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Women who travel — especially solo women travellers — often enjoy some particular benefits. However, they also encounter some particular challenges and risks. This article contains some general tips concerning safety, health and travel practicalities that are of special interest to women. Tips for women at individual destinations (such as, say, appropriate dress when visiting a temple, especially safety issues) are addressed in those articles.

Of course, other articles such as Pickpockets, Common scams and Tips for travel in developing countries have advice that, while not specific to female travellers, does apply to them.

Making friends

Women travellers
Hostels are good places to meet fellow travellers

Man or woman, solo, couple or group; making new friends en route is always fun. As a woman, especially when travelling solo, investing a bit of effort into finding like-minded people may not only make for a memorable exchange of stories, but can make exploring feel a bit safer. Especially in places you know or feel to be risky, mingle. Looking for fellow (solo) travellers? Head for a hostel rather than a large, anonymous hotel. Take a local cooking or language course. Join an organized day tour to a nearby attraction. Don't be shy about starting a conversation with other (solo) travellers; one of you has to be the one to start it.

Of course, remain vigilant and don't give out your hotel name or room number to strangers you just met on the streets. Be especially wary of locals who single you out asking for help or wasting no time to invite you to parties or their home. Keep in mind that smart thugs know not to dress the part, and petty crimes are often enough carried out by children, mothers and other people you wouldn't suspect.

Stay healthy


For the most part, precautions to stay healthy apply to men and women alike, but there are a few health issues women travellers should be particularly aware of.

Unfortunately, urinary tract infections (also known as bladder infections or cystitis) are a common issue among women. A simple infection is easy enough to treat, but can develop into a harder to treat infection of the kidneys (known as pyelonephritis). Keep in mind that cystitis can be made worse by dehydration, so make sure to keep up your fluid intake when you experience any symptoms. Common symptoms include a strong urge to urinate without much urine being produced, a burning sensation when urinating and strong-smelling or cloudy urine. Healthy women who catch symptoms early may be able to manage the infection by drinking a lot, but if symptoms don't start to diminish in 24 hours, it's wise to seek medical attention. If you are prone to bladder infections, and know how to recognize it, discuss with your doctor if it's wise to take a simple course of antibiotics with you.


  • While it's usually best and easiest to follow your usual contraceptive measures, you might find it hard to obtain the contraception of your choice (or in some countries, any contraception at all!) en route. In conservative parts of the world, women or even unmarried couples may encounter resistance when trying to get doctor's prescriptions and supplies, while in other places it might just not be available. Inform yourself beforehand and consider taking adequate supplies from home if possible. With hormonal contraceptives, keep storage instructions in mind when travelling to regions where it gets hot or freezing cold. Take them with you in the original packaging with a copy of your prescription. Women who need to visit a doctor regularly for a dose, such as women who receive contraceptive hormone injections, might consider switching contraceptive methods for a long trip, or might want to make arrangements before leaving home.
  • Oral contraceptives may lose their effectiveness if you become ill and vomit or have diarrhea. Time zone changes may also make it difficult to take each dose 24 hours after the last dose. You need to use a backup contraceptive measure, such as condoms, for 7 days after any interruption in effectiveness, which means either a late or missed pill or illness that might have affected the absorption. Check the information packet that comes with your pills for details of exactly what affects the absorption, and bring condoms from home for areas where they may be hard to find or may lack in quality. Hormonal contraceptives that are delivered at a constant dose, such as by injection, by implant or by vaginal ring, are not affected by illness or time zone changes.
  • If you're travelling for a long time, contraceptive injections (effective for about 3 months), hormone releasing implants (effective for about 3 to 5 years) or intrauterine devices (effective for about 5 to 10 years) are worth considering. Keep in mind that all of these require a medical professional to apply them.

If you want to change your contraceptive for your trip, do so well in advance — not only because you'll need to make the relevant doctor's appointments, but also because switching contraceptives can cause some temporary irregularities in effectiveness and in your menstruation.

If you do not want to get pregnant and your contraceptives might have failed, "morning after pills" may be unavailable or require bureaucracy. If you are considering an abortion, you might want to travel home, to be able to get the emotional support, especially if the laws where you come from make it easy to obtain. An abortion locally may require procedures you don't want to deal with, or it may be unavailable. Laws have been changing both ways, for example with some U.S. states getting much more restrictive in 2022.


Main article: Travelling with children#Pregnancy and childbirth

There are a number of health issues that women who are planning to travel while pregnant should consider, and discuss with their doctor or health provider as needed.

Vaccines and medications may harm the child in the womb, which means you may need alternative approaches and perhaps should avoid some destinations. There are illnesses, such as Zika and Malaria, that may be dangerous to the child in themselves. Pregnancy may increase the inherent dangers of some types of transport, such as flying, and activities, such as SCUBA diving.

There is always a risk of complications, miscarriage or premature childbirth. Are there appropriate facilities available? Do your insurance cover the costs? In the case of childbirth, there are issues about getting required documents, including visa and passport for the child – and there may be non-obvious effects on the child's citizenship(s).

Stay safe

When traveling alone, a female traveler may take too big a risk if the destination is not necessarily a guarantee of safety; hitchhiking in particular can sometimes be a dangerous activity.

Every year, millions of women set out to travel the world, with a companion or alone. While the great majority experiences little or no serious threats, and while the choice of destination can make a huge difference, the risk of unwanted attention and sexual assault is always significantly higher for women travellers than it is for men. Also, women are often considered easier targets for bag snatching, robberies and other crimes. A bit of extra preparation, tips and awareness can go a long way in making you feel at ease and staying safe while travelling.

Being scared takes all the fun out of travelling, and it doesn't help in making good decisions either. Don't be embarrassed to take some extra precautions, even when there's probably no reason to, if they make you feel safer. While you shouldn't be scared, it's good to always be aware of your surroundings and to act accordingly.

  • Trust your instincts and put safety first when your gut tells you something is wrong. When approached by strangers and you somehow feel threatened, don't worry about being rude. Also, don't be afraid to be loud or make a fuss when you are somehow targeted. Harassing solo females is social taboo in most countries and drawing attention from the people around you can save you from a range of unpleasant situations.
  • Count on some extra budget for safer transportation. Reading up on your next destination and knowing what the common scams are is a good idea for men and women alike. Especially as a solo female traveller, however, grabbing a taxi instead of wandering through a bad neighbourhood or a dark alley is sometimes the best choice, and you might want to be careful to use one from a reputable company rather than an unregistered one. When planning your trip, make sure budget will not keep you from choosing the safer option if you want it. If at all possible, avoid arriving at new places at night. In a sleeper train with multiple beds in a compartment, opt for the upper berth. It is sometimes possible to ask to share a compartment with other women or a family. Keep in mind that smaller more expensive compartments may give more privacy, but they're not always safer, as there's no crowd around to keep bad things from happening.
  • Dress appropriately and mind your body language. Often enough women travellers underestimate the impact proper dress can have. In many countries, it's a sign of respect which will make it easier to connect with local women and make it more likely for strangers to help when you need it. In some places a dress code is even mandated by law or strongly enforced local custom. Being dressed immodestly makes you a more likely target of unwanted attention and harassment. Be aware that physical contact or even simple gestures that may be perfectly normal at home can be interpreted as something quite different in some conservative countries. Err on the side of caution and keep your distance with strange men.



Gynopedia is an open resource wiki for sexual, reproductive and women's health care, with related information for several countries and cities, including laws and customs and where to buy different products.



Pack enough supplies of your usual menstruation product (tampons or pads), particularly if you are going to a less developed country where they might not be available easily. Tampons are especially hard to come by in some places. Modern pharmacies in large cities are often your best bet. If you still have trouble finding what you need, discretely asking female pharmacy staff will usually help.

If you use any pain killers for cramps, take them along after checking their legality at the destination. If crossing international borders, leave them in their original packaging so that customs can determine what they are.

In some interpretations of some religions, menstruating women are "impure" and might be expected to stay away from some social contexts. If this is the case where you are travelling, be discreet and consider obeying the rules for visiting religious sites.

For women doing extended travel in areas where obtaining and disposing of normal menstrual products is annoying, reusable menstrual products might be a useful alternative to consider. The primary products in this category are the suction cups: the silicone Diva Cup and the rubber Keeper[dead link]. These are non-absorbent, reusable and do not even need to be rinsed before re-insertion every time. They are also great for the environment.

Some women travellers might consider using the contraceptive pill to postpone or skip a period. Extended cycle pills (one period every three months, rather than every 28 days) are approved for use in some countries, however normal monophasic pills can be used to skip periods as well, by skipping the pill-free period or the different coloured sugar placebo pills. Discuss this use with your prescribing doctor.

Hair removal


Waxing is a popular and often relatively cheap method in developing countries where this is the primary form of removal. When seeking cheap locations in countries with substantial Indian minorities, try to inquire about a "Little India" in major cities. This is a part of town where most of the shops, including salons, are owned and shopped at by Indian people, where waxing can sometimes be considerably cheaper.

See also

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