In recent years, a staggering 32 million American women traveled independently and as this trend of single-woman travel grows, both online and traditional travel industries are rushing to meet demand. Airlines, travel websites and tour operators are wising up and catering to this dynamic demographic — welcome news for the adventurous female.
Though women still need to take the necessary precautions and be aware of cultural norms when traveling abroad, there are great perks to hitting the road alone. Traveling solo offers approachability, enabling one to meet more people than if she were traveling with a group, and giving her a unique window into the lives of the host culture.
Below are tips to make the solo travel experience a safer and more satisfying one.
Before You Go
Before you hop on a plane and head to your destination, learn about the geographical and historical lie of the land, read up on the country’s artistic and cultural events and practice some key local phrases to make your trip richer. Don’t forget to research some of the cultural norms and prevailing belief systems, specifically those that pertain to women.
When packing your bags, remember that less is best. Traveling with minimal gear not only increases your economy of movement, but also decreases your chances of becoming a target for thieves or pickpockets.
It has never been easier to find expert advice on travel, particularly by travelers in the know. A great way to find out more about your destination is to get the inside scoop from other women travelers who have been there. There are travel sites online that regularly feature seasoned travel writers and travel bloggers, including WorldHum.
When You Arrive
It is wise to check in with the consulate once you arrive at your destination. As a safety precaution, you may need to be contacted by your country’s consulate in the event of an emergency, or if your family has to be notified of your whereabouts.
As a woman traveling alone, insurance may come in the form of a cell phone. Though you should rely far more on your intuition than a cell phone in the event of a dicey situation, knowing that you can call ahead to secure a hotel room or contact a friend can be extremely helpful. If you plan on being in a country for some time, having an unlocked GSM cell phone with a local, prepaid SIM card is a great option.
If you plan on getting cash or staying in remote areas for extended periods of time, a money belt is indispensable. Remember that timing is everything: as a single woman traveler, going to an ATM in the middle of the night can be unsafe. Ensure that you have enough ca