Many people have a passion for travel, which can provide wondrous new experiences and enrich travelers’ lives in ways they might never have imagined prior to their trips. While some may associate traveling with family vacations or backpacking excursions with friends, more and more travelers are flying solo.
In its 2015 Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, the market research firm Millward Brown found that 24 percent of people traveled solo on their most recent international vacations. That study examined travelers from 25 countries, illustrating that solo travel is a global trend.
Traveling alone can provide travelers with a greater sense of freedom, as such wanderers can pick and choose their trips and activities without having to consult with a partner or friend. But traveling solo also can be more risky than traveling with friends or family. The safety in numbers philosophy has long been applied to traveling overseas, but women traveling alone can employ a handful of safety strategies when planning their trips.
Women should take various factors into consideration before choosing lodging for their trips. Small hotels or bed and breakfasts may not be as glamorous as larger alternatives, but it’s easier to become friendly with staff at such establishments and it’s easier for staff to recognize any suspicious characters loitering on the premises. Choose a hotel on a well-traveled street so you are not walking alone down a dark road late at night. If you plan to drive on your trip, inquire about valet parking and its availability throughout the day. A 24-hour parking service can keep you from having to park in dimly lit and/or faraway parking lots late at night.
Many travelers may enjoy “getting lost” on their trips, feeling that such wandering is a great way to discover areas of a city that are less populated by fellow tourists. But solo travelers must be mindful of their surroundings at all times. Study maps before departing on your trip so you can get a layout of any locales you plan to visit. Learn the landmarks and their locations within the city, using them as guides should you get lost during your travels. Employ the GPS technology on your smartphone if you find yourself getting lost, and ask the front desk attendant or concierge at your hotel to mark off any potentially dangerous neighborhoods to avoid.
While it can be difficult to blend in with the locals when traveling overseas, try to avoid dressing too flashy or wearing lots of jewelry. Jewelry may draw the attention of pickpockets or thieves, while overdressing may announce to criminals that you’re a tourist. Blending in as much as possible can make you less noticeable to criminals and reduce your risk of being targeted.
More and more travelers are going solo. Female travelers who embrace this trend must exercise caution to ensure their trip is as safe as it is enjoyable.