Advice for women travelling alone or in groups

FCO Travel Aware

More and more women are taking the plunge to venture out on their own abroad. Travel can be a liberating, eye-opening experience, and women travellers can enjoy travel just as much as men.

But, women travelling alone might get more attention abroad than men, particularly in developing countries where cultures differ wildly.

Our need-to-know checklist will help you stay safe abroad, avoid unwanted attention and make the most of your adventure.

Women travellers

  • Buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover the cost of potentially high medical bills or lost luggage - has a range of single trip and annual multi-trip policies available
  • Wear a wedding ring even if you haven't tied the knot - it should prevent unwanted attention as married women are seen as 'off limits' in many countries
  • Take clothes that adhere to local laws and customs such as long sleeves and trousers. Long sarongs are a good investment as they can double up as a thin blanket or towel
  • Eye contact with local men can be seen as flirting so try to avoid it
  • When out and about, appear confident and look as though you know where you are going, even if you don't!
  • Ask women or families for directions if you get lost
  • Carry toilet paper wherever you go - local toilets sometimes aren't as well equipped as those at home!
  • Take sanitary products and condoms with you
  • Leave expensive jewellery at home - a sparkling gold necklace will turn you into a beacon for thieves
  • Your bra can double up as a money belt! Sew pockets into it to stash your cash
  • Keep a close eye on your drink when you are out in a bar and don't accept drinks from strangers
  • Use reputable taxi firms that have been recommended by your rep or hotel. Never hitchhike - it's not worth the risk!
  • Stay safe in your hotel - lock the door, keep the window closed and don't let anyone overhear your room number
  • If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before you book your holiday abroad to find out if it's safe to travel. You may not be able to have certain live vaccinations if you are pregnant so this could affect your travel plans
  • If someone tries to pinch your bag, just let it go and shout for help
  • Carry pepper spray, but make sure it's legal in the country you are visiting

Women travellers need to be a little extra cautious while they are abroad. But if you stick to this advice then you are more likely to enjoy your holiday without a hitch.

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