Few female travellers experience problems during their gap year travels. Many women travel to countries alone and the majority of the time do not experience any difficulties. However, there are always times where even the most seasoned traveller can find herself in a tricky situation. Keeping safe on your gap year is a priority and the advice is not intended to scare you but simply to make you aware of some potential issues and how they can be best avoided or managed in an appropriate and, most importantly, a safe manner.
The risk to female travellers will really depend on where you go. However, all these tips can help you regardless of where you are in the world. You may find yourself wondering whether travelling alone or with friends is the safest option? Of course, having people you know with you can make you feel more secure, as the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers. However, don't let concerns about your safety put you off travelling on your own. Around 60% of gap travellers head off on their own and as long as you take sensible precautions there's no reason you shouldn't stay safe on your gap year.
Travelling alone is fun but you may occasionally find yourself the subject of some unwanted attention. It could be from men that make flirtatious comments, maybe whistling at you, or making some other kind of unwanted sexual advance. If a guy starts talking to you and it makes you feel a little uncomfortable or if you are simply not interested then you can try the following:
It's important to remember that most locals are extremely friendly and welcoming. Many will be keen to chat with you as they are genuinely interested in learning more about your plans and where you're from and enjoy practicing their English with you. These experiences only add to your enjoyment so please don't think that every time a local attempts to talk to you that they have ulterior motives, because most of the time they don't. Try to keep an open mind, but trust your instincts.
If you are being hassled and can't extract yourself from the situation, then you could do try explaining your situation to a nearby male traveller and sit with them for a few minutes, giving the signal to your unwanted admirer that not only are you not interested, but already with someone. Men will most likely be quite happy to pretend to be your mate; in general, guys are happy to help out, plus it makes them feel like a bit of a hero.
Finally, it may sound obvious, but avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially after dark. Never hitchhike and only use licensed taxis. Don't leave your drinks or valuables unattended and don't drink so much that you feel you have lost control of your own safety. Always practice safe sex on your gap year and remember no means no! Look after yourself in the same way you do at home, keep vigilant and don't take unnecessary risks and you can relax and enjoy the rest of your gap year in style!