When I tell colleagues and friends I’m going backpacking, the first question is often: “And who are you going with?” My answer is “I’m going alone.” The reactions to this response are mostly with surprised or disbelieving faces. If a man had said this, he would have received encouragement for this cool sense of adventure and praise for traveling on his own. However, why shouldn’t the same sentiment apply to a woman as well?
We women can do it, too! Once you’ve tried it, you’ll find that it’s a rewarding experience. When you realize how wonderful traveling alone is and how brave you are for doing it, you’ll feel empowered to accomplish what you may have never trusted yourself to do before.
So, how do you backpack safely as a woman? Actually, it’s quite simple. Follow these seven tips to ensure that your trip goes smoothly:
1. Good body posture
The more confident you appear, the less likely you’ll be confronted with problems and difficulties. If you do find yourself in a threatening situation, root your feet hip-width apart and firmly to the ground. Keep your head up, look forward, and have your shoulders and arms as square as possible.
2. Clothing and appearance
Despite dressing comfortably while traveling, keep in mind that bare shoulders or knees, or even a deep neckline can draw unwanted looks your way. Therefore, moderating your clothing style is a good rule of thumb. If you’re unsure about what’s appropriate and what’s not, read up on dress codes in advance. If you still have questions, ask local women for advice.
3. Get in touch with other women
In case you don’t want to be alone, ask other women to accompany you, whether it’s just two of you or in a small group. When you’re at a restaurant or in public places, sit next to other women or families. If you happen to be single, wear a ring that can pass as a wedding band. That way, should you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation in which you’re being questioned about your status, say that your husband will be arriving soon.
4. Listen to your gut feeling
If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation you suddenly find yourself in, listen to your gut feeling and leave it as soon as possible.
5. Keep away from no-go areas
Ask agents at tourist information centers, the manager at your hostel or hotel about the areas you should avoid. Be sure to find out about scams common to the area, too, so that you know what to look out for. Also, don’t go to unknown places with a stranger.
6. Be careful when drinking
Anything that can limit your senses is a potential risk to your well-being. Unfortunately, date-rape drugs (also known as “club drugs”) are still a big issue. You can protect yourself by refusing a drink from someone, not sharing a drink, and definitely keeping an eye on your own drink, regardless if it has alcohol or not.
7. Listen to other travelers
Of course, there are many countries where women are, unfortunately, worse off in society than men, and there are also a lot of dangers that generally threaten single female travelers. Therefore, inform yourself about the country and the culture before setting off on your backpacking experience.
What tips would you like to share? I look forward to your comments and wish you a successful and happy journey on your own!
— Uncharted101.com (@Uncharted1o1) November 27, 2017