Whenever travelling solo, it is imperative that we do our research to determine the best and safest destinations to visit. We ask ourselves, is it safe for a woman to travel solo to a Developing Country? The short answer is yes, absolutely!
It is the perception that travelling solo certainly has its limitations, especially being a female travelling solo! What do we do? Do we let this stop us from travelling wherever our heart desires? Not me! Absolutely not!
I have now been travelling solo for 9 years, and many of these solo trips have been to Developing Countries. Yes….it can be, and is intimidating, and more than a little scary. But I will not let this stop me. The fear I feel is nothing that a little preparation, a few precautions and a huge amount of courage can’t overcome.
It is important that we learn the true meaning of a “Developing Country”. It does not mean that the people are lesser than us, or that they are less educated. The simple way to describe a Developing Country, is that it is a lower to middle income Country which hasn’t yet reached the same level of sophistication as North America and Europe, with respect to its economy, infrastructure, health care, police protection or education, and in some instances, human rights. This does not necessarily make a Developing Country dangerous.
Do Your Research
Extensive research is something that should be done wherever you travel. Every destination has its sketchy areas, and they should be avoided at all costs. It is our responsibility to determine the areas to avoid prior to leaving home.
Developing Countries may have more crime per capita than our home Country, which does make it slightly more risky to travel solo to these countries. Although the majority of the crime is non violent, and consists primarily of petty theft and muggings, there has been an increase in serious crimes in recent months, which include sexual assault and murders. These crimes are occurring more regularly on resorts and in tourist areas, so we must choose our destination with an abundance of caution and heed any government warnings.
Common sense must always prevail and certain rules must always be followed:
- stay in well-lit areas
- keep all valuables at home
- carry a cross the body purse and keep it on while eating, touring, shopping, etc.
- lock your passport and other valuables in a safe
- do not venture out on your own after dark
- avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- never disclose where you are staying
Related: Let’s Get Ready for Takeoff
It is my opinion that Developing Countries get a bum wrap. Whenever and wherever I travel, I always take the exact same precautions as I would when venturing out on my own at home. Remember, a Developing Country is no different.
The accommodations you choose will depend solely on how comfortable you feel when travelling on your own. I have found that I usually feel safest staying at a resort. A resort is slightly more secure than hotels and much more secure than renting a cottage or staying at an Airbnb, as you are always surrounded by people and resorts tend to have security on-site. Most resorts offer concierge service and tours right from on site. If you don’t feel comfortable venturing out on your own, it is easy to book a tour. There is absolutely no reason for you to miss out on the adventures, and this is also a great way to meet new friends.
If you are more of the adventurous and courageous type, then by all means book an Airbnb or rent an apartment. I have done both while travelling in Developing Countries and have never had any issues. If you do choose to rent or book an Airbnb, always remember to research the person or company that you are renting from, as well as the location of the property, before handing over any money.
As in almost any Country, the public transportation in an Developing Country is safe and efficient. In fact, I have found that the transportation has been more efficient than in North America, as the locals depend on public transportation for their day-to-day activities. If you opt to use the public transportation system, make sure that you are fully aware of the location of your destination.
If you don’t feel safe using the public transportation, there will always be an abundance of taxis. My only suggestion here would be to negotiate your price before you get into the vehicle, and ensure that the taxi is a properly licensed taxi.
It is the people that keep me coming back to Developing Countries. It doesn’t matter which Country I am visiting, the people have been the highlight of my time spent there. I have been blessed to have met the most fantastic, friendly and loving people, while travelling to Developing Countries. The people continually pull at my heart strings, making it just about impossible for me to leave. I even fell in love with one (perhaps a topic for another blog).
For the majority of these Countries, tourism is the number one means of income, and the locals go out of their way to welcome us to their community. They are extremely proud people and are anxious for us to explore their Country and learn their culture. It is always a compliment to them if you attempt to learn and/or speak their language.
Having said that, I am not going to sugar coat things and make it all seem like roses when visiting Developing Countries. Unlike North America and Europe, most of these Countries are not multi-cultural. Keeping this in mind, do your research to ensure that you do not offend the locals by your dress, sexual orientation and beliefs, behavior, etc. Remember at all times, that you are a guest in their Country.
All in all, travelling solo to a Developing Country is no different than travelling solo to any other Country. Yes, there are precautions to take. Keep your head on straight, be sensible and be aware of your surroundings at all times, and you will be just fine!
“The only thing to fear, is fear itself” (Franklin D. Rossevelt)