Updated: Feb 23
I am not your average traveler. I never stayed at resorts until I became a travel agent and I prefer couch surfing, being around locals, and traveling alone or a small pack of 2-3 of my closest travel besties. I've couch surfed in mansions where my host had maid service, a driver, and housekeepers and I have couch surfed with poor families who made enough food for us to eat and didn't have any for themselves. Both situations made me feel safe and at home.
I noticed that most cultures in the developing world have a community-based mindset. Everyone knows (or knows of) everyone. They share with one another, look out for one another, are warm and gracious, and have no issues helping out strangers. Because of this, I traveled the world with ease and feeling safe.
Now I have had my share of experiences where I was scared because I got myself into some sh*t I shouldn't have been doing in the first place, but it usually worked out in the end.
Every trip I've taken, I've immersed myself in the culture, get in the grit of it all, and it taught me valuable lessons about traveling safely as a woman and I want to share them with you in this short read.
1. Leave your jewelry at home
I know your granny gave you that beautiful necklace, but that same necklace will attract some unwanted attention. People can spot a foreigner from a mile away. Vendors will notice and charge you twice or three times the price of an item you want to buy because you look like you have money. Or people will see you at an opportunity to steal from. I recommend that you keep your jewelry simple or where none at all.
2. Don't pull out big wads of cash while shopping at market(s)
I learned this lesson while living in Morocco and bargaining with vendors on a weekly and (sometimes) daily basis. I noticed that when I pulled out a wad of cash to purchase my stuff vendors want to change the price we agreed on because they see I have a lot of money. So my friends and I started stuffing small wads of cash through our bags so we didn't have this issue anymore and it WORKED. So I recommend that you try to do the same.
3. Don't venture out alone, if possible
Even while living abroad, most of the time I had a travel buddy when I ventured out to new cities or towns I wasn't familiar with. I like traveling with one other person because if I found myself in a situation that made me unease at least I was with someone else and together we can get out of it. If you find yourself traveling to a different country by yourself, make friends with other tourists and ask them if they don't mind exchanging info and visiting places together. Most people don't mind if you do and would love the extra company.
4. Don't disobey your instincts
We are all born with instincts but I notice that some people do not use them or listen to them at all. I always listen to my instincts and I NEVER disobey them. My instincts are the compass I use when I am traveling. My instincts will tell me if I should do something or not, trust this person or not, and helps me make my next move. I never do anything without consulting my instincts first.