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Solo Travel Safety Tips for Women: The Ultimate Summer 2024 Guide

Feel safe during solo travel with these helpful tips.

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Photo: Shutterstock

If you’re anything like us, setting off on a summer adventure isn’t just exciting; it’s empowering. So many places to go, so many things to see and new friends to make. But let’s be real. As much as we look forward to our new experiences and making memories, the question of safety is a constant shadow, especially for we women hitting the road (or skies) solo.
 
We’re here for it and for you, so get ready to dive into a guide that feels more like a chat between friends. Because we’re sharing all the essential tips and tricks that we use ourselves to stay safe when we’re out chasing summer sunsets on the open road. This isn’t about being a killjoy or dampening your spirit of adventure with a list of don’ts; it’s about empowering you with the know-how of women who’ve been there, so that you can enjoy every bit of your own journey with confidence. And together, we’ll cover everything from picking the safest spots to making smart choices about where you stay, what you pack, and how you move around.
 
So, get ready for an incredible summer of exploring the wonders of the world, your way, with peace of mind tucked into your travel bag. Welcome to your must-have companion for summer 2024: the ultimate guide to solo travel safety tips for women. Buckle your seatbelt, and let’s make this summer unforgettable, safe, and your best one ever.
 
Prepping for Your Summer Solo Adventure – Research Your Destination

No matter where you go, you’ll feel much more comfortable and have a lot more fun when you lay the groundwork for success and safety. This means researching destinations (and your route, if you’re driving) in advance. Some areas may be safer for women travelers than others, especially after dark. There are a lot of travel blogs and online reviews available by women who’ve already visited or live in the area that you’re interested in.
 
If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll want to understand the local laws and cultural norms before you go. This will have a huge impact on the way that you’re perceived and received. If you’re unwilling to accommodate local customs, you’ll be much happier somewhere where you can be yourself. You’ll also want to check the U.S. State Department website to see if there is a travel advisory issued on your location. Better to know all that up front—before you call your credit card in. On the other hand, keep in mind that there may be some unexpected locales that you haven’t considered…like Nicaragua.

When you’re looking for the right spot, consider safety over grabbing the best deal. Again, look for online advice from other women, not just about their bad experiences but zero in on the places that they recommend. Note if they mention a vacation that highlights solo travelers, such as a cruise. Cruise lines have come a long way in seeking out solo travelers, with no single supplement fee and a separate, secure area. Also make sure that you check out general reviews from other travelers. If there are complaints about cleanliness, chances are good that the location cuts corners in other areas as well, such as strong room locks and 24-hour security.
 
Packing Essentials for Safety and Comfort
I simultaneously want to bring everything in my closet and put it all in a carry-on bag. So, I’ve finally figured out that this means I want to pack light and also be ready for anything! But focusing on safety, here’s what to consider:
 
Dress the Part
Pickpockets and thieves thrive on tourists, so do what you can not to be a soft target (that is, easily accessible). You may not always blend into the local environment, but at least give it a go. We’re going to give you some tough love here: Leave your expensive jewelry in the room safe or at home—nothing screams target louder than a woman obviously traveling alone and flashing expensive items. And leave the heels at home. You may need to move quickly or run, and you’ll want your footwear to be able to accommodate wherever the journey takes you.
 
Tools to Deter
There are a few things that can go a long way in deterring would-be bad actors. A portable door lock and door stopper can add an extra layer of security to your room. And keep in mind that using the GPS on your cell can burn through the battery, and you don’t want would-be baddies to peg you as a lost tourist. So, throw a portable battery bank in your bag. We also like to carry personal defensive tools when possible. Our favorite is a tactical pen; it’s a real pen made of durable metal with a steel-pointed tip. You can use it to break glass or to jab someone if they grab you. We also like pepper spray/gel as well, but if you’re flying, check with the airline first…and those always go in checked bags.
 
Staying Safe on the Go
You’re just about ready to roll out the door on your rocking vacation…but not quite yet!
 
Getting Around
Getting around is a big part of the adventure, and we always plan this out as well. Give your loved ones access to track you along your journey via phone app or tech jewelry. No matter who you are, someone should always know your location. Taking a ride-share? Match the driver and license plate, and never accept a ride from someone who says that their “customer stood them up.” In the airport. Put your phone and valuables in your carry-on bag as you go through security. Thieves can easily grab items from bins.
 
Lovin’ the Nightlife
Is it too much to plan your partying? We say no. There’s fun, and then there’s safe fun. Safety enables more fun because you’re confident and relaxed. Watch your drink, stay in control, let a loved one track you, and have a plan for getting back to your room safely. Did we mention that expensive jewelry stays in the room safe and that flats are your traveling besties?
 
Staying Aware
No matter what you forget to pack, one thing that will always be with you is your safety intuition, otherwise known as situational awareness. It’s simply your five senses reporting what’s going on around you to warn you of potential danger. But unfortunately, many women minimize it and tell themselves that it’s probably nothing. It doesn’t mean that you need to constantly be on guard. But if you notice something that alerts you, take action if need be.
 
Fly High, Fly Far
You’ve researched, you’ve planned and packed, and now your solo summer travel adventure awaits! Go out there and make every moment count (safely, of course). You’re living the dream! Safe travels!

About The Author
Laura Frombach and Joy Farro

Laura Frombach and Joy Farrow, co-authors of Street Smart Safety for Women, offer tips on defensive living that will increase readers’ reliance on the one thing that can protect them most: their safety intuition.

Frombach was introduced to technology in the U.S. Army working on Pershing nuclear missiles. She spent much of her career as a technologist and engineer with IBM, HP, FedEx, Coca Cola Enterprises, Lenovo, and others. A turning point in her life was the “aha” moment when she correlated her mother’s mental illness to domestic violence. She now advocates for local domestic violence shelters.

Farrow is a retired Deputy Sheriff with 28 years of experience. She worked road patrol in Pompano Beach, FL, and faced every situation imaginable. After the 9/11 tragedy, Farrow transferred to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to focus on the safety of air travelers. In 2017, she assisted with the aftermath of the mass shooting at the airport. She has received numerous letters of commendations and several lifesaving awards.

Both Frombach and Farrow were speakers at the TEDx Eustis conference and lecture on women’s safety.