Please stop writing tips for solo Female travellers

Please stop telling girls how to stay safe on the road. Please stop singling out females as a ‘higher safety risk’ when travelling than males. Have you ever read an article that outlines the ‘Top tips for solo male travellers’? No. We don’t worry about the boys, the big strong men can take care of themselves, but our girls need to worry, they need to be fearful and careful, they are much more at risk than guys, or so it would seem from the barrage of media dedicated to this topic.

I took a look through a few articles offering tips directed specifically at females planning to hit the road alone and summarised some of the common suggestions here (thanks to the authors!):

  • Keep valuables and important documents stored discreetly, e.g. in an inside pocket or money belt.
  • Don’t worry about loneliness – connect with people at hostels, restaurants etc. Perhaps having a deck or cards can help you to meet people if you are shy.
  • You will surprise yourself with your resilience when you need to.
  • Keep copies of important documents somewhere safe and separate from the originals
  • Make sure you can carry your own luggage, particularly on public transport.
  • Check out apps that provide offline maps particularly for rail and transport systems
  • Pack plenty of tampons and stock up where you can – they are not so easy to find everywhere!
  • Avoid arriving in a new place late at night
  • Have scheduled check-ins with someone at home so they know you are safe
  • Avoid advertising that you are alone as this may make you more vulnerable.
  • Try to blend into your surroundings, don’t dress to stand out
  • Have an emergency fund in case you need to get out of a difficult situation
  • Trust your intuition, you can always say no

From that list I see only one point that applies only to girls, unless there are any males with a need for tampons. So let’s stop writing about how girls can stay safe and start writing about how everyone can travel safer and more securely.

Many Thanks to the authors of the articles from which I pulled the tips (they are great tips; they just apply to everyone!):

Megsy Collins’ 12 Tips for Travelling Solo – Advice from our favourite female travel bloggers

Kiersten Rich’s 6 Fears you Face as a solo female traveller

Jillian Finley’s 9 Things you need to know before travelling alone as a female

Bemused Backpacker’s Solo Female Backpacker Safety Tips

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2 thoughts on “Please stop writing tips for solo Female travellers

  1. Bemused Backpacker says:

    I do totally agree with your point as it is one I have made myself multiple times (including in one article titled ‘why I hate the term solo female backpacker’), but I think you may have missed a few points in my articles! ;D

    I have a background in martial arts and self defence, teaching civilians, military and even police personnel on how to defend themselves, and my dissertation for my first degree was on the differences between the fear of and the realities of crime between genders, so this is a topic I have been interested in for a long time.

    Yes I have a post specifically on female safety, and a book out with that title too, but that is because women in general make it such an issue for themselves that it makes sense to target them because women specifically go looking for those tips, but alongside that I have also written a post specifically on solo MALE backpacker safety (I know you said you never saw one so feel free to check it out), and the overriding message stated throughout both (as well as most of the other travel safety articles I have written) is that the tips are – with only a couple of minor and specific differences – essentially the same.

    Yes there are differences in the male and female experiences of travel, of course there are. But you are absolutely right in that those differences in no way make it inherently more dangerous for women to travel. In fact statistically men are far more likely to become victims of most types of violent crime and crime in general for example.

    Travel – like life – is generally very safe. Yes there are risks out there but with reasonable precautions and common sense those risks can be absolutely minimised, and that goes for both genders equally.

    Like

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