I love traveling alone, prefer it. I’ve budget-traveled alone throughout Europe, South America, Central America, Russia, Japan, wrote a travel guide in Mexico, have done road trips through all 48 states plus 2,000+ solo hike of the Appalachian Trail.

I’ve been accosted and threatened but never hurt (except by goddam dogs). I’m careful. I’d recommend women to travel alone in any of the places I’ve been – IF they are careful.

The most important thing is to never forget that you are a female. It is hard to get used to. I don’t walk around thinking “I’m a female!!” – ever. I just don’t. I have the luxury of growing up in a place where it didn’t matter.

When you travel alone, you have to think. And think wisely.

I’m a female. Other people might see me as vulnerable. It is not the culture, it is the individuals within that culture. Here are some tips and advice that I can provide to females who wants to travel solo:

  • Walk with purpose. Walk at a good pace, walk with a direction of where you are going. If you linger, do so near a wall, near other women or someone who looks older.
  • Don’t hitch-hike. Ever. Ride on public transportation if there are other women/children on it.
  • Don’t show all of your money in public.
  • Don’t stay in dodgy hostels. Many times, other travelers are the biggest threat and hostels are notorious for non-secure rooms.
  • If you need to ask directions, ask other women, people over 60, or merchants.
  • Don’t show cleavage or upper thighs. Just don’t, it’s disrespectful in many cultures and not appropriate.
  • Bring luggage that is easy to carry and move.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and in which you can move. I always wear sneakers when traveling, always.
  • Perfect and use the confident, polite, emphatic “No thank you.” Be rude if you have to, always walk away if uncomfortable.
  • Don’t get drunk around people you do not know. If possible, don’t get drunk at all.
  • Don’t tell anyone where you are staying or let someone walk you home unless you are 100% sure they are safe.
  • If you’re going out at night, tell your hotelier where you are going. They are usually very protective, I’ve found. Ask them to call taxis and get the card of the taxi to pick you up.
  • Always ALWAYS choose safety over saving money. It’s not even a question.

This all seems very primitive and Victorian. To some, it might “ruin the experience.” No. Being groped, molested, accosted, or threatened ruins the experience.

There are malicious people everywhere and you are vulnerable because you are female and an outsider. These precautions help you get to a place where you can judge dangerous situations/people and then relax and enjoy those that are safe.

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The above article was contributed by Ellen Vrana (@ellenvrana), a former consultant who now finds a more pleasurable life as a writer. You can follow her writings in her website www.therunciblegoose.com.

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