So ladies, you want to travel the world.
But what do you do when no one can join you? Do you call off the trip? Going alone might not be safe. We’ve all heard the horror stories about what happens to women who travel alone!
Well, good news. There are plenty of international cities that are safe for women traveling solo. And they’re more off-the-beaten-path than, say, Paris or London.
Do you want to relax alone on the beach? Maybe you’d rather spend all day sightseeing in a big city. Or go out partying without feeling endangered.
Here’s a list of six safe cities for female travelers. They all offer something unique, and they’re all places where you can walk alone without constantly looking over your shoulder.
Safety Tips for Solo Female Travel
- Only hire official guides. If a local approaches you to offer a better or cheaper tour, don’t take the deal. They could have bad motives!
- Stay alert. Especially in tourist hotpots and at night! As long as you know what’s going on around you, you’re in control. For a leg up, download essential travel safety apps.
- Don’t leave belongings on tables at restaurants. Even if you’re in a safe area, all it takes is one sketchy person to steal from you!
- Use common sense when walking alone. Don’t have headphones in so that you can’t hear someone behind you. If you have a backpack, wear it on your front so you can always see it.
- Try to become conversational in the local language with FluentU. Not speaking a lick of the language is a tip-off that you’re a naïve tourist. The more you know, the less likely you’ll be taken advantage of. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into language learning experiences.
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What’s Bangkok Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
Bangkok is a complete 180-degree flip from Western culture. Everything from public transportation to food is different than in the West. Even lining up at the bank is a new and exciting experience!
The city and its surrounding areas are full of activities. Bangkok is rapidly modernizing, and the blend of old and new is breathtaking.
Kick around the Opulent Grand Palace for a look at Old Bangkok. Wait until the sun goes down and enjoy the nightlife on the infamous Khaosan Road.
If food is more your scene, head to Chatuchak Market. Bring lots of baht (Thai currency) and splurge on any and all culinary delights.
Taste the world-famous moo kata (inexpensive Thai barbecue) or kuay teow lui suan (fresh herb spring rolls). Peruse the countless dumpling stalls scattered around the market. Have at least one tiger prawn. There’s nothing else like it.
There’s a reason Thai street food is world-renowned. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is where it all began.
Is Bangkok a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
Exceptionally so. There’s a strong military and police presence, which deters criminals from all but the most petty crimes.
As with any large city, watch your phone and bag, and don’t walk down streets after dark if you’re the only one in sight.
The crime level in Bangkok is slightly higher than other cities on this list, but that’s because crime reports factor in the surrounding areas. In Bangkok’s center, just be aware and be careful when you cross the street. You’ll be fine!
2. Bogotá, Colombia
What’s Bogotá Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
Colombia has been steadily building its identity for over 200 years. The effort shows, making it an absolutely breathtaking solo travel spot.
Don’t believe me? Watch the Netflix phenom “Narcos,” but pay attention to scenery. Colombia is a diamond.
Take a jungle bus to the surreal salt cathedral of Zipaquirá. If religion doesn’t interest you, grab some aguardiente (strong anise-based drink, similar to absinthe) at one of the many, and completely safe, salsa spots around the city.
Oh, to clarify, that’s salsa dancing, not dip for your chips! It’s so world-class in Bogotá, watching dancers move might be all you want to do with your free time. Where else do you think Shakira, who was born in Colombia, got her moves?
There is, however, one caveat: Most Colombians don’t speak English. I highly recommend brushing up on your Spanish before you spend time in Bogotá. The more travel phrases and slang you learn, the more fun you’ll have!
Is Bogotá a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
Colombia has a bad reputation with safety, and considering the popularity of shows like “Narcos” and “Surviving Escobar,” it’s easy to see why.
But I’m happy to say Colombia, especially Bogotá, has felt like one of the safest and most welcoming places I’ve ever visited. The people are kind and warm. They give a whole new meaning to “southern hospitality.”
3. Kyoto, Japan
What’s Kyoto Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
Kyoto doesn’t get the credit it deserves among travelers. Being in Japan means it’s automatically stuck in the long shadow of Tokyo. But the two cities couldn’t be more opposite.
Tokyo is a super-metropolis. Kyoto is a sanctuary.
In Tokyo, you watch the sun rise at the end of a long night of partying. In Kyoto, it’s the beginning of a new, peaceful day.
The shrines in and around Kyoto are unparalleled in beauty. At Fushimi Inari-taisha, arguably the most famous of all the Kyoto shrines, you’ll find over 10,000 bright orange torii (traditional Japanese gates) sprawled across the sanctuary.
The Kyoto Imperial Palace, which is still used for enthronement ceremonies of the Japanese Royal Family, is a must-see. Pavilions, gardens, shrines and cherry trees decorate the grounds. Yep, the photographic opportunities in Kyoto are pretty much endless.
When your stomach starts growling, walk a short distance to Nishiki Market, splurging on every kind of classic Japanese dish you can think of.
Is Kyoto a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
Despite some major but aging terrorist attacks, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world.
Kyoto is a sacred place for many Japanese, and it feels that way. Stay in a classic ryokan (Japanese inn) for an immersive experience.
4. Budapest, Hungary
What’s Budapest Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
Budapest is the gateway to Eastern Europe. Many solo female travelers find it a perfect mix of East and West, and they thrive in the variety Budapest offers.
For example, check out the unreal thermals baths at Széchenyi. One of the largest spa complexes in Europe, you’ll emerge feeling like you’ve just woken up after a 20-hour nap.
The city is home to 67 universities that educate more than 15,000 international students. So while Hungarian is by far the main language of Budapest, it won’t be hard to find fellow young English speakers.
Staying in a hostel isn’t just safe, it’s encouraged. Find a place in the center of the city on Hostelworld, make friends with your hostel mates and dig into Budapest.
Is Budapest a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
Totally. Like many places in Europe, Budapest’s main crime toward foreigners is petty theft.
Budapest has a well-known reputation as one of the pickpocket capitals of Europe, so be extra cautious around tourist destinations such as Buda Castle or Gellért Hill.
Keep your personal belonging tight and don’t leave your cell phone on the table as you eat. Remain aware of your surroundings, and you should have an amazing time in Budapest!
5. Cape Town, South Africa
What’s Cape Town Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
As far as destinations for solo female travelers go, you can’t do much better than Cape Town.
The city has everything. Mountains and outdoors activities, pristine beaches and a vibrant city center.
There’s a large expat community, so it won’t be hard to meet fellow travelers. Check out Meetup to find people to join you on a skydiving adventure. Or you can hit Boulders Beach and snap photos with thousands of penguins running around! Or take a ferry to Robben Island.
Cape town is all about keeping your mind and options open. You might be traveling alone, but it’s simply impossible to be bored.
Is Cape Town a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
The idea that South Africa isn’t safe for a single woman traveling solo is old news.
In fact, almost every type of crime has been exponentially decreasing in recent years.
And if you’re still nervous about traveling alone, remember, Cape Town is the perfect place to meet people! Stick with your new tribe to feel safe.
6. Seoul, South Korea
What’s Seoul Like for a Solo Female Traveler?
Seoul is the ideal destination for any woman who likes either eating or partying. If you love both, you might never want to leave.
This city is the last on my list, because in my opinion, Seoul blows every other destination out of the water.
It’s the busiest, largest and most futuristic city on this list. It has over 600,000 more people than Tokyo and one of the best party scenes on the planet.
Oppa Gangnam Style! The hit song by K-pop icon Psy is more than just a catchy beat. He’s singing about Gangnam District and its legendary party scene. The entire neighborhood pulses nonstop.
When you finally wake up after your night of partying, take a cooking class at OME Cooking Lab, a world-famous center for culinary advancement. You’ll learn an entirely different palette.
Whether you cook regularly or just want the tourist experience, you’ll walk away with a new perspective on food.
Is Seoul a Safe Place to Travel as a Single Woman?
South Korea has a strong military presence, which is comforting if you ever feel endangered.
A top financial center in Asia, Seoul has infinite levels to keep both citizens and travelers safe. Even at night, the city feels about as dangerous as a library in Switzerland.
If you book a trip to any of these cities, you won’t feel so iffy about traveling alone anymore.
In fact, you might find you prefer being a solo female traveler! You don’t need to coordinate plans with anyone or work around a fellow traveler’s needs.
Now you can feel confident walking the streets of Europe alone. Just don’t spook yourself by watching “Taken” before you go. Seriously. Don’t do it!
Mitchell Grant travels the world as his job. Currently in Costa Brava, Mitchell’s preferred workplace is three feet from the ocean with a Clara in one hand, his laptop in the other. Check out his personal website, Income Armada, or follow him on Instagram @mitchell.grant.nani.
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