If you ever considered traveling solo, chances are one of the main reasons you haven’t done it yet is safety. Either you yourself feel nervous or your family is fearful. I believe anyone who wants to travel solo, CAN. It doesn’t have to be scary. Do your research and prepare yourself as much as possible. And by all means, get these five gadgets so you can stay safe as a solo female traveler.
5 Gadgets You Need To Stay Safe As A Solo Female Traveler
Feel free to share this with your family and friends so they know you have a plan! This goes a long way in giving them peace of mind, which in turns makes YOU feel more confident about your decision to travel alone. You won’t regret it.
1. A Local SIM Card
One of the most important things you need to stay safe as a solo traveler is internet access. With this, you can follow along on google maps when you’re in a cab or bus to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. You can navigate your way back to your hostel or hotel after exploring a new city. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, you can call for a ride or reach out for help.
You Can Save Money
There are usually local apps for ride sharing and food delivery that are more widely used and/or cheaper than Uber, for example. But you need a local phone number to be able to use them.
Why Not Just Use Your SIM From Home?
A local SIM provides data access that is cheaper, faster, and more reliable! Mostly likely your data plan from the US will allow you some texts and data. However, usually the data access is slow (2G) and is limited. The last thing you want is to be in a pinch and have slow internet access or run out completely. Then you’ll have to make an international call, which will cost you a lot of money. SIM cards abroad are so cheap anyway. But when you consider the peace of mind it provides, it’s priceless!
I purchase a local SIM card if I’m in a country for anything more than a couple of days. Keep in mind that if you want to use a local SIM card when you travel, you’ll need an unlocked phone!
2. Portable Charger
Because of the reasons listed above, you’ll be using your phone…a lot! You’ll be running maps for navigation and researching things to do. You’ll probably use your phone as a camera, for music and entertainment, and communicating with friends and family via social media. All of these things drain your phone battery fast. So, it’s really important to ALWAYS carry a portable charger. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere after exploring and losing yourself in the moment (two joys of traveling) with a dead phone and no way to navigate your way back home. That is not fun, or safe.
I recommend traveling with one charger that is compact and lightweight to use during the day and another heavier one with more charging capacity for overnight trips or days when you are traveling via plane, train, or bus.
3. A Portable Wifi Hotspot, Such As Skyroam
SIM cards in foreign countries are prepaid, meaning you buy the amount of data and minutes ahead of time. Once you’ve used those up, you have to “top-up” or add money to your account so you can buy more data and minutes. In Thailand, for example, you can top-up at any 7-Eleven store.
What if you’re in the countryside where there are no 7-Elevens and your data runs out? It’s not the end of the world. It could be nice to have a forced digital detox.
What if your mom is trying to contact you for two days and you don’t respond because you’re out of data?
What if that is unusual and she starts to worry?
What if she contacts all your friends and asks if they have heard from you?
And because no one has heard from you for three days and you haven’t posted on social media, she calls the US embassy in Thailand and starts a search for you?
All because you accidentally ran out of data on your trip to a wellness retreat in the hills of Chiang Mai where there was no wifi…Woops.
That really happened to me! And while I was having a grand ole time, my family was sick with worry.
This is exactly the reason I recommend carrying your own portable wifi hotspot as a backup!! With Skyroam, you pay for daypasses and activate one when you need it. It’s a convenient and inexpensive solution for this type of situation. Again, priceless when you consider the peace of mind you get in return.
4. Whistle or Personal Alarm
Before I went on my first solo adventure, some people recommended I carry pepper spray. After doing some research, I found out that pepper spray is illegal in many countries. Most of the time it will be confiscated at the airport, leaving you without any safety device. You’re better off with a whistle or a personal alarm. Essentially, a personal alarm creates a really loud noise when you activate it. The noise draws a lot of attention, causing any would-be attacker to skidaddle.
The research is clear that carrying a personal alarms is extremely effective. They are even recommended by police officers. Plus, there is zero chance of you accidentally hurting yourself or an innocent bystander, which can and does happen with pepper spray. Here is a link to the one I carry. It costs about $15 and also has a manual whistle that is perfect for outdoor safety.
5. Door Stop Security Alarm
I have never felt like I was in danger staying alone at a guesthouse, hostel or hotel. But, I would rather be safe than sorry. Especially if the solution costs $10! That is why I recommend carrying a door stop security alarm when you travel solo.
You place this door stop at the bottom of the door on the inside of your hotel room or hostel. If any pressure is applied against it, an extremely loud alarm will alert you and your neighbors. It’s audible up to 1,000 feet away. It’s lightweight, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and again…super effective. You cannot go wrong with one of these.
Additional Safety Resources
In addition to these five gadgets you need to stay safe as a solo traveler, I recommend you take a look at these websites to understand the risks present in the countries you’re traveling to and what to do about them. Don’t let this information be a deterrent. Just consider it a way to be informed. Safety as a solo female traveler is all about common sense. The information in these websites applies just as much to staying safe in your own neighborhood as it does in a foreign country.
- SafeAround.com – Talks about the risks of pickpockets, scams, muggings, natural disasters, and terrorism attacks in each country and even the cities within that country.
- Global Peace Index – The Institute For Economics and Peace publishes a yearly Global Peace Index (GPI) report which ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.
I hope these safety tips help you feel more confident about traveling solo because getting out there on your own is so much fun and empowers you to be a better human being. Happy (and Safe) Travels!