker to free yourself. Most martial arts require flexibility to learn the moves. There is excellent yoga teacher training in Costa Rica that goes a long way in ensuring you are physically ready and flexible enough to defend yourself. Even though you can trust everyone, it doesn’t hurt to be polite and respectful. As a general rule, always trust your instincts, and when you feel off about a place, leave immediately.
Passports and Visas are documents that could save or put your life at risk. It is always relatively easy for the locals to tell new faces. As such, malicious people may want to take advantage of you when traveling unaccompanied and steal your passport for ransom. In some countries, not having a passport amounts to trespassing and is interpreted as illegal entry punishable by fines and jail time.
Your first cause of action when you arrive at a new place is to lock all your travel documents in a safe. Walking around with the papers makes you an easy target for pickpocketers, and it may be too late by the time you realize your passport is gone. It is advised that you make copies of the travel documents and leave the originals at your place of residence. Please keep a copy on your phone and email a copy to a friend if you urgently need them to send it over.
Even when going to a foreign for a few weeks, getting a local sim card and a phone plan is essential. You can easily make international calls, text, and use data. It would be best if you had your phone active and charged. The apps to have when traveling alone should include an offline map and a translation map. Ensure that you drop a pin to friends when out of the hotel. Restrain from using your phone when out because it could be stolen and, worse, makes you look like a tourist and hence an easy target.
Avoid being too obvious about your location, especially on social media apps, as some people may use this to track and ambush you.
The list above will help you avoid and tackle situations that may arise while traveling by yourself. The general conclusion is to establish a safety routine as you get to your destinations and keep trusted people in the loop of your whereabouts.