With every passing year, more and more Americans are going on vacation outside of the country. One of the largest growing groups of tourists is that of women traveling solo. Although there is no reason why a woman can’t go on vacation by herself, the sad truth is that a woman traveling solo does need to take extra precautions that would not be necessary if she were traveling in a group or with a man. If you are a women traveling alone, here are some tips that should help keep you from encountering trouble while abroad.
Understand the Culture
Be aware of the legal and cultural restrictions upon women in the country you are in. Things that are perfectly acceptable and legal in the United States do not necessarily apply in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. For example, it’s not the best idea to walk around in clothing that would be considered immodest in Saudi Arabia – there have been several instances of tourists being arrested for having “improper dress.” Even if you are not arrested, you may face hostility, harassment or violence from the natives if you are not dressed to their liking. In Westernized countries, you can socialize with anyone or invite whomever you like to your hotel room, but in Laos that’s a no-no – it is illegal to invite a citizen of Laos into your hotel room if they are of the opposite sex. Some of the restrictions upon women are blatant double standards that do not apply equally to men, but if you’re not a social activist with a mission then it’s a better idea to just play along and enjoy your stay without complications.
As a solo female tourist staying at a hotel, there are several things you can do to increase your safety. Try to get a room near the elevator so you don’t have to wander through various deserted hallways in order to get to your room. When checking into the hotel and filling in the registration card, disguise your gender by using an initial instead of listing your full name and not filling in the Mrs./Miss/Mr. box. That way if there is an unscrupulous clerk looking to prey upon a solo female, you won’t be an obvious target. Also, when the clerk gives you your room number, ask them to write it down instead of saying it out loud so no one nearby will overhear.
Find a Friend
Just because you are traveling alone doesn’t mean you always need to be alone. In some situations it’s a good idea to be with other people. For example, if you don’t feel comfortable walking to a nearby restaurant alone at night, acquaint yourself with some fellow travelers and ask if they’d like to come with you. Not only is there safety in numbers, but the more the merrier! If you are in a place where you feel in danger of being harassed, try to stay close to families or tour groups – you are less likely to be bothered if it looks like you are part of a group.
About The Author: Julie Rukavina is from CompleteCar: a website offering some information for travelers and drivers in North America.