Seeing the world is an experience that affords endless possibilities and expanding cultural awareness. But traveling to an unknown part of the planet is a risk that should never be taken lightly. Planning with friends can be a hassle, syncing busy schedules that don’t always work out as planned. Sometimes traveling alone is the only option in order to check that dream destination off your bucket list. But if you do decide to go this route, safety should be a number one priority especially if you are a woman.

Don’t Be Too Nice

Women who have the desire to travel but are hesitant have a common fear of being alone. That same fear is present in normal circumstances, so it’s no surprise that the angst is heightened when traveling to an unknown location. But much like at home, when faced with those situations you have to trust your instincts. When something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. Don’t be naïve to situations and research the destination as much as you can to prepare for what could possibly happen. “Sometimes people – especially women – let courtesy override our gut instincts because we don’t want to be rude or be told we’re overreacting” (Be My Travel Muse). Don’t be rude but be firm when saying “no”. It’s better to overreact than not react when faced with certain situations.

Fly Under the Radar

When alone, try not to be too flashy or bring attention to yourself especially when utilizing money. A cool trick that Sonja, the creator of Breadcrumbs Guide, uses involves a concealing technique using a tampon. “Conceal cash by rolling it up tightly and sticking it in an empty tampon applicator” (Be My Travel Muse). This is a pretty good solution to keep the pick-pocketers away from your cash. You want to try to blend in slightly and this is where your research comes in handy. Get familiar with the customs and traditions to help with what clothing items to pack as to not draw unwanted attention. This also includes alcohol consumptions. You know your limits so be aware of the amount of alcohol you are drinking when traveling abroad. Being alert and responsive is something that is in your control so don’t surrender that to a stranger.

Transit Systems

While you are traveling within the country, it’s always a best practice to check out their transit systems and also some heavily populated areas. If you happen to be walking alone after dark, Stephanie from Travel Break, suggests “I’ll often walk relatively close to a couple or family…You’re less of a target if you’re by other people” (Be My Travel Muse). Getting to know the locals will also help as to not feel so alone when perusing around the city. Using an Uber is probably the safest way to travel on wheels because your location is tracked in the app and there isn’t any physical money exchanged. Try not to use the public transit system at night for obvious reasons but instead use a taxi or Uber. This is where your planning comes in to use; try to arrive at a location and back to where you are staying in the daytime. You don’t want to risk the chance of being lost while it’s dark outside.

Traveling alone can be an overwhelming experience, testing your true limits of survival and instincts. But the greatest reward is seeing the world and what it has to offer outside of your little bubble. Having the opportunity to meet people who have a completely different culture from you and indulging in that culture is priceless. The benefits are definitely worth it but take heed to the realities and most importantly, be safe.