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The Traveller's Magazine
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Travelling solo as a woman is an inspiring experience. To be completely reliant on your own self, dealing with what comes and goes with your pack in tow. Before packing your high heels and bikini, there are a few things we ladies need to keep in mind before heading out on our own around the world: culture and appropriate female dress.

Travelling the world is exhilarating and if you’re a solo woman, it’s even more exhilarating. There is nothing more exciting than hitting the road or catching a last minute flight on your own and being left to your own guises! When it comes to certain corners of the world, it does help to not be solo all the time, but these places are few and far between. Chances are if tourists in general are warned against going to those parts of town, it’s for good reason and we should also steer clear of them.

As with your own, each country has a dress code and it can be harrowing to know what to wear, where! Dress is the best way to attract attention to yourself and the easiest way to defer it but if you follow the local ladies when it comes to fashion and garb you should be fine. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Before your trip connect with other women who have travelled on their own. Ask their advice on clothing, what worked and what would they have done differently?
  • If you’re worried about being robbed, don’t keep your money in your wallet, at least not all of it. Consider sewing a small pocket in your bra or in the inside of your pants. As for money belts, don’t think that thieves don’t know about them.
  • Leave the bling at home, where it’s safe.
  • Clothing is the first sign of wealth. If you’re dressed up in designer wear,  of course you’re going to be spotted as a women who likes to shop and who probably has a purse full of money. Don’t be a target.
  • Modesty is key, especially in developing countries. Until recently all women in Afghanistan had to cover themselves from head to toe by law. It is obvious to the locals if you are a Westerner but you’ll avoid most stares if you don’t look like a rich one that flaunts it. Having a scarf with you is good in Morocco and Egypt as well.
  • As soon as you arrive, look at what the local women are wearing. If you don’t have anything appropriate, do a little shopping. It’s only an invitation for sexual offers if you wear a short shirt that shows your belly in some countries. When travelling through Islamic ones, put your political opinions away and get a head scarf.

Final words from a wise woman traveller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” (Helen Keller)

In many instances women come home from travelling abroad on their own with a whole new confidence. It is fun and challenging and with the right preparations it is completely safe. Check out our general packing tips, Packing: how to and how much? If you want location-specific tips on what to wear, check out Journeying Woman, an on-line community for women travellers.

Image: n0nick / flickr cc

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