Independent Women: Tips for Solo Female Travelers Worldwide

Traveling alone as a women can be a wonderful and meaningful experience, and a great opportunity to get to know more about yourself. But it doesn’t come without challenges. Until the day when it’s safe and easy for women to do whatever they want, wherever they want, without looking over their shoulder, the amazing ladies from Cool Cousin communities worldwide got real about what women should know when traveling solo in their hometown. Here’s a taste of all their useful, enlightening tips.

Middle East

I’ve been mugged 3 times in my life by 2 guys on a motorcycle (yes all three times in a few years apart yet same scenario). Since then I was diagnosed as post traumatic and therefore my safety became top priority. One of the reason I moved back from london to Tel Aviv after ten years it’s because I was feeling super safe here. Walking here feels very safe, apart from south of Tel Aviv where I don’t feel the safest so I would avoid the Central Station at any cost and I suggest you take a cab to your desired destination.

Let’s move on to the other single girl’s trouble – men, to be more precise: Israeli men. Yes, at first glance they might look like hot Latin exotic loves but once you get to the honking from a car to get your attention or asking you countlessly if they “can ask you something” or commenting on your hair, your outfit, your other body parts, your friend or your activity. Don’t be offended by their creepy remarks as you will quickly realize that this is their way to get to your heart (or at least to your pants).

Making new friends is easy in Tel Aviv, this is a place where “minding your own business” is not part of the vocabulary. surely, when sitting for coffee all by yourself you’ll make a lot of new friends, who will mostly want to know where are you from, how do you like Israel so far and give you a detailed list of what and where you should eat. They might even skip the list and invite you straight over to their mama’s house for a nice Shabbat dinner (watch out if it’s a Moroccan descent family as the food might be extra spicy!).

We have uber, it works here perfectly fine, a lot more expensive than anywhere in the world, but hey so is the rent here! You can also use “get taxi” app – works like a charm but might finish your bank account real fast. Please ask to switch on the meter when you get in a taxi.

Get on dating apps, this way you don’t have to sit all alone in a bar looking and feeling all gloomy, set your “passport” to Tel Aviv and start making dating (and if you are Jewish, wedding) plans.

Does that help you to feel safer? I don’t know. What I do know is that you are going have quite the adventure if you follow my warning signs. So, Good luck or maybe Mazal Tov. who knows?

check out Roza's city guide

United States

For NYC the first tip that comes to mind is in the subway. At each station there is a black and white zebra striped bar that aligns with where the train conductor’s car is, at each stop she/he will point to the bar. This is a good opportunity to ask for help if needed.

On guys: Catcallers are all about, day or night. I would avoid eye contact, look ahead and walk on. I was once followed home by a guy who stopped me to ask me for the time, people like this with alternatives motive are all about in NYC, use discretion if/when you choose to engage or respond to them. If you leave your Tinder location on when traveling here, and meet guys, always meet them in a public place and not their apartment.

Bars/areas to walk: I’d say use situational awareness in any part of NYC at any time of day but especially at night and when alone.

There are plenty of women owned/ operated bars that have a good vibe like “Butter and Scotch” in Crown Heights on Franklin. In the evenings these areas are always populated with other bar goers and relatively safe. Williamsburg is also good for bar crawls. But use due diligence like never leaving your drink unattended. Bond Street Marketplace also has a good guide to women owned establishments in the city. I think Midtown is relatively safe as well, but I would avoid parks at night.

I would beware of some pockets of Manhattan at night like E125th. Areas in Queens like Liberty Ave use should avoid (a woman got her purse snatch in front of me there once), some outer parts of Brooklyn like Canarsie, East New York, etc can also get a little rough.

check out Monica's city guide

Brazil

São Paulo is a big city so actually everyone should be aware on the streets, specially with their cell phones. It’s not rare to see thiefs riding their bikes and taking the cell phones from someone’s hand while they are texting or calling someone. I would advise every tourist to keep their phones in the pocket and hold tight when taking a picture on the streets.

I would recommend all the girls not to walk alone at late night. Not because of rapes or anything like that, but because of the thieves that usually attack more women than men. After leaving a bar, pub or restaurant, order a Cabify or Uber to reach your hotel.

I will always say: get away from the favelas and suburbs even if someone tells you it might be a nice experience to see how people live in a poor community. Good and safe neighborhoods to visit and hang out as a solo girl traveller: Pinheiros, Vila Madalena, Vila Olimpia, Itaim Bibi, Moema, Brooklin, Jardins, Jardim Paulista, Bela Vista, Cerqueira Cesar, Vila Mariana, Paraíso, Saúde.

All those hoods offer a great variety of bars, restaurants, outdoor parks and pubs. Also those are considered safe areas in SP. Public transportation is safe and well organized here, but I reinforce to use it only during the day or early at night.

Brazilian people are usually very nice with tourists, we try to help as much as we can, even when we don’t speak their language.

check out Fernanda's city guide

Europe

I have been fortunate enough to also have traveled extensively and I must say that Vienna really is an extremely safe city. Myself, I feel confident to walk alone anywhere and at any time. There are however some differences in the extent of security I feel. For instance, I feel probably most secure in the 1st, 5th – 9th, 13th, 18th and 19th district, and least secure in the 10th, 15th and 16th district.

some underground stations used to be frequented by drug users and drunk people, such as Karlsplatz, but this is less so now, and the presence of the police still make you feel safe. I would also not recommend to going to the area around the Prater and the more outside districts (21st – 23rd), just because areas might be less lit and in some areas especially around the Prater there are more often larger groups of men hanging around. I still feel safe enough myself to go here, however, I would be more alert. Public transport anywhere is very safe.

If someone is alone, the1st, the 6th, and the 7th district are really safe and have a lot of bars and restaurants where you can easily meet people. I myself, usually avoid the so-called Bermuda Dreieck in the 1st, because there are a lot of excessively drunk young people.

It is rare to experience any unwanted attention or catcalling in Vienna. Some areas are a bit more multicultural and in some other cultures it is a bit more prevalent that women get unwanted attention, so it does occur, but then more likely in for instance the 15th or 16th district or around the Prater for instance. Austrian men are generally more reserved and respectful when it comes to women, although friendly and easy to talk with if you initiate the conversation.

So in general Vienna really is a great city to visit alone as a woman. Most of the parks close at night and are very safe in the day. I often spend time alone in for instance the park around Schloss Schönbrunn, which is extremely nice.

check out Aisha's city guide

Australia

Sydney is pretty safe. However, it’s not really a “24-hour city”, so it can be a little unsettling traveling around late at night when there is no one around. All I would suggest is that like anywhere, exercise common sense and stick to well lit areas late at night. Sydney doesn’t have a great late night public transport system, so I also usually have a plan for how I’m going to get home before I leave. Unless you’re on a train line, an Uber or taxi is likely to be your best option!

There are lots of inner-city pubs and bars that are perfectly safe to grab a drink alone especially around Potts Point/Darlinghurst/Surry Hills (some of them feature on my map). Guys in Sydney are usually pretty well behaved and on most occasions, you can simply say that you’re not interested and they’ll leave you alone.

check out Marissa's city guide

Asia

Singapore by

Singapore is such a safe country. So I would say that solo female travelers can feel at ease while traveling alone in SG. It is okay to walk around at night alone for night sightseeing! Bus time depends on buses, but usually, they will stop running around 12:20 am. MRT(subway) will stop running around midnight, but it will depend on where you are and where head to.

There is one area I’d recommend to avoid, the red light district on the Geylang street. It can be unsafe to go to at night, so avoid going there alone.

check out Jaeeun's city guide
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