We chat to a lot of people about their plans and ideas for travel to all sorts of exotic and exciting locations, and, shamelessly blowing our own trumpet (but only a little bit), we’ve helped thousands of people realise and go on their dream travels all over the world. The initial planning phase is a great opportunity for you to ask us any questions (which you should do by the way), but there are some that crop up more often than others, in particular: “Will I be safe as a lone female traveller?” So we thought we’d put your mind at ease here with a few tips and reasons to reassure you about travelling as a lone female...
In the know
First and foremost, decide what it is you want from your travels. Are you looking for adventure, culture, to meet new people, or do you simply want to get out there and see the world? Of course you can work all of the above into your travels, but having an idea of what you’re looking for and which countries you’d like to visit will give you solid grounding to start planning the trip of a lifetime.
The best thing about travelling by yourself is that you can make decisions about the things you want to see and do without having to take anyone else’s plans into consideration, but if you’re worried about going it alone try booking onto a group trip – you’ll get the experience of travelling by yourself but with the backup of a friendly team and the opportunity to make some new friends in the same situation as you.
Will I be treated differently as a female?
It’s always worth doing your research on the culture and customs of the countries you’re planning on travelling to, as some areas of the world have more traditional practices than others. Respect for these go a long way, but generally things like covering up tattoos and wearing appropriate clothing are restricted to religious and spiritual sites – and apply to men as well as women.
A good rule of thumb is to exercise the same amount of caution as you would do at home – would you walk around an area you were unfamiliar with late at night by yourself in the UK? Would you leave drinks or valuables with a stranger on a night out? Common sense is a good trait – use it at all times!
Will I get lonely?
This is a question all lone travellers ask themselves, and quite honestly there might be the odd moment of feeling as though you just want someone to reassure you you’re doing the right thing. But just because you’re taking the plunge and booking your own travels without friends or family tagging along for the ride, it doesn’t mean you’ll be by yourself. If you book onto a group tour or programme you’ll be surrounded by a new group of like-minded people as soon as you arrive at your first scheduled accommodation.
How will I find my way around?
The last thing you want is to land in a foreign country and feel lost as soon as you step foot outside the airport – another great reason to book on a group trip, as most will include an airport transfer to your accommodation, so you’ll be greeted by a friendly face as soon as you step off the plane.
We can’t speak for every travel company, but with Real Gap Experience we make sure all our travellers are given full orientation of the local area on arrival, including advice about local customs, places to avoid, tips on dress code, how to find your way around, and of course the best places to shop, eat, and party.
Who will I meet?
For some trips, we provide you with a ‘buddy list’ before you travel – so you can get in touch with other members from your group before setting off. We can also point you in the direction of our Facebook groups – so you can say hi to a whole bunch of travellers before even leaving the UK. 70% of Real Gap Experience travellers are travelling alone, many for the first time, so you’ll be in good company with people that have the same hopes and concerns as you.
Will I be safe?
It’s difficult to assess how safe a certain location or accommodation is when you’re trying to plan your travels to a country you’ve never visited before, which is why, when you book with us, we do all the hard work for you. We run risk assessments of every project we run – this means we personally go and visit each and every programme to check out the locations, accommodation, and staff that will be looking after you while you’re travelling. All of which have to meet our standards of safety, cleanliness, and correct paperwork – right down to checking the bus driver’s license. We also keep on top of updates from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to ensure all the countries we travel to are free from conflict or other travel concerns.
The team we place you with on our programmes are all experts on the areas you’ll be visiting, and we guarantee you’ll always have at least one English-speaking guide with the group for the duration of the tour. You will have also have 24/7 emergency contact details for your in-country team and the UK, should you need to get hold of anyone – no matter what time of day or night.
You’ll have a dedicated personal travel advisor to help you plan your trip right from the off, who will help answer any queries, offer advice, and make sure you have the best travel experience possible.
For the extra vigilant, we run a brilliant Safety Training Course (attended by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman before their Long Way Round trip) to prepare you for any given situation. From getting around on public transport, to avoiding tricky situations, how to behave in different scenarios, and the essentials every traveller should have with them – it’s all in this day course run by experienced travellers and ex-members of the British Army.
With all of this in mind - how can you say no?! Give us a call on 01892 277040 or get in touch online for more travel ideas and advice. We look forward to seeing you taking the plunge soon (you won't regret it)!