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Any advice for solo travelling as a woman?

Answered by Larissa Bodniowycz, remote lawyer

Yes! I have so much that it is hard to state it concisely. Here are a few pieces of advice:

DO IT!

There is something really special about solo travel. You cannot avoid learning about yourself and developing the ability to problem solve under pressure (oh, and there's confidence that comes with that). When you are solo, you are also naturally more open to meeting new people and have the flexibility to accept new experiences (you don't have to check with travel companions - YOU are in charge!) You also get to plan the trip of YOUR dreams not your partner, friend, or family member's dreams.

TELL PEOPLE TO SHUT-UP.

People have a lot of opinions about travelling solo as a female and as luck would have it, many of the people that SHARE their opinions do not have positive things to say. There is risk in everything anyone – male or female – does, period. That includes travel. But in general, females can travel safely alone and can do so internationally. People that say otherwise are wrong.

DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Even though there are many safe places to travel solo as a female, there are also places that are not safe. Some are not safe for females and others, not safe for anyone. A place could be an entire country, a city, or just a section of a city. Avoid these unsafe places. Period. You don't need to prove your toughness to anyone.

How do you avoid these unsafe areas? Do your research. I usually do a combination or internet research, word of mouth, and (occasionally) guide books. I always like the United States Secretary of State website as a starting point – it has safety ratings for countries and specific warnings for regions within countries.

And when doing research, pay attention to the source. For example, when traveling to Bangkok for the first time, a lot of people told me it was smelly, not worth staying in, and unsafe. Most of these people had never been. They were retelling anecdotes from other people or just repeating preconceived notions of the city. A friend that had lived there on and off told me the opposite and was able to point me to good neighborhoods to stay in, sites to see, and restaurants to eat in.

And don't forget to update your research. Particularly in more developing countries, environments can change quickly – literally, overnight sometimes. A city that was safe to travel to 5 years ago, may not be now. I have heard some bad stories from people who have relied on a city's former reputation in Mexico.

PLAY IT SAFE-ER.

This is not female specific but when traveling solo you have to play it safe-er than you would if in a group because you have no back-up if something goes wrong. For example, if your debit card gets stolen and you are with a friend, it is easy to borrow money from them. Not so much if you are alone and in a time-zone that is 13 hours different from your friends and family.

So, follow all the usual best practices – don't waive money around, pay attention to your surroundings, don't keep all your money in one place, and if in doubt, opt out (trust your gut). As much as I hate waking up early, I also like to arrive to a destination during daylight hours when possible – it's easier to navigate, assess a situation, and make changes to things like lodging if needed.

These simple things go a long way to keeping you safe when traveling.

HAVE FUN! Travelling solo is fun so enjoy it!

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