As much as we would want to think that the world changed and that, finally, women and men are equal in all matters, this isn’t true. We still experience significant gender pay gaps and the denial of fundamental rights in some countries. Women are still seen as trading commodities and are even denied the right to drive or own properties in their names.
There’s also the fact that traveling is never entirely safe for a woman. No matter if you decide to travel alone or with your best friends, you should pay attention to local customs and try to stay safe. Below you’ll find a list of the top tips you should consider for your own safety when traveling abroad.
Get acquainted with the local customs
This mainly refers to visiting some Arab or Muslim countries with strict rules for women. Although some states allow women to walk alone on the street (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, India or Dubai), it’s not always advisable to do that, especially after dawn. India is known as a highly dangerous country for women of all nationalities, while in Dubai you would be safer if someone approached you and you screamed to call the police.
You should also pay close attention to the way you dress. Most Muslim countries allow tourist women to walk in their Western clothes as long as they’re not too short or revealing. Avoid wearing shorts, mini skirts, heels or see-through tops.
Other more traditionalist countries don’t allow women to walk with their heads uncovered, even if they are tourists. If you decide to travel to these countries alone or with your girlfriends, it would be best to have a local guide to tell you exactly what to do so you won’t offend anyone.
Dress down and keep your belongings safely
If you’re traveling alone you should stay as low-key as possible. Wear normal clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers, especially if you want to wander the streets. Avoid carrying large bags with you or flashing your electronics, mobile phone or wallet. Stick to credit cards as much as possible or, if you must use cash, never withdraw large amounts of money at once.
Although most girls sneak in at least a sexy dress and a pair of heels in their luggage, you should avoid dressing too flashy outside your hotel or resort, mainly if you travel alone.
Avoid traveling by night
Unless it’s absolutely mandatory, try to limit your night walks to avoid becoming an easy target for smugglers and robbers.
You should also avoid using public means of transportation (especially subways) and taxis as much as you can. Instead, if you plan on going out at night or go to the airport, it’s safer to use travel apps or shared car services.
Uber is a great choice because the app monitors both your location and your driver’s location so there are fewer risks involved. In addition, the payment is made directly via your account linked to your credit card, so you won’t have to carry cash with you.
Let your friends know about your itinerary
Always talk to your friends or family members before leaving. It would be best if they knew the address of the hotel or Airbnb apartment you’re staying in, as well as some emergency numbers they can contact in case something happens to you.
In addition, try to leave your phone open and buy SIM cards that grant you international calls and texts. If that’s not possible, most hotels, restaurants, and apartments provide free-of-charge Wifi. Use it to stay in touch with your friends, share them your plans, and the next places you want to visit.
Avoid drinking too much
Lastly, the golden rule to have a safe and wonderful trip is to never drink too much alcohol if you’re alone. If you do plan to drown your sorrows in Bacchic potions, try doing it in the privacy of your own apartment, hotel room or hotel lobby.