Traveling is a form of empowerment for many women, but it also comes with abundant safety concerns, especially if one is traveling alone. From pick-pocketing to violence, travelers are vulnerable beings, as the transient lifestyle leaves one more exposed to elemental and interpersonal conflict. For many women seeking to widen their horizons – often quite literally – and experience the breadth of culture and beauty of this planet, these potential safety threats can be a major deterrent.
Photo: Philip Warp from Pexels
While these hazards shouldn’t exist in the first place, let alone be the traveler’s burden to navigate, these tips and tricks will provide practical advice for a traveler’s safety as they explore the wonders this wide world offers. Regardless, traveling with care and caution is important, especially in regards to the sociopolitical climate of the country one is entering.
Keep these habits in mind when exploring a new place (especially when you are traveling alone).
Do your research
Familiarizing oneself with the climate, customs, neighborhoods and individual safety concerns of a city and country is a top strategy to avoid potentially unsafe environments. Take Amsterdam, for example. The Red Light District in downtown Amsterdam is widely considered to be unsafe, especially after dark, and especially for the lone female. Many cities have similar neighborhoods, so learning these districts is a smart and easy way to avoid dangerous situations.
Bring the proper protective gear
The brand Pacsafe offers different protective equipment that prevents thieves from successfully relieving you of your belongings, including specialized backpacks, wallets, hip packs, locking accessories and even bra pockets to hide cash and cards in the most hidden of places. Explore their website for even more fun and secretive safe carriers.
Photo: Anna Shvets from Pexels
Invest in safety equipment
A whistle or similar alarm can alert nearby people if you feel unsafe at any time, especially while walking alone or at night. Shop a safety whistle here. Other technologies include door stop alarms, which, when primed and placed under any sealed door, alert residents of anyone attempting to enter the room. They also jam the door to prevent entry. Owning a strong flashlight is also recommended, especially for walking at night. Mace or pepper spray helps if close confrontation cannot be avoided. Thorough research on countries of travel is encouraged, as these personal protection spray devices are not legal in certain countries.
Trust your gut!
Though you may have heard this saying a thousand times, it is a classic for a reason. Listen to your instincts regarding where you are, who you are with and what is happening around you. If you feel uncomfortable, trust those feelings! You don’t need a reason to act.
Many apps have been created for the precise purpose of keeping people safe while traveling. Use Noonlight to make sure you safely reach your destination if walking or taking public transport, or to alert authorities if the situation does become unsafe.
Photo: Agnieszka Boeske on Unsplash
Reach out to people
Make friends with locals or fellow travelers. Not only will you encounter some incredible souls, but safety comes in numbers and insight comes with collective experience.
Learn the area and the language
Having a basic understanding of the geography and the dialogue of a city can immensely improve your feelings of safety. Being able to converse and maintain your bearings in an otherwise unfamiliar place will do wonders for your mental comfort levels and well-being.
Finally, keep traveling!
While the world is filled with uncertain encounters, it is filled with just as much beauty. The more you travel, the better and more comfortable you will become at traveling safely and efficiently. Continue to take the world by storm, one adventure at a time.
By Makenna Dykstra
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