A woman’s place in this world is wherever she decides she wants to be. However, some destinations in the world are much safer for women than the rest, but keep in mind that the world is not as scary as some may believe. There are some locations that have been deemed to be the best destinations for solo female travelers.
As the struggle for equal rights progresses, traveling solo has become an act of defiance. This is probably why around 32 million women travel from America alone, and this number continues to rise!
If you want to travel the world while still feeling safe, then get a notepad and pen and start writing down the names of the safest and best destinations for solo female travelers.
The Best Destinations Where Solo Female Travelers Have Felt Safe (And Where They Didn’t)
We´ve gathered first-hand information from the subreddit r/digitalnomad from women who shared the places they felt the safest while traveling by themselves and the places where they felt in danger.
Here are some of their experiences to consider when choosing your next destination.
Safest Destinations According to Solo Female Travelers
1. “More developed Asia in general – China, HK, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Japan, etc.! You’ll get to face sexism, but other than that, you’ll feel very safe there. There are women-only train carriages; the catcalling culture isn’t as strong as it is in other places, and it is really the general risk there. The bigger threats are scam schemes, pickpockets, etc. that don’t really discriminate against gender. Korea, especially, was where I felt the safest. One night, I walked home from a bar, and a few people stopped to ask me if I needed a cab. No one touched me; they just asked from a distance first if I needed help. Some stores in many areas have a sign that says that they will keep their light on at night, even when they’re closed, to help keep the street brightly lit for women.” – 5unflower5
2. “China!! I’d say east Asia, in general, is very safe for women. The biggest risks are pickpockets and bag snatching, pretty equal for both men and women haha yay, equality. Zero harassment culture (at least in public), although blatant sexism exists in general….. but also, being a foreigner, you’re exempt from a lot of that bullshit. I felt very safe there and in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.” – thetechnocraticmum
3. “I personally have felt the safest in South Korea. I could walk around at 3 am by myself as a woman of color and get no harassment. I have never in my life felt that safe in the states.” – blasianseouls
4. “As a nomad, I find New Zealand very laidback and chill. People are also generally friendlier and more helpful. South East Asia—I might be biased because I’m an Asian myself, but in general: pretty safe for women, although it can be a bit sexist. People stay within a safe distance from each other but are very quick to help when you’re in distress. Lower living cost too.” – micumpleanoseshoy
5. “Tbilisi. I always felt super safe walking at night, which is such a wonderful feeling. I wish I could go back right now. It has an excellent digital nomad/ex-pat/traveler culture.” – ilikenoodles90
6. “Hi! For me, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Corfu, and Lucerne (Switzerland) felt very safe and lively at night. Cuba was quite friendly.” – HelenFromCanada71
7. “Norway, but all of Scandinavia, is very very safe. I would walk home at 3 am in the quiet areas of the city and still felt completely safe. I even left my big backpack with half of my belongings on the bus in Oslo one time and got it back untouched the next day.” – MundaneBarbie
8. “I felt very safe in most East Asian countries I’ve visited. Vietnam and Japan especially. Scandinavia, Canada, and NZ are also very safe (the most dangerous thing is slipping on ice during the winter!)” – liondoor30
Unsafe Destinations According To Women Travelers
1. “All of North Africa and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. I could tell you horror stories of stuff I’ve experienced or witnessed in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, etc.” – tallalittlebit
2. “Granada in Nicaragua is the only place I’ve been where the street sexual harassment went as far as being actually grabbed. I was out of the tourist spots and didn’t feel I’d be ok if something happened… like I didn’t feel anyone around would step in if it went too far. Also, Tabatinga in Brazil was pretty unsettling, but that’s a tiny town in the middle of the Amazon, and it’s like the wild west.” – TechnicalVariation
3. “Felt the most unsafe? Oddly the US. Probably not true for all cities and neighborhoods, but I was in Miami and NYC for a bit, where I encountered men who made me feel not just uncomfortable but unsafe. They’re also a bit more open to touching on this culture in general, so I understand it, but I also felt uncomfortable.
I was in San Diego for a short stint and was inappropriately touched in the tram on 3 separate instances in a period of 6 months – I made a scene 2/3 times and had to speak to the transit officer, but they wouldn’t take me seriously and told me to just let it slide. The fact that even after I reported someone who harassed me, with people who witnessed it vouching for me, no one with authority took it seriously – that’s what makes me feel unsafe” – 5unflower5
4. “Greece. I felt perfectly safe on the islands, but I was really shocked at how much street harassment there was and how dangerous Athens felt, even during daylight hours. If you go, get to the islands as quick as you can!” – chardiddy04
5. “Turkey/Istanbul. I would not recommend spending a lot of time there as a solo female; I was constantly getting hit on/harassed (not physically, though) in such sleazy uncomfortable ways all the time, especially in Istanbul” – MundaneBarbie
6. Generally, in the Middle East, wear a fake wedding ring. Pakistan: The norm is for women to be escorted by males. I consistently had strangers (men) walk up to me and ask, “where is your father, husband, or brother to escort you?” The enforcement of norms was annoying, and there was something ominous about my entire time there. Egypt:
Men grabbing their genitals and catcalling you was the norm, but I never thought anyone would actually try to touch me. Lebanon/Jordan/Syria: Persistent harassment. Turkey or Istanbul in particular: Open season on foreign women. You’ll be asked out constantly. It was more annoying than creepy.
India: I only groped once getting off a bus, but all the white female backpackers I met indicated that they were harassed and groped constantly. India has all female train carriages, waiting rooms, and ticket lines; take advantage of them. On the animal front, there are rabid dogs and monkeys everywhere (urban and rural), and when they see a solo person and one that smells different, they will attack you.
China: I was physically assaulted/mugged in a rural area of the “Great Wall.” The more memorable event was that no one would help me when I asked for someone to call the police. Just to reiterate, race is just as important a factor with solo and female, and at least in China, white women have more favorable experiences overall. Hungary/Budapest: Physically assaulted at night by a group of thugs. Likely racially motivated, but I was also a solo female.” – ForeignBazaar
7. “Least safe was San Francisco. I’ve never felt unsafe in London; it was fine in Marrakech. But I did not feel safe in SF. Paris was actually a bit dodgy too; there were soo many people trying to force you to buy things. One guy chased us down the street, shouting at us.” – littlepurplepanda
8. “Least safe, definitely Tanzania. I still loved it there, it’s an incredibly beautiful country, and there was so much to see and do, but it’s probably the only country I’ve ever been to that I would not consider traveling to alone. I went with a female friend, and we were harassed quite a lot, mostly by men who wanted to drive us places. It’s the kind of country that I would definitely recommend more a little more planning before you go, and paying a bit more money to have a local guide/driver.” – liondoor30
What Makes A Country Safe For Solo Travel For Women?
One day, two adventurous journalists, Lyric and Asher Ferguson sat down to create a Women’s Danger Index. Their goal was to rank the top safest countries for women and give them the courage to travel without fear.
They used 8 danger factors to analyze all the best destinations for solo female travels.
- Safe for taking solo walks at night
- Sexual violence from non-partners
- Intentional homicides committed against women
- Violence from intimate partner
- Global gender gap
- Legal discrimination
- Gender inequality index
These are the top 5 safest countries according to the report:
Safest and Best Destinations for Solo Female Travelers
Did you know that Spain is the second most-visited location in the world? What is even more surprising is that the country recorded 82.7 million international tourist arrivals in 2018.
As the Women’s Danger Index reveals, Spain is one of the safest and best destinations for solo female travelers. It ranks high in street safety and has low violence and legal discrimination rate.
One user on Reddit also stated how she walked around alone at night in Barcelona, Spain and felt quite safe. She ended up spending 5 months at the location, while other solo female travelers revealed that they keep going back to Spain because of their splendid time there.
Apart from the reasons already mentioned, Spain is a wonderful place to be if you want to enjoy nature in all its glory. It has scenic Mediterranean coastlines and fabulous architecture! One of the best things about Spain is its Paella, which you do not want to miss eating out on!
The small nation of Singapore is considered one of the safest countries in Asia. The Women’s Danger Index ranks the country high in over half of the factors. This means that you can also walk alone at night without a care in the world.
So, why don’t you visit Singapore for your next adventure and enjoy all this dynamic destination brings? Be sure to marvel at the Skyline Luge’s views to look over all of Singapore.
You may not be aware of this, but Ireland ranks number 7 in the EU on the Gender Equality Index. This means that it has low levels of violence against women and discrimination.
Of course, the country has more to offer to you if you like breathtaking views, beautiful countryside locations, and welcoming and vibrant culture. Feel free to indulge in some beer and explore the wonderful sights of the Cliffs of Moher!
Austrians are said to enjoy the best quality of life in Europe. This is further evidenced by the Women’s Danger Index, which records low levels of sexual violence and the lowest rate of gender inequality in the country.
Aside from being one of the safest and best destinations for solo female travelers, Austria can give you a taste of the fine culture and is a must-see location for all!
Switzerland is famous for its gorgeous fjords and landscapes, which include Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald, and Mount Titlis. Aside from its promising beauty, the country is ranked 7th on the Global Peace Index. Rest assured, you can safely travel alone.
When it comes to street safety, Switzerland has low crime rates and a friendly community.
Safety Tips For Women For Solo Travel
There is no denying that traveling solo as a woman comes with its fair share of challenges. If you want to be extra cautious, follow the tips below. It is better to be safe than sorry.
1. Use rideshares and taxis safely
Many countries have various ridesharing apps, such as Uber or a ride-hailing app for you to request a taxi. If you use either one of these, your location can be tracked, and the fare will be standardized.
You can also check out the rating of the driver to look for any red flags. Apps usually have tracking options, too, so you can make sure that you are headed in the right direction.
2. Leave valuables at home
It is nice to wear your favorite fancy jewelry or watch when dressing up to go sightseeing, but it can also draw unwanted attention. You always have the option of buying costume jewelry or any local inexpensive bling to make sure they complement your outfits.
Wearing flashy jewelry, on the other hand, is going to make you a target and make it difficult for you to blend in.
3. Use your phone strategically
Some countries tend to have a high theft rate, meaning that your cell phone may be at risk. Even if your destination is safe for women, there is still a chance of your mobile phone being stolen.
This is where a hidden passport holder belt comes in. You can easily wear it around your waist or fit the pouch in your skirts or pants. If you want to make a call or search for directions, you can just step into a local café for a minute and use your phone.
Sole female travel has become a trend worldwide, and by now, you should have some ideas about the countries you want to travel to next.
As much as safety is important to women, it should not hold you back from visiting your dream location and having the adventure of a lifetime. Use this list of the best destinations for solo female travelers, and stay safe!