Traveling in new cities can seem daunting, especially if you’ve heard horror stories from other travelers. Whether you are traveling as a solo woman digital nomad or with a companion, here are our best travel safety tips to keep you safe.
1. Research the city before you go.
Read through Women Digital Nomads’ city guides before getting into a new city. Know where all the dangerous areas are, what to avoid and local customs to follow such as what not to wear. You should also know if the city is safe to wander around at night and if you should avoid taking local transportation at night.
2. Only stay at AirBnB places/couchsurf with hosts that have lots of good reviews.
Besides making sure that your accommodation is located in a safe neighborhood, you should also check the reviewers’ profiles to make sure they’re legit and have reviewed more than just that one place.
3. Never put your valuables in checked luggage on a plane, bus, train etc.
Always have your valuables on you. Get a day bag that you can store your laptop, wallet, passport, camera, documents and phone. Don’t forget the general rule of thumb of traveling: leave behind the things you cannot afford to lose at home, only travel with necessities.
4. Always be aware of your surroundings and do not get wasted.
It is easy to let loose when you are traveling. New cities, new bars, new friends. However, getting drunk makes you vulnerable to thieves, or worse.
5. Do not stinge on your safety
It might be tempting to book a cheaper hotel/AirBnB/hostel, but always find out if the location of the accommodation is in a safe neighborhood. If you are getting into a new city at night, it is advisable to ask if the accommodation does pickup services from the airport or bus/train stations, especially if the city has a bad reputation. You would want to avoid taking public transportation at night in rough cities.
If you are going out at night, take a taxi or Uber to get home instead of walking alone at night.
When you are planning to book an activity, always do some research on the companies online first to check their reputation and reviews from other travelers. You don’t want to book a trekking or dive trip with a less-than-reputable company.
6. Take pictures of all important documents and store them on a site like Dropbox or Google Drive
If you ever lose your passport/reservations etc, you can easily retrieve a copy of them online from any computer.
7. Dress down
Leave your expensive-looking necklaces, earrings, bags in the room. As long as they appear expensive-looking, you run the risk of getting mugged or having a snatch thief pulling off your necklace/bag.
8. Avoid eye contact in certain countries
Something as innocent as having a brief eye contact with a man can be misconstrued as an open invitation.
9. Get a travel insurance
If you are wondering whether you really need travel insurance, the answer is yes. We personally use and recommend World Nomads. Companies like World Nomads provide travel insurance that you can buy, extend and claim online, even after you’ve left home. It also covers a range of adventure sports such as whitewater rafting, skiing and snowboarding.
10. Schedule a regular check-in with someone back home.
It’s a good safety precaution, whether it’s via video call, Whatsapp or email.
11. Bring emergency morning-after pills or birth control pills.
In some countries, you may find it hard to find morning-after pills over the counter. Check Women Digital Nomads on the availability of both in each country.
12. If you get lost, don’t look at your phone or a map in the middle of a street.
Step into the nearest cafe or shop and check there.
13. Be careful of your laptop and belongings at cafes.
If you working at a cafe, always be aware of your surroundings to prevent snatch thieves. Try to find a seat closer to the back of the cafe and further away from the door.
14. If you get mugged, do not resist.
Things can always be replaced, but you only have one life. There have been many instances of travelers getting stabbed or even killed just because they tried to resist the robbers.
15. Always have a backup plan.
Just in case something does happen to you, always have a backup plan on replacing credit cards, passports or someone at home who can wire cash over.
There are more travel safety tips out there, but these are the top 15 travel safety tips that we live by!