Danika's Safety Tips for the Solo Female Traveler

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

Hi! I'm Danika, the latest #2 addition to the Girls Who Fight team. Becoming a part of Girls Who Fight is truly a dream come true, and I am so excited to be a part of the team.


Fun fact about me: I LOVE travelling and exploring new places, and I like to go solo. Last year I traveled around Asia and Europe, and my bucket list keeps growing. Anything that provides a healthy dose of culture shock is what I look for.


Don't worry that's vermilion and rice on my head, part of my welcome greeting at the little Nepali village. Culture shock = full heart


I believe we have a lot to gain from putting ourselves through these experiences, especially in developing into a more tolerant and adaptable global citizen. The problem is, it can be hard to find the perfect travel partner who wants to go to all the same places you do. My solution: go solo!


Having traveled to most places by myself, I get asked a lot about how safe I felt travelling solo as a female. I understand their concern of course, there are many horror stories out there of awful things happening to girls overseas. The reality is though, there are many things you can control to keep yourself out of trouble, giving you a better shot at staying safe.


Improving women's safety is one of our main goals at Girls Who Fight, so I thought it would be helpful to share some tips that I think are good to keep in mind. I hope you find them interesting and helpful. Here are my basic dos and don'ts for travelling solo as a female!


 

1. Do trust your gut.


This may sound silly, simple and cliche, but it can be easy to dismiss your gut. The few times that I've gone against my gut feeling and convinced myself that “I'm just overthinking it”, are the times when things have not gone so smoothly for me.


Some people call it a vibe, an energy, an aura. Whatever it is you want to call it, often we can sense the intentions of someone before it is revealed. It is crucial not to ignore your intuition, and if you are feeling unsure, veer on the safe side. Removing yourself from situations before they potentially escalate is an important thing to keep in mind at all times.


We all get a sense of people within a few minutes of meeting them. We notice their tone, body language, and energy. Watch closely, learn how to read these signs, and take them seriously.


2. Don't arrive at night.


When you're coordinating flights, buses, or trains, try to arrange your arrival during the day, or at least not after the sun has gone down.


Regardless of where you are, the environment during the day is always less intimidating than it is at night. More people are out and about, shops and businesses are open, public transport runs more frequently, and you can easily read street signs. So naturally, getting to your accommodation will always be less stressful if done during the day.


Sometimes, options of bus and flight times can be limited, depending on where you are going. But, do your best to coordinate your travelling to arrive during the day, and you will feel more comfortable, calm and safe.


3. Do write down directions on paper.


Ah, the logistical struggles of travelling...Though I do not do this ritually, I really should. We rely heavily on our phones, and when they fail on us, we can find ourselves in a bit of a pickle.


Writing down important information, and having a note pad with you in general is pretty handy. Important phone numbers, address of a guesthouse, or simple directions is a crucial back up for when your map app fails on you, or you lose internet connection.


The tiny plane I took to get to the middle of Borneo. A perfect example of needing written notes ahead of time, as there was no internet, and very few locations with cellphone reception.

Another reason I suggest this is that sometimes, I may not be comfortable having my phone out in the open. In a lot of places, I prefer to keep all my electronic devices hidden away, if it's rare for the locals of the area to have these types of possessions (I'll talk more about this later).