Adventure Fear Buster: How To Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler

Female Solo Travel Safety Tips

Today, more and more women from various cultures feel empowered to travel alone.

While traveling as a woman is an unforgettable experience, solo female travel presents its own set of challenges.

Something to help out with your travels: Check out all our 5 Star Hostels and all 3 best hostels guides.

But don’t be afraid if you’re a woman looking to travel alone for the first time. The world is a big, welcoming place that begs to be discovered, and your gender should not prevent you from experiencing the beauty and freedom of solo travel. 

With so many places to visit, sights to see, and people to meet, here are some important female solo travel safety tips to keep every woman safe, healthy, and happy.

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FAQ for Solo Female Travel Safety: Advice for Staying Secure

This article about female hostels and dorms is part of our Guide to Hostels.

In our guide to hostels, we cover all hostel-related topics and questions you may have. We dedicated a full article as well to showcase the different hostel room types.

What do we cover in this article?

#hostels-solo-travellers

What accommodation is best for Solo Female Travelers? 

Because of their open-minded local staff and international crowd, hostels are excellent choices for solo female travelers.

Many hostels have female-only dorms, making them an appealing option for solo female travelers who value privacy. Hotels and vetted AirBnBs are two other options that prioritize women’s safety. 

Read: the 7 different types of Hostels.

Couchsurfing has grown in popularity as an alternative form of accommodation for many solo travelers. Travelers use this community-driven platform, where locals offer their couches as sleeping accommodations for free.

However, women must prioritize their safety by carefully reviewing feedback from other female travelers about potential hosts.

Unfortunately, negative experiences are common among solo female travelers using Couchsurfing, making it critical to read reviews written specifically by women to ensure a safe and secure stay.

No matter where you stay as a solo female traveler, always read other women’s reviews to ensure you’re in a safe living environment.

Never stayed in a Hostel? Read our guide on staying for the first time in a hostel

Dreamsea Surf Resort Nicaragua
Picture: Dreamsea Surf Resort Nicaragua is one of the best hostels in San Juan del Sur

I want to mention that on Hostelz, you can search the dates of your trip and actually filter the results only to show female-only dorms; this is something that I’ve found super convenient and a huge time saver.

Read: Our best hostels for female solo-travelers

Check out Hostelz.com here

Hostelz - Price Comparison for Hostels

What are the best destinations for solo female travel?

The ideal solo female travel destination is subjective and depends on your personal preferences as well as the level of cultural differences you are willing to tolerate.

Every destination has the potential to be a great female solo travel destination– it all comes down to matching your expectations.

Before embarking on a trip, it is essential to research the cultural and social norms of the countries you will be visiting.

Your experience as a woman traveling alone will vary depending on the country and your level of awareness; however, many locals admire and are always willing to help women traveling alone.

Read: We wrote a detailed guide on the pros and cons of female-only dorms here and one on everything you need to know about Female Hostels.

The Millennials Shibuya
Picture: The Millennials Shibuya is one of the best hostels in Tokyo

On another note, given the diversity of women’s skin tones, ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations, it’s even more important to thoroughly research potential intercultural issues that may arise during your travels.

This includes being aware of and prepared to deal with instances of racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination.

You can better navigate such challenges and ensure a more inclusive and respectful travel experience by proactively educating yourself and staying informed. Remember that what is safe for one woman may be dangerous for another.

It is recommended that women read travel blogs written by women who are similar to them in order to get a sense of the treatment they will receive while visiting the country as a woman traveling alone. 

6-Day PADI Open Water Diver Certification in Tamarindo, Guanacaste

What age should women travel alone?

Solo female travelers of all ages, from 18 to 80, can be found on group tours, in hostels, and at travel meet-ups. There is no “right” age for a woman to travel alone; it all depends on her level of comfort.

One of the benefits of traveling alone is that you are never truly alone. If you’re still apprehensive about doing things on your own, or if you get bored easily, consider staying at a social hostel, where you’ll be sure to meet others. 

How should Solo Female Travelers dress?

What to wear as a solo female traveler is determined by the country’s level of conservativeness. Women can walk around in shorts and a bikini in some places but must be covered from head to toe in others.

Look at what other women in the country are wearing if you’re not sure what to wear and want to feel confident in your attire and presentation to the world.

On a warm April day, you might be tempted to wear shorts and flip-flops, but in some cultures, dressing for the season rather than the weather is key to not being perceived as a tourist, resulting in less unwanted attention.

Unless a country has mandatory dress code laws, what you wear is entirely up to you as long as you feel confident and comfortable–and women should always feel free to express themselves while still respecting the culture.

5-Day Solo Retreat: Meditation, Yoga, and Hiking: Arizona, USA

How do I avoid unwanted attention as a Solo Female Traveler?

While some people cannot help but ogle at women traveling alone, blending in with the locals with your attire is one way to avoid unwanted attention as a solo female traveler.

Walking around with your phone out and appearing to be lost, like any tourist, is an invitation for potential scammers or creeps, so act as if you know where you’re going if you don’t feel comfortable asking strangers for help (and you should!).

It is important to remember that women walking alone at night frequently attract unwanted attention.

It is strongly advised to avoid walking alone during nighttime. Instead, use ridesharing apps or taxis, and always go out with at least one friend to avoid potential problems.

Meander Saigon Slide
Picture: Meander Saigon Slide is one of the best hostels in Saigon

How can I prevent theft as a Solo Female Traveler?

Petty theft is a risk that most travelers face in most countries. Carry a “dummy” wallet with only a few bills and leave your cards and other important items in a hidden, more secure wallet, if not your accommodation, to avoid theft while traveling.

Hostels provide lockers for storing your belongings, along with a luggage storage room.

Read: 46 Tips to identify fantastic Hostels worldwide

People offering you free things (they’re never free), signing fake petitions, and the occasional dropping of a fake baby are all common pickpocketing scams. Keep your wallet and phone in a zippable bag rather than your pocket, and be aware of your surroundings. 

What can I do if I feel unsafe traveling alone as a Woman?

First and foremost, you should always inform someone of your travel plans, including your family at home and those you meet at your hostel.

If you feel unsafe while out and about, go to the nearest public place, such as a cafe or restaurant, until you can get to a safer location. Even accommodation can be dangerous at times, so it’s best to leave immediately if anything seems “off,” again informing your family and friends where you are.

Keep the contact information for the local authorities handy, and if in doubt, ask a local woman what to do if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

Frendz Hostel El Nido
Picture: Frendz Hostel is one of the best hostels in El Nido

We recommend every traveler buy a local SIM card with data, which is inexpensive in many countries, and enable location sharing on their devices. Here are some useful apps used to share your location on your device.

Find My (iOS): This app comes standard with Apple devices and allows you to share your location. It also provides real-time location updates.

Google Maps: The Google Maps app has a location-sharing feature that lets you share your current location with specific contacts. 

WhatsApp: WhatsApp has a location-sharing feature that allows you to share your current location with specific contacts or groups. It is also the best messaging service to use while abroad. 

Read: our favorite travel apps in 2024

Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner
Picture: Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner is one of the best hostels in Vienna

What should I pack as a Solo Female Traveler?

Compact hygiene products and toiletries are always useful for women who want to stay clean and healthy!

Read: Exposing Bathrooms: Ensuite vs. Shared Facilities

Tampons and other menstrual products may not be available in some countries, and the quality of beauty products may vary depending on your body’s natural reaction, so bring the necessities from home.

To stay healthy and avoid the dreaded altitude sickness or hangover, bring medication, vitamins, and other supplements with you on the road. 

Hostel Packing List

Okay, now you have the perfect guide and know what room type to pick.

Make sure you always pick a quality hostel. It totally reduces the things you need to pack.

Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you need to pack.

free hostel packing list

Is it safe to talk to locals as a Solo Female Traveler?

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture, share ideas, and gain new perspectives on life is to talk to locals. However, for many women traveling alone, some of the local men can be too forward at times. In some places, being friendly is considered flirting.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment of female travelers is common in many parts of the world, and while it is never the woman’s fault, ignoring catcalls and unnecessary interactions with men is critical to avoiding uncomfortable situations.

If you want to know the best parts of town, where to avoid, and learn more about the local history and culture while remaining safe, make friends with the local women.

Read: Safetywing Travel Insurance + 39 Simple and Effective Travel Safety Tips 

Cat Ba Freedom Island Retreat
Picture: Cat Ba Freedom Island Retreat is one of the best hostels in Cat Ba Island in Vietnam

This is why we always recommend staying in a hostel as a female solo traveler. Staying in a hostel allows you to interact with young, local staff members who tend to be open-minded.

One advantage is the ability to seek advice from hostel staff if you have questions about new local acquaintances. They can clarify any cultural implications that may arise.

Speak with the female foreign volunteer staff members who can share their personal experiences and interactions with the locals.

However, even when staying in a hostel, it is crucial to remain vigilant and alert. If you encounter anyone who bothers you or causes discomfort, immediately report the situation to the hostel management or local authorities, such as the police. Your safety and well-being should always be a top priority.

One of our favorite hostels in Ubud Bali: Arya Wellness Retreat
Picture: Arya Wellness Retreat is one of the best hostels in Ubud, Bali

How should solo female travelers deal with gender roles in some cultures?

Keep in mind that in some places, the gender roles and expectations of local women can still apply to foreign women.

In some regions, it can be disheartening to see women denied equal rights or treated differently than you are accustomed to.

These emotions are upsetting but keep in mind that travel is a learning experience.

Volunteering at female-focused NGOs and charity organizations are wonderful ways for solo female travelers in patriarchal countries to engage with the local community while promoting equality.  

Partying as a solo female traveler

If you’re a fan of party culture, then a party hostel might be the perfect choice for you! These hostels are known for catering to a younger crowd and putting a big emphasis on socializing. Forget about prioritizing sleep because the fun never stops at a party hostel. 

They offer great deals on drinks throughout the day, including free shots and free beer. Plus, there’s a bar on site for even more convenience. 

And guess what? Many Party hostels also have female-only dorms.

So as a female solo traveler, you don’t have to settle for a calm and quiet hotel if that’s not your vibe.  Just keep a few things in mind if you’re going to opt for a party hostel.

Read: Hostelworld App Solo Feature for Meeting People

If you want to stay safe on a night out as a solo female traveler, here are essential safety tips to keep in mind: 

Don’t let anyone pressure you into drinking: As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to drink in the first place if you don’t want to.

Eat before drinking: Self-explanatory.

Have a party buddy that you can trust: You can agree on what time to get back home together and watch out for each other during the night. Obviously, don’t completely hand your life over to this buddy, but having someone watching out for you is always a good idea.

Trust your instincts: Always. If you feel unsafe or uneasy, leave. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Don’t take important items out with you: Keep your passport in a secured place in your dorm and opt for another ID instead. Make sure not to bring anything of high value with you as well.

Always pay attention to your drink: Make sure not to take drinks from random strangers who hand them to you by hand. If anyone wants to offer you a drink, they should ask first, and you should watch the bartender make it in front of you and make sure nothing weird is added to it.

Know your limits: Over-drinking will possibly lead to regrets, so know your limits and don’t go beyond them.

Don’t walk home alone: Some countries are very safe for walking back home alone, but I still recommend not walking home alone, especially if you have alcohol in your system.

Partying as a solo female traveler
Picture: Mad Monkey Hostels are some of the best party hostels in the world.

How can solo female travelers stay safe while drinking?

It is essential to exercise caution when consuming alcohol (or other substances) while traveling.

In some places, it is not customary or socially acceptable for women, especially when alone, to drink, which may lead to local men mistaking you for a sex worker. Always drink responsibly, and with friends you can trust.

In nightclubs and bars, keep an eye on your drink and refuse drinks from strangers. Hostel pub crawls are some of the best ways to experience the local nightlife in a group setting.

It is also important to know the drug laws of the country you are visiting.

Countries such as the Philippines, for example, have strict drug laws that can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment. To ensure your safety and legal well-being, it is critical to respect and follow the drug laws of the respective country.

Read: How safe are hostels? 13 tips to stay safe when staying in Hostels

Oh, we also cover many destinations worldwide with their best party hostels

Cats Hostel Madrid Sol Party
Picture: Cats Hostel Madrid Sol Party is one of the best party hostels in Madrid

What are some safety items female solo travelers can use? 

Here are a few safety items for solo female travelers to keep every woman safe and protected while abroad.

Portable door lock: Whether you’re staying alone in a hotel room or an Airbnb, a portable door lock provides an extra layer of security by preventing people from accessing your space.

Moneybelt: Worn underneath your clothes, a moneybelt is a comfortable and discreet way to carry your belongings.

Safety whistle: In case of danger or emergency situations, a safety whistle can attract attention and potentially deter attackers, immediately signaling for help.

Personal lock: When staying at hostels, a personal lock is essential to secure your belongings in lockers, suitcases, or any other storage area.

Pepper spray: Check the laws of your destination regarding the legality of pepper spray. In extreme situations, pepper spray can be used as a self-defense tool, providing ample time to escape a dangerous situation.

Dry bag: Particularly useful in tropical countries or water-related activities, a dry bag keeps your valuable items safe and dry, protecting them from water damage while you explore.

Z Hostel Private Bedroom

Travel Hacks for Solo Female Travelers

Here are a few of the best travel hacks for solo female travelers looking to stay safe.

1. Wear a fake wedding ring: It is common for women traveling alone to be asked if they are married. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, wearing a fake wedding ring is an excellent way to keep men with ulterior motives from striking up an improper conversation. 

2. Pretend to be on the phone: Are you lost? Being watched while alone in a cafe? Want to get out of a sticky situation without being rude? A phone call (real or fake) is an excellent way to avoid speaking with people, and many will not wait for you to finish your call. 

3. Avoid telling people you’re alone: Many people will be impressed that you’re traveling alone as a woman; however, if you feel uneasy, always mention how you’re meeting up with a friend, and do not share your immediate itineraries. 

4. Use ridesharing apps instead of taxis: Unfortunately, theft and assault are possible in unregistered and unregulated taxis. Not only are ridesharing apps significantly less expensive than taxis, but you will always know who you are driving with and have access to reviews.

If you must take a taxi, ride with other passengers to avoid being alone, especially at night. Also, always confirm the price before getting in the taxi. 

5. Connect before you go: with the hostelworld app and its new social feature, it is easy to get first-hand information. You can even connect now with other travelers staying in your hostel beforehand. All through the app.

Read: The New Hostelworld App in Review – sharing the best features

Meet new friends from around the world at Boatique Hotel and Marina

Solo Female Travel Resources

Female travel blogs: Travel blogs are fantastic resources for guidance from a woman’s perspective. Reading about shared experiences, whether you’re an LGBTQ+ or a WOC traveler, will prepare you for an exciting time abroad while also letting you know what to expect.

Travel insurance: Travel insurance is essential for all travelers who want to stay healthy and safe abroad. HeyMondo and SafeyWing are two travel insurance companies we recommend.

Flight comparison platforms: Skyscanner and Omio are the best flight comparison platforms for finding cheap flights. Set a price alert for any location and compare prices from hundreds of airlines. Before searching, make sure to refresh your browser’s cookies.

Hostel booking websites: The top hostel booking websites are HostelWorld.com, Booking.com, Agoda.com, and Hostelz.com. You can search for accommodation, read reviews, and compare prices here. It is your best resource for finding the best hostel suiting your needs.

Ridesharing apps: Uber, Lyft, Bolt, BlaBla Car, and Grab are the most popular ridesharing apps worldwide. Some are better than others, so always use what the locals use to ensure a ride.

Find all our Travel Resources here
Kobe Guesthouse MAYA Library
Picture: Kobe Guesthouse MAYA is one of the best hostels in Kobe Japan

FAQs

Here we share with you the most asked question:

Is it safe for a girl to go on a solo trip?

When traveling solo, it's easy to make new friends and connections. But it's important to remember that your safety is your responsibility, too. Keep your plans and whereabouts to yourself, and trust your instincts when it comes to sharing information with new acquaintances. With these simple precautions, you can have a great time exploring and making new friends.

Which is the safest city in the world for solo female?

When it comes to any type of traveling, Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world. Otherwise, Norway and Oslo in particular, is truly a remarkable travel destination, known for its remarkably low crime rates. This welcoming and inclusive country embraces visitors from all walks of life, including solo female travelers and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Safety and inclusivity go hand in hand in Norway, making it an ideal choice for all travelers.

What are the safest countries to travel alone as a woman Europe?

Some of the safest countries to travel alone as a woman in Europe are:

  • Sweden
  • Iceland
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Switzerland

How do I protect myself from walking alone at night?

By implementing safety measures like avoiding dimly lit and secluded areas, carrying a mobile phone, and staying alert of your surroundings, you can not only ensure the security but also enhance the overall enjoyment of your walk alone at night during travel.

What’s next? More useful info for you:

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks team

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Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Hostelworld and Booking.com are always the #1 websites to book your hostels. To find always the cheaper prices, always use Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Booking.com vs Hostelworld.

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

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