Whether travelling solo around the globe, or as part of a larger group tour to a favorite destination, here are some practical tips for women traveling on their own.

1) Trust your instincts

If you feel something is off, wrong or strange move on quickly. Stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

2) Be careful with valuables

This includes airline or train tickets, money, passport, credit cards. etc. Keep only what you need for the day in your pocket or daypack. Make copies of important documents, such as your passport and driver’s license, in case the originals are lost or stolen.

3) At your hotel, register using your last name and first initial only

Avoid displaying valuable items and consider using a safe or lockbox for your valuables. If you fill out the room service breakfast order form that you hang on your room door after hours, do not divulge your first name or the number of people eating.

4) Let family, friends or the embassy know your trip itinerary, but not social media

Be especially mindful of what you share on social media. Avoid posting your travel plans or location in real time and be careful not to reveal too much personal information.

5) Understand the local customs

Because it can be difficult to know what is considered offensive or suggestive in segregated societies, take your cues from local women in determining how to dress appropriately. As a general rule anywhere you travel, dress down; avoid wearing jewelry, even cheap pieces that look expensive.

6) Travel in packs of women and or families

If you have to wait somewhere, look for other women or families to sit with. You’ll be less likely to be approached or harassed.

7) Stay in touch

Keep in touch with family and friends while you are traveling but not by broadcasting on social channels. Let them know your itinerary and check in with them regularly.

8) Beware of distractions

Thieves create distractions as a cover-up. Beware of people who spill something on your clothing, bump into you, or drop a piece of luggage in front of you. That is the time to watch your luggage and keep a hand on your valuables. Also, be alert when getting off a bus or train or riding an escalator, because that is when pickpockets tend to strike.

9) Study local maps before you head out

Understand where you’re going before you leave your lodging or car so that once on the street you know where you are headed. Try to avoid struggling with a map or looking like a tourist. If you have to ask for directions, approach women with children or families.

10) Know when the sun sets

A bustling market can quickly empty out, leaving streets dark and deserted and you in a lurch.

Solo women travelers gain independence, confidence and personal growth while meeting new people. It can be a life-changing experience if you follow these 10 safety tips.

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