Traveling alone is a great experience. It can change your life, even! But it’s really scary too, especially if you’re a woman. Simply walking down the street in a city in your home country is a challenging experience (hello, street harassers!), let alone in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or have cell phone service.
That’s why Ciara Johnson, a popular Black travel blogger on Instagram, shared a series of solo travel tips for women.
“I’m a woman and I travel the world alone, from Mexico to Morocco to Cuba to Bosnia to many other countries. Here’s a thread on how I stay safe,” Ciara wrote on Twitter.
First, Ciara is “hyper aware” of her surroundings. “Scan your surroundings,” she said. “Is someone walking close to you? Does someone appear to be watching you? Did that car just pull beside you & slow down?” If you notice something awry, don’t hesitate to get out of there. Always trust your gut.
As Ciara writes: “It’s better to look a little paranoid than to be harassed, robbed, or worse.”
Second, Ciara recommends doing a lot of research before you go. You can never be too prepared, so look up “cultural norms, customs, how to dress, scams, natural disasters, political climate, etc.,” she writes. She also recommends looking for accounts by other solo female travelers, and checking reviews for hotels.
Third, Ciara uses technology wisely. She avoids pulling her phone out randomly on the street. But she does use Google Maps, translation apps, Uber. She makes sure to have access to data to keep her family and friends aware of her location.
“Make sure someone, anyone… knows where you are & where you’re staying,” she said.
Fourth, Ciara trusts other women before other men. Solo travelers have to rely on strangers to some extent, but don’t trust just anyone. “If I need directions, I usually ask a woman. This is not to say all women can be trusted, but I feel more comfortable trusting a woman on first instinct.”
And fifth, Ciara avoids giving out information that could be used against her. She doesn’t let her massive social media following know exactly where she travels until after she’s left, for example. She lies if someone asks if she’s travelig alone.
Armed with these tips, there’s nowhere you can’t go – and the experience is totally worth it!