How Can Women Protect Themselves During Travelling?

how can women protect themselves while traveling

Travelling is one of the most exciting things you can do. It's like opening a book full of adventures and new experiences. But while you're out there having fun, it's also important to think about your protection. As women, there are almost zero places in the world we can go where we will be safe from men (hence why most of us would choose the bear). Note that includes our own homes and home countries, of course. Although it should be men's job to fix this problem, they still haven't and so it's up to us to do what we can to try to avoid this culture that we live in. Let's look at some easy and smart ways for women to protect themselves while travelling.

#1. Plan Ahead Like a Pro!

Before you even leave home, it's smart to do a bit of homework. Check out the places you'll be visiting. Know which areas are safe and which ones to avoid. Hoodmaps is a good start - real locals have added what each neighbourhood is famous for - whether it should be avoided or not. Another great resource is, surprisingly, Facebook, or more accurately Facebook groups for women. Simply type in 'women of (the city you're going to)' and be welcomed to a group of people who understand that you're cautious (aka women) and will know specific tips and tricks for the place you're going. Furthermore, you can probably find women in your new place to go out with - there's strength in numbers!

#2. Keep Your Loved Ones in the Loop!

Always let someone know your travel plans - this could be a family member, a friend, or even a neighbour. It’s like when you were a kid and had to tell your parents where you were going to play. Except we're not children now, we're adult women who know the truth. Anyway, if something doesn’t go according to plan, someone knows where you are.

#3. Carry Safety Tools!

Using self defense tools can add an extra layer of protection while travelling. Carry a whistle, which can be a great way to draw attention if you're in danger. A small flash-light is handy for finding your way in the dark. Personal alarms can make a loud noise if you need to scare someone off. These safety tools are like having a Swiss Army knife of safety, ready to help in various situations. Of course, most airports won't let you take them on board with you - so pack it underneath or buy one once you land.

#4. Pack Smart and Light!

When packing, only take what you really need. This is just good general advice anyway because it makes travelling easier. Leave expensive jewellery and flashy items at home. If you look less like a tourist, you’re less likely to catch the eye of someone with bad intentions. This is true for men too btw.

how can women protect themselves during a trip

#5. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings!

While travelling, always keep an eye on what's going on around you. If something feels off, trust your gut. Essentially, we still have animal instincts even if we try to pretend we don't. And as much as we are predators in the animal kingdom, we're also prey - and what do prey have? A great sixth sense of when it's time to leave (or not!) My old muay thai teacher used to swear by being aware of your surroundings - not just knowing where all the nearest exits are, but where the nearest bottle is to smash over someone's head.

#6. Blend In with the Locals!

Try not to stand out too much. Dress like the locals, try to learn a few words and phrases of the local language (with proper pronunciation) and the basics of the body language of the culture you're in (e. g. a nod might mean 'yes' in some cultures and 'no' in others). The more you fit in, the less likely you are to be targeted. Again, this is true for men too. And seeing as local women are targeted by local men, this won't help us that much, but it's good advice for travelling in general.

#7. Secure Your Valuables!

Keep your money, passport, and other important items in a safe place. Consider using a money belt or a neck pouch that can be hidden under your clothes. Maybe it's too bulky or irritating, but essentially, your money, passport and important items can always be replaced, they're much less important than you are.

#8. Have back up transportation!

We all know that women get harassed on buses, trains, in reputable taxis, in dodgy taxis, in ride-shares, whilst cycling, whilst walking, in their own cars etc.  In some countries there are women-only carriages on the underground and women only taxis - these are great. In countries where this isn't an option, it's good to have multiple plans when it comes to transportation. If the bus doesn't arrive, you have a taxi number, if the taxi is going to take long, you have a second taxi company's number etc. Additionally, Organic maps or are both invaluable apps - and free! They work using GPS so you don't need the Internet to know where you are. You can use them in taxis or ride-shares or whilst walking to check where you are - because a person who knows where they are is more likely to know where they're going.

#9. Trust Your Instincts!

Finally, always trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. And know that no matter what happens, you are not alone and are actually in the majority of women - we believe you and we care.

I hope these tips have given you some food for thought, and I hope you will be safe during your travels!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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