Women Travelers: 2009
Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Europe? What are some of the challenges you've faced and how have you dealt with them? Are there places women should not travel alone? How do you stay safe?
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email : email@example.com
New York, NY USA Thu 11/12/2009
travel alone in Ireland
I travelled alone in Ireland for 3 weeks when I was in my mid-20's and had no problems. I stayed primarily at monasteries, which is a great option all over Europe. Most Trappist monasteries allow guests; I wrote to the Trappist community in Portglennone, N. Ireland (this was about 15 yrs. ago, before e-mail), and they gave me the addresses of other monasteries which allow guests. They do charge a modest fee, though it was much cheaper than a hotel, and less than most B and Bs and expect you to attend Mass on Sunday. (I attended every morning, as I found it a fascinating part of the cultural experience.) You don't stay with the monks or nuns -- you will be in a seperate guesthouse, though you do see them around. All rooms were clean and comfortable, though they ranged from very basic ( a bed and desk, with bath down the hall), to quite lovely with a private bath. All monks/nuns and staff were very friendly (as everyone in Ireland was) and helpful. Anyway, monastic guesthouses are a very safe way to stay if you are travelling alone. I did meet another couple staying at one, but most guests were single. I also stayed in some B and Bs, and had good luck there, also. I would say Ireland is a very safe country, in general, and, although some commented on my "pluck", travelling alone, no one seemed to think it strange, and I had no problems. Of course, use the same common sense you would anywhere for safety. Keep money and jewelry hidden, don't walk down dark alleys alone at night, that sort of thing.
Danville, USA Mon 07/06/2009
I've been to Switzerland, N Italy, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, London, NYC on my own. Agree that it helps being 60+ - I think we become invisible. I wear little jewelry-usually costume-and dress conservatively. Used to do the wedding ring but don't any more. I wear a money belt and hold my purse (which is an LLBean travel wallet) for dear life. And tend to stay in in the evenings except in NYC.
Clay County, FL USA Tue 06/16/2009
I traveled alone for 5 weeks through Romania, Hungary, Czech, Poland, Austria and Germany and encountered no problems. I had a great trip and encountered so many nice and friendly people. I also ran into other females traveling solo and they said that they have encountered no problems. We all agreed that if a man approaches you who is overly friendly it is best to shake your head and keep moving. I found people will stare at you especially in Romania, but locals have told me they are just curious. Just use the same common sense that you would use at home and you'll be fine and have a great time!
canada Thu 06/04/2009
Travel in Morocco for ladies
Traveling in Morocco without a male companion is possible but can be challenging. My husband and I live in Fes, and I get a lot more comments when I am alone or with other women.
One way to prepare for this is to get your sense of humor ready. Chances are men will call all sorts of things after you in English, French, Spanish, or German. I have made a game out of tallying up what nationality men think I am. One entertaining man once called, "prendre un cafe, faire l'amour?" (have coffee, make love). Just let those things roll off your back. I have never had anyone try to be physically aggressive with me. One way to get a man to leave you alone is to say "safi, hashuma" (enough, shame on you) loudly so that others can hear.
Avoid wandering around after dark and during hours when the streets are empty. The breaking of the fast during Ramadan (known as f'tor) is a notorious time to get robbed.
Although there is very little violent crime, some desperate people might hold a knife and ask for your purse. I don't carry anything of great value in my purse for this reason.
Choose your train cars carefully. I always look for other woman with whom I can sit.
And remember...Morocco is a Muslim country. I am amazed at the number of Western women who wear shorts and tank tops. On a recent visit to Marrakesh, I saw a woman letting her belly hang out. What on earth was going through her mind???!!! One may be able to get away with this in Marrakesh, but this is a huge no no in the Fes medina. By linen pants and stay cool and modest.
Pittsburgh, PA USA Sun 05/24/2009
I've been to Europe twice, the first time was in college with a good friend from elementary school. We backpacked and used a bus service. Both of us had kept copies of each others important documents. We carried on our person our passports, ISIC and money for the day, along with an emergency credit card. At home there was a trusted friend that had a copy of our information (credit card numbers/customer svc numbers, itinerary). Since we were going to Basque country with recent terrorist attacks at the time, we had notified the American consulate in Spain.
The second trip was a young professional's dream. I'd already been out of college for a few years and went with two friends from college/work. We learned alot about one another and used Rick's tips for women travellers. Again, we made copies of our documents AND since we were 3 girls together, we always came up with a meeting place in case we were separated. That worked out fine since we had different interests and we tended to wonder off now and then from one another!
Learning to treat others as you wish to be treated is an adage anyone should keep in mind. As three Asian girls in Italy travelling together who didn't know too much Italian, the "Hellos" "Please" and "Thank yous" got us a long way. More often than not when we got lost people we asked would show us and/or take us a few blocks of where we wanted to go.
Overall I advise being aware of your surroundings and making eye contact with others. That makes it a lot harder for others to come upon you unaware.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 04/27/2009
I have traveled alone to Romania twice with no problems. I went to do volunteer work, but did some solo travel before and after. I carry a small purse with no money or anything of value in it. Passport, ATM and credit card, and most of my money is in a moneybelt. I carry a small amount of money in my pants or jacket pocket. I wear a wedding ring and dress conservatively. I'm 60 years old and am sure that helps. I did get lost in Bucharest and Sighisoara. I asked young women - hoping that they spoke english - and was told by both "follow me", and they helped get me were I needed to go. I used taxi's to get to hotels and always found official ones. I did have the "Ring scam" tried on me in Bucharest, but I just walked away. Romania has many problems, but I found the people to be friendly and helpful.
Bothell, WA USA Thu 03/19/2009