If you're a woman who wants to explore the U.S. on your own, you're not alone.1 Unaccompanied adventures are liberating and instill a deep sense of confidence. For women new to the solo female travel experience, taking a few simple precautions ahead of time can make the trip go off without a hitch. Here are five safety tips for women traveling alone.
Stick to cities
Cities are a good place to embark on a solo female travel adventure. It's easy to blend in with a crowd and find assistance fast. As a bonus, populated areas tend to have great restaurants, museums, group tours, and historical or cultural points of interests.
Some of the safest cities in the United States are also some of the most beautiful. San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Honolulu; New York City and Seattle rank in the top five safest cities, according to the travel website Escape Here.2 If you're looking for a smaller, quieter city, consider Burlington, Vermont, or Portland, Maine, both ranked by Newsweek among the top ten safest cities.3
Stay in female-friendly hostel
Hostels are not just for those traveling on a budget. They're a great place to meet other adventurous people and solo travelers. Consider staying in a female-friendly hostel, which only caters to women or at least has a women's-only floor. Some hostels host their own events, which can be a great opportunity to safely meet new people.
You can find U.S.-based accommodations on HostelBookers, Hostelling International or Airbnb. If you're a frequent traveler, considering buying a membership with Hostelling International to take advantage of discounted rates.
Get a security app
Of course, you should always call 911 in an emergency. But, as a back up, considering installing a security app like ADT Go on your smartphone. It has an SOS button you can press if you feel unsafe in a situation. An ADT operator will make sure you're okay and alert emergency responders if you're not.
The app also has a crash-detection system that will automatically alert emergency responders if it detects an accident. A 24/7 roadside assistance program is available for situations where you may need mechanical help. Real-time GPS location data helps keep family members informed of your whereabouts to give everyone peace of mind.
Carry an anti-theft backpack and purse
Thieves are tricky and have developed stealthy maneuvers for stealing your belongings. Some will cut into a backpack when the owner is distracted and pull out whatever's inside. Others use a radio frequency identification device (RFID) to scan through a backpack or purse for credit card numbers and expiration dates, according to NPR.4
To thwart theft, invest in a slash-proof backpack or purse.5 The best ones also come with secret pockets, are water resistant and have RFID-blocking mesh.
Photograph important documents
What if someone steals your bag? Do you know your credit card numbers? Driver's license number? Confirmation numbers for reservations? Have you memorized important phone numbers or login information to your bank accounts?
If you're like most people, probably not. Before you leave on your trip, take photographs of all your important documents, make a list of login information and upload the document to a locked site like DropBox, which you can access from any computer. That way, if your bag, phone or computer is stolen, you can act quickly.
Enjoy your trip
Trekking the country by yourself can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime, but even the smallest mishap can sidetrack your adventure or stop it altogether. By observing these five safety tips for women traveling alone, you can focus on the beautiful surroundings, the new people you'll meet and the thrill of bravely venturing into worlds you've never gone before.
- "Solo Travel Statistics and Data: 2017-2018." Solo Traveler World, February 20, 2018. Accessed April 3, 2018. https://solotravelerworld.com/about/solo-travel-statistics-data/
- MacNevin, Lindsay. "The Safest Cities for Women to Travel Alone in the U.S." Escape Here. Accessed April 13, 2018. https://www.escapehere.com/destination/the-safest-cities-for-women-to-travel-alone-in-the-u-s/
- Guarnieri, Grace. "Safest Cities in America 2017 Ranked by Low Crime, Financial Stability, and Natural Disasters." Newsweek, December 7, 2017. Accessed April 13, 2018. http://www.newsweek.com/dangerous-safest-cities-list-2017-741134
- Silverman, Lauren. "There Are Plenty Of RFID-Blocking Products, But Do You Need Them?" NPR, July 4, 2017. Accessed April 13, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/07/04/535518514/there-are-plenty-of-rfid-blocking-products-but-do-you-need-them
- "Top 10 Best Anti-Theft Backpacks in 2018." Travel Gear Zone. Accessed April 13, 2018. http://travelgearzone.com/best-anti-theft-backpacks/
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