In July, husband and wife journalists, Asher and Lyric Fergusson, created the Women’s Danger Index in a bid to help women around the world find the worst (and safest) countries for solo travel. That such a thing was seen as a necessity, speaks volumes to the truth of life as a woman.
Though – unsurprisingly – this list considers women mainly from more developed countries, the WDI, the first of its kind, will be relevant to women from around the world who wish to venture out into the world on their own. Below are some of the interesting takeaways:
FEMALE TRAVEL? SOUTH AFRICA
In the past three-and-a-half years, there have
been 127 reported murders of Nigerians in South
Africa. The news of the testy relationship between
the two countries, is no secret, but with the most
recent murder of a Nigerian woman in her hotel
room in June, there is, finally, an active desire to
investigate just what exactly is going on. South
Africa’s abysmal ranking – an F-rating – was agreed
upon based on research into “violence against
women by non-partners, homicides and how
safe women feel walking alone at night.” “Often,
traveling women to South Africa are warned not
to hike, drive, walk or move about alone and to
generally behave conservatively.” Asher says.
Based on the same research, Spain was considered
the safest destination for female solo travel with
a B-rating on the Index. The highly-favoured
holiday destination performed very well with street
safety, low legal discrimination and low violence
against women attitudes.”
The intention behind this, is certainly not to
discourage women from exploring, but to make us
aware of, perhaps, the best places to go in order to
explore safely, especially when travelling solo. Here
are a few tips to consider when on a solo trip:
Consider joining touring groups on your trip. If
you have trusted friends who can recommend tour
guides for solo expeditions, this can also be another
option. Travelling solo doesn’t mean you have to
explore on your own. There’s strength in numbers.
This may seem like a chore, but keep trusted
people in the loop of your activities while you’re
away so other parties know how to reach you
for any reason. Similarly, make sure you have
emergency contact information on you at all times,
and not just on your phone.
It’s exciting to discover new places as you go, but
there’s no harm in researching the area you are
visiting to ensure that there are no known dangers
that you need to avoid. Familiarising yourself with
an area makes you come across as less of a tourist
and therefore less prone to pickpocketing and other
petty crimes. Additionally, you’re less likely to get
lost when you’ve researched an area.
Avoid Nighttime Adventures:
As a female solo traveller, it is unfortunately a
no-brainer to avoid solo nighttime expeditions on
According to one traveller, sharing travel hacks
with the New York Times, one great tip is to divvy
up your cash so that if you get robbed, you still
don’t lose all your belongings.
Know The Local Emergency Numbers:
Sometimes, we try not to think of what could go
wrong and so don’t consider that things might.
It’s not a summoning of bad things to acquaint
yourself with local emergency numbers so you’re
able to alert authorities to any dangers, injuries or
developments that need immediate attention.
This is a simple one. Depending on where you’re
staying, it’s important to ensure that the locks
on your hotel room door work. Another reader,
sharing tips with the New York Times, said, “pack
a doorstop to wedge under your door.”
Befriend The Locals (Starting with hotel
Not only is this a safety precaution, it can also be a
great way to explore the local area in a, hopefully,
safer way. In befriending the locals, ensure that
you’re aware and alert to unusual behaviour.
This is in no way exhaustive but it’s a great start
to allow you feel safer while exploring new areas