Travelling solo for anyone is a potentially dangerous endeavour – more so if you’re a woman, unfortunately.
According to comparisons made by Asher and Lyric, chances for women to encounter danger are exponentially higher when we travel in South Africa. The research duo compared 50 most visited countries in the world according to intimate partner violence, legal discrimination, non-partner sexual violence, women homicide and feelings of safety walking at night.
On this list, South Africa tracks as the most dangerous country for women to travel solo. The contributing factors are non-partner sexual violence, women homicide and feelings of safety when walking at night.
The safest country for solo travel for women on this list is Spain where there are low cases of non-partner sexual violence, women homicide and feelings of safety walking at night, violence against women attitudes, gender inequality and legal discrimination.
This report is troubling, particularly for the women who not only live in South Africa but also travel within the country in addition to being citizens. The concern of one’s safety while travelling solo has long been a conversation among women travel bloggers, so if you are a person who plans on travelling alone, whether it’s travelling locally or abroad, there is an array of advice to consider.
Here we’ve listed some useful tips for solo women from seasoned travellers from the U.S., the UK, Canada and South Africa.
Know what parts of a country are safe and what parts are not
UK travel YouTuber, Oghosa, shares in one of her videos that South Africa is actually on her bucket list of the next country to travel to. She has travelled to Bali, Paris and Morocco – among other countries.
Her safety tip for women, particularl black women, traveling is to do in-depth research before travelling to certain countries. She highlights Morocco, where she says some cities are safer than others for black women and to consider getting a tour guide with.
In this report Morocco ranks safer than South Africa at number eight, but the aspects that make it a safety threat for women are intimate partner violence, legal discrimination and the gender inequality index.
Oghosa's other safety tips are to ensure that you have reliable phone network and to travel with a whistle, especially if you don’t speak native languages in the particular country.
Use your government resources
Lerato Bambo, a solo traveller, describes herself as a sufferer of an “extreme case of wanderlust”. On her blog she recounts experiences of having lived in four continents and travelling to more than 30 countries. She has two important tips for South Africans travelling abroad.
First, she advises you check the government’s travel site to find information on what travel documents you require for your travel. The burden of being stuck with a foreign country’s officials without relevant documentation is unimaginable.
Secondly, Lerato lists another vital tip – for a South African travelling, living or working abroad – to register online with Registration of South Africans Abroad, a software program developed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The information travellers register on the program allows the DIRCO to assist South African citizens in cases of an emergencies.
Confidence is key
One of Maya’s suggestions is to build your confidence so you don’t become an easy target for predators. This the most relatable everyday tip for South Africans because if you walk alone in the Joburg CBD and let on any kind of vulnerability, you know you’re immediately in danger.
She advises you start doing small things by yourself first before travelling to a foreign country, like visiting the CBD for example. “You want to have the look of confidence on your face, you want to project that confident energy because if you’re afraid or fearful, if you have a question mark on your face on your face you make yourself an easy target,” says Maya.
Remain low key in foreign countries
Oneika Raymond boasts travels to 115 countries, from Bermuda to Hong Kong. As a seasoned travellers, she advises that you remain as inconspicuous as possible and to keep a low profile. “If you really want to go local, the best thing to do is to blend in,” she says.
Do you have solo travel tips for other women? Chat to us here.
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