Solo female travel can be quite daunting and in my experience travelling solo as a black woman can be even more daunting. You are not only asking if it is safe but how will I be treated as a woman and then adding on if the country or city you are going to is receptive to black people. Overall travelling solo as a female can be daunting but in fact the more you do it, the more you realize it is not too scary! You just need to take that first steps even if you are scared.
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1. For a first trip choose a smaller location closer to home
If you are a little worried about going far by yourself, I totally understand. Although the first time I traveled properly solo by myself was to South Korea which is pretty far. My first solo trip in Europe was in Luxembourg because I was a little nervous about travelling solo in Europe. Luxembourg was a perfect option because it is very small and English is largely spoken. This gave me the confidence to move onto other countries. It does not even have to be another country it could be a city far from yours in the same country.
2. Check the current state and safety of the country
There is crime everywhere and every country has its own challenges but some places are safer than others and some cities in countries are also safer than others. I think it is important to know what is generally going on in the country you are going to and how other solo female travellers felt while being in that country or city. I always check the UK Governments Foreign Travel Advice Website which gives you the general gist of things to be careful of when travelling to a country and if they consider it safe. It is also nice to check how the country relates and perceives women and black people.
3. Hostels are always cheaper
In my experience hostels are always cheaper. They are normally half the price or cheaper than a normal hotel. I have stayed in a hostel in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Luxembourg, China and South Korea. Some were great and some not so much. Finding a hostel requires time to research and for reading reviews just like choosing a hotel. The difference is that you need to look into what kind of hostel it is. Some hostels are party central and some are not, some organise trips some do not. Depending on what you want you will need to look into this. Overall my hostel stays have been pretty decent and I have also met great people. Just because you travel solo does not mean you have to stay alone on the trip. Hostels are not five star luxury but they give you the necessities you need and cleanliness.
4. Always know the emergency numbers of the country
Travelling solo comes with its own risks because you are not with someone else. Even if you were with someone else I would still suggest having emergency numbers at hand such as your countries embassy number in that country, local police number, medical services number etc. We don’t ever hope we will need these things but things do happen and just in case it is always great to have them on hand. Whether it is handwritten or on your phone.
5. Photocopy your important documents
This is something I always do especially when travelling solo. I personally do not like taking my passport out with me but prefer to keep it in a safe or locker. I will then take out my a photocopy with me in case I need identification. I also always have my driving license. Some people prefer to walk around with their passport, I do not. This could change though. There is no right or wrong way, the point is to have copies in case your original gets lost. You will know your passport number in case you need to apply for an emergency passport and for me it means I don’t have to carry around the real thing.
Please double check laws in some countries as some may want you to have identification on you at all times.
6. Make sure someone else knows about your flight numbers and hotel booking
Another safety tip! Yes it is great and seems brave to travel solo but I also think its smart to just let someone know your flight numbers and hotel booking as well as a gist of what you are doing that day. I normally just post in my family whatsapp group. It puts my mum at ease and allows me to know someone in the world knows where I am.
7. Always have travel insurance
I used to be one those people who did not purchase travel insurance on a trip until I moved to Korea and I realised if something crazy was to happen I would have NO cover whatsoever and would have to cover it if I needed to fly back to the UK for any sort of treatment. Yes my main motivation was health. South Korea has great health care but in the event of a terrible situation and would need to go home you want insurance. I get cover for Europe with my bank and if I am travelling anywhere else I go with Word Nomads.
There you have it choosing a location closer to home, researching into the climate of the country, staying in a hostel, having emergency numbers at hand, photocopying your important documents, making sure people know where you are and always having travel insurance are my seven tips for travelling solo.
Alright go ahead and book that solo trip!
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