While it’s true that travel can be dangerous for both men and women, it can’t be denied that women do face more challenges. It’s no longer rational to expect one sex to simply not venture out at night in 2024.
It is critical that society ensure the safety of women and not in a manner that stifles freedom, as has been the case traditionally.
Assaults, sexual violence, and other heinous acts are serious problems that are not just limited to any single country. Statistics show that 64% of female respondents in a study claimed that they worried about their safety when traveling alone. Personal safety ranked as the number one reason that women cited for not wanting to travel alone.
Rather than living in fear, it is worth learning how to better equip and protect yourself. In this article, let us look at seven ways of doing so.
1. Plan Your Routes and Transportation in Advance
Planning your routes and transportation is crucial for the safety of solo female travelers at night. Beyond just having a general idea of where you’re going, it’s essential to research and plan your exact routes, including any potential alternatives. Identify safe modes of transportation and know their schedules.
This not only helps you avoid risky areas but also ensures that you won’t find yourself stranded or lost in an unfamiliar place. Importantly, planning in advance allows you to share your itinerary with a friend or family member.
They can check in on you if needed, providing an extra layer of security. Consider using apps that allow real-time location sharing, so someone can track your journey and ensure you reach your destination safely.
Remember that just because you book a cab from a service like Uber, it isn’t a guarantee of safety. Bad people still exist, and the recent slew of Uber sexual assault cases only proves this.
TorHoerman Law states that between 2017 and 2020, a relatively short time span, close to 10,000 sexual assaults were reported to Uber. That should tell you all you need to know about putting blind faith in any one place.
2. Choose Well-Lit and Populated Areas to Visit
Opting for well-lit and populated areas is more than just a safety precaution; it’s a strategy for empowerment. Criminals don’t want to risk getting caught and that risk increases when more people are around.
When planning your night out, prioritize destinations that are popular among locals or tourists, as these places tend to have more people around. Staying in populated areas gives you peace of mind knowing that if you are in trouble, help isn’t too far away.
Consider researching local events or popular spots where people gather. This not only minimizes the risk of encountering dangerous situations but also enriches your travel experience.
3. Stay Connected and Inform Someone About Your Whereabouts
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), sharing travel information with people you trust is extremely important. This includes details about your accommodations, like your hotel, and travel information, like your flight details.
Maintaining communication in this manner is a fundamental aspect of solo travel safety. Regular check-ins can be reassuring for both you and your contacts, ensuring that someone is aware of your movements.
Carrying a fully charged phone and a portable charger is essential. Additionally, have emergency contacts programmed for quick access. This way, you’re well-prepared to handle unexpected situations, and your loved ones can be informed promptly if necessary.
4. Research and Book Accommodation in Safe Neighborhoods
Choosing accommodations in safe neighborhoods is a critical step in ensuring a secure solo travel experience. Beyond just checking reviews for cleanliness and comfort, research the safety of the surrounding area. Look for neighborhoods with low crime rates and positive reviews regarding nighttime safety.
When booking, consider factors like proximity to public transportation, well-lit streets, and the presence of local services. Prioritizing safety in your accommodation choice sets the foundation for a secure and enjoyable trip.
5. Trust Your Gut Feeling
Intuition is a powerful tool, and trusting your instincts is essential when traveling alone. If a situation feels uncomfortable or a place seems unsafe, don’t hesitate to change your plans or seek assistance. Being aware of your surroundings involves more than just being present physically; it requires a heightened sense of situational awareness.
Practice mindfulness as you navigate new environments. Avoid distractions like excessive phone use and headphones, allowing you to stay vigilant about potential risks. Cultivating a keen awareness of your surroundings enables you to respond swiftly to any signs of trouble.
6. Utilize Technology and Safety Apps Designed for Solo Travelers
In the digital age, technology plays a vital role in solo travel safety. Equip yourself with safety apps designed for solo travelers, offering features like emergency alerts, virtual companions, and real-time location tracking. Research and download apps tailored to your destination, as local apps may provide specific insights and assistance.
Invest in personal safety devices, such as personal alarms or discreet self-defense tools.
Many startups have even sprung up in recent years, focusing on women’s safety while traveling. Apps like Greether have ended up making it into the top 15 innovative, sustainable travel companies listed by the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
7. Seek Local Advice and Recommendations From Trustworthy Sources
While guidebooks and online reviews offer valuable insights, seeking advice directly from locals provides a unique perspective on safety. Engage with trustworthy sources, such as hotel staff, locals in well-known establishments, or fellow traveller.
They can offer recommendations on safe areas, reliable transportation, and hidden gems that might not be available to popular tourist guides. Connecting with locals not only enhances your safety but also enriches your travel experience. Building these connections can lead to genuine insights into the local culture, making your solo journey more enjoyable and secure.
In conclusion, staying safe when traveling takes a mix of common sense, precaution, and wisdom. Essentially, limit the amount of time that you are truly isolated. This might mean taking the longer route, even though it’s safer.
It means letting your friends and family know that you are travelling and allowing them to check on you from time to time. With the number of digital aids to improve safety for women, the risk has been reduced, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.