We are sharing stories from two publications that between them, offer a very comprehensive description of the steps that women traveling alone can take before and during their solo vacation.
Firstly, Australian travel publication "Travel Weekly" reports on an English survey that identified the safest countries for women to travel alone.
"According to WeSwap’s survey of more than 2000 female travellers, Finland and New Zealand were rated the best destinations in the world in terms of safety and quality of experience for solo female travellers.
WeSwap reported that 56 per cent of the women who were surveyed believed taking holidays was essential for their wellbeing, while 34 per cent said traveling was their ultimate goal when saving money.
The results are concurrent with a general increase in popularity for solo female travel globally, demonstrated by a steady growth in Google searches relating to the term over the past five years, peaking in 2018. Google clocked the number of searches relating to ‘solo female travel’ at more than 100 million in 2018"
Forbes has also published some tips about traveling alone, including this quotation from Kelley Lewis, founder of Go Girl Guides.
"Talk! Talk to everyone, everyone, everyone. The more people who are familiar with you and who recognize you, the better. So, I talk to everyone in my hotel, everyone in my hostel, everyone on the bus next to me. For me, it’s about staying safe, and the best way to do that is to connect with other people who are looking out for you.
Don’t Overshare: I’m very aware of what kind of information I’m sharing. On social media, I do share where I am, but I don’t share specifics. So, I don’t do Foursquare, but I’ll definitely say, “Here I am in Bangkok! If you’re here in Bangkok, let’s meet up.”
Where to Go: My favorite place for solo female travel is New Zealand (probably not surprising!). It's the first country I ever went to, the first country I lived as an expat and it's so naturally stunning that I still compare everywhere else in the world to the things I saw there. I'd have to say Argentina and Uruguay are a close second and third."
Of course we also enjoyed this quotation from Refinery29 in an article titled "Flying Solo: 10 Experienced Solo Travelers Share Their Best Advice For First Timers"
It includes a mention of one of our favorite New Zealand cities, the capital and creative hub of New Zealand's capital city of Wellington.
"The city's claim to fame is its starring role in the Lord of The Rings trilogy. Even if you're not a die hard Tolkien fan, the highly walkable city should still be on your bucket list. It's known to offer more bars and restaurants per capita than NYC. Not too shabby for a far flung destination, right?
Creativity is bursting at the seams at Wellington, but you'll be most impressed with the friendly locals. They're more than happy to give you insider recommendations, from the best hiking trails to the coolest vintage boutiques in town."
The second article is a more generic summary of travel tips, more specifically addressed to the US solo vacationer.
By Jamie Biesiada, Travel Weekly USA
May 27, 2019
While a Global Business Travel Association and AIG Travel survey released last fall found some alarming statistics about female travelers -- for instance, that 83% reported having concerns about their safety while on a business trip in the past year -- there are a number of common-sense tips women can follow when traveling to stay safe.
Here are some suggestions from two security experts, solid security tips for any travelers, not just women.
John Gobbels, COO of Medjet - preparation and awareness.
First, Gobbels said, learn about your destination. That includes researching its status with the State Department as well as understanding common local crimes, safe and unsafe areas, safe modes of local transportation, cultural nuances and more. He also advised looking up the emergency number for your destination.
"Many don't use 911, and emergency numbers may vary not only by country but by city," he said.
He also encouraged vigilance while on the road: Check your room's doors and windows every time you enter it; know the identity of anyone asking to enter your room; confirm a rideshare vehicle's license plate before you get in; and don't keep expensive electronics out, or your head buried in them while walking.
"Even in safe parts of town, snatch-and-grabs of expensive phones and purses happen," he said.
Gobbels encouraged female travelers to plan as many group activities as possible to avoid being alone. Alcohol use should be kept to a minimum, and food and drinks should never be left unattended.
It's also important for female travelers to be trackable. That includes making use of the State Department's Safe Traveler Enrollment Program and sharing with family members and co-workers specific itineraries. Tracking programs are useful for worried travelers, Gobbels said.
Gobbels said female travelers should always have a backup plan and know who to call in case of emergency.
He also encouraged them to consider membership in programs like Medjet, which offers medical transportation and security and crisis response.
Erika Weisbrod, director of security solutions for International SOS and Control Risks, also said preparation is important before anyone, whether male or female, travels.
"A lot of the emphasis we place is on the preparation, on doing your research, understanding the risks at the destination where you're going and how those may be unique for female travelers," she said.
That includes understanding a destination's culture. For instance, to maintain a low profile, women might need to dress differently than they normally do.
"The goal is not to garner unwanted attention," Weisbrod said, "so what steps can you take to maintain that low profile?"
In addition to appropriate dress, Weisbrod warned against wearing expensive jewelry or carrying expensive handbags.
She also encouraged women not to resist if they find themselves the victim of an opportunistic crime. For example, if someone attempts to snatch your purse, let them; the risk of violence and harm is greater if there is resistance, Weisbrod said.
The team here at New Zealand Vacations has arranged personalized New Zealand visits for females traveling alone and the local assistance phone contact we provide has been a welcome added benefit.
So yes, New Zealand is one of the safest destinations in the world for solo travelers and like all destinations, a good amount of common sense is a great help.