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5 Safety Tips for the Fearless Female Backpacker

Solo backpacking is already frightening on its own, but when you do it as a woman, it can be incredibly hard. While female empowerment is on the rise, unfortunately, threats and violence against women still continue.

Venturing by yourself alone into the wild already has risks involved, but it can be rewarding whether you’re a man or a woman. Many have said that backpacking can be a life-changing experience, and who’s to deny those who want to try it for themselves?

When you backpack by yourself, the primary thing you should remember is that you have to do everything alone and, thus, should be prepared for anything that can possibly come your way. If you’ve never backpacked before, solo or otherwise, it would be a great idea to get some pointers from experienced folks or try it for yourself in a group.

Safety is a huge concern especially for female backpackers, but fears shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying a solo trip, not when you’ve taken these steps to make your adventure as smooth as possible.

Research First

No matter where you are going and even if it’s a place you are already familiar with, it is never a bad thing to do your research. Traveling is fun and rewarding, but when you don’t prepare or you become complacent, trouble can begin at any time. Always do your research, and take note of things to look out for especially if it’s your first time in the area.

You can read reviews, blogs, and guidebooks and talk to people who’ve experienced the place to give you an idea what to expect. You are traveling alone, and as such is the case, you only have yourself to rely on, so reaching out for help to anyone may not be possible especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere or deep in a forest. It’s a good idea to always know which places to avoid, foreign phrases for how to get help, numbers to the hospital, and many more.

Sharpen Your Sense of Alertness

When you’re alone, your sense of alertness is naturally high, but when you travel alone, you must keep it at that level because being aware of your surroundings, belongings, and of the people around will help keep you safe. Always be mindful of where you are going and your pack. It is worth mentioning that, while this applies to all genders, it is important to be aware of scam and pickpocket techniques around the world.

This doesn’t mean you have to be gloomy and closed off. You can be friendly and polite, but maintain your distance especially if strangers are more friendly than is normal.

In many parts of the world, some people think it is strange for women to be alone, and this is what solo female backpackers encounter on the regular. If you want to avoid having these kinds of conversations, mentally prepare an odd but acceptable excuse even if it’s not true, because the questions will keep coming otherwise.

Remember to be moderate with your dealings with strangers. If you’re alone, it’s natural to be paranoid, but if it seems to be too extreme for your taste, then learn to temper it and listen to your gut instincts. There are cases when you may find yourself at a village with overly friendly townies, so match their level and go your own merry way, and you should be able to go about your day with no hang-ups.

Avoid Seeking Attention for Yourself

Getting attention is not a bad thing, but if you’re a woman and solo a backpacker, it can mean many things. There are inherent features that you cannot change yourself; the color of your skin and your hair, for example, may get you attention in places where they don’t see a lot of it.

While people should be responsible for their own actions and “You’re asking for it” is never an acceptable or reasonable excuse, it helps to blend in the crowd. Avoiding drawing attention to yourself is important because it lessens the possibility of being an easy target.

One way to not draw attention to yourself is by not wearing fancy jewelry and garishly expensive clothes. It is like an open invitation especially in depressed areas you happen to travel by. Be careful about whipping out your electronic gadgets as well because those can easily be swiped by street thieves or snatchers.

The world is diverse because people are made with many differences, which means what is most normal for you at home may not be the same in other places. For example, if it is normal for you to loudly talk in your neighborhood, that kind of behavior may get you noticed in another country or village.

If you are from a progressive area and are traveling to a well-known traditional place, you don’t have to change who you are, but it helps to be polite and respectful to everyone. Being obnoxious and rude for no reason will not get you in anyone’s good graces.

Carefully Choose Clothes/Gear to Bring

If you are backpacking, you are more than likely going to spend about 90 percent of your travels on your own and on the road. This means that everything in your backpack will be your responsibility, so it helps to carefully decide what clothes and gear to bring.

There are many backpacking lists published out there, and if you’re a seasoned traveler, you already know what and what not to bring. However, if you’re a newbie, do your homework, research, and experience backpacking locally first before you go on your first international one.

Safety items allow you to travel without worries and securely. These items vary for every backpacker because it depends where you frequently go. An example of a general safety item is a whistle: it can be used to scare off animals, but it can also be used to alert the attention of people nearby in case of emergencies.

If you’re fond of walking or biking at night, then a safety item would be an LED safety belt. It helps other people and drivers in automobiles see you more clearly at night so they don’t accidentally sideswipe you as you are walking.

For those who have known the bliss of totally disconnecting from the world, they are aware that loved ones would be worried if they don’t hear from them at least once a day. Others consider a personal locator beacon (PLB) to be a safety item because it helps them send a message to their friends and family once a day no matter how deep they are in some jungle or where mobile signal is scarce. It is also a handy thing to have in case something serious arises and you need help.

Itineraries Help

If you don’t like set plans during your travel, itineraries can take the fun out of it. It’s a different case when you are backpacking solo because you will literally be alone for most of the travel, and it will worry other people if they don’t know where you are.

Even if it’s a drag, creating an itinerary—even a roughly made or general one will do—for what you will be doing will help ease away some of their anxiety. Before you leave, make sure to send your loved ones and friends a copy of your itinerary.

Do you have safety tips for female backpackers? Share your advice and suggestions in the comments below.


Feature photo by Unsplash

Categories: Travel, Travel Tips