Every question related to travel safety will never receive a full, encompassing and concrete answer; there are just too many variables. These ever changing factors are also what make traveling so exciting. You never know what to expect. Therefore it is important to prepare for aspects we can control, especially as a female traveling alone.
It is first necessary to identify the overarching main risks to travelers (in no particular order);
• Vehicular incident
• Violent attack
• Health issues and Disease
• Beach related incidents eg rip tides
• Fire – accommodations/nightclubs etc
• Travel at sea
These risks hold true for both male and female travelers alike. So what risks are females more vulnerable to? We believe two risks that female travelers have an increased chance of falling victim to verses male counterparts are;
• Violence (to include sexual attack)
Very simply a majority of criminals will try and focus on perceived ‘easy’ targets. It is generally assumed that women will not try and fight back and/or will be less able to defend themselves. Females also become easy targets because a majority of women carry purses or handbags which are much more accessible to criminals.
Why Violence (to include sexual attack)?
A majority of violent attacks by men against women are often sexual in nature. Some motivations for these attacks stem from personal grievances, issues of control, and social disorders. Unfortunately motivations can also be purely opportunistic and deviant in nature. Therefore it is vital for one’s safety to eliminate these perceived ‘opportunities’ for criminals.
There are always going to be exceptions to the rules, but now that we have identified two main topics that put female travelers at higher risk lets now focus our efforts on eliminating these increased threats.
Why an increased risk for solo female travelers?
If a criminal or an attacker is going to perpetrate a crime they will most likely try and find a target that is alone without ‘back up’. Criminals by nature are predators and will normally focus attention on ‘easy targets’. Sexual predators may focus on women they assume will not have anyone immediately ‘missing them’ or checking in on them.
To identify the main risks for female travelers and acknowledge these particular risks during solo female travel, then we can adapt and minimize the chances of encountering these threats. This is the underlying principal of travel safety. Identify the threat or danger early and prepare accordingly so as to minimize the risk. The trick is not to avoid travel, but simply to prepare and adapt to traveling as a solo female to maximize safety.
Prepare but don’t Prevent
Every traveler both male and female should prepare before traveling. There are threats everywhere that could affect travelers’ – men, women, individuals or groups alike. Should these potential dangers prevent us from traveling? Absolutely not! What these potential dangers should do is motivate us as individuals responsible for our own safety, to prepare accordingly and educate ourselves before we head out on our adventures.