TikTok and Instagram are flooded with beautiful pictures of women posing in front of famous sights like the Pyramids in Egypt, the Trevi Fountain in Italy, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Instagram is also packed with snapshots of delicious cuisines, beaches, and romantic nighttime pictures that all encapsulate the travel aesthetics so many girls want to experience for themselves. Today, female solo travelers have taken over some of the biggest social media platforms, influencing other women to fly and broaden their own horizons. But just what are some of the difficulties of traveling alone as a woman?
TikTok has become a blog and video diary for many young people. Influencers are constantly sharing their most exciting life experiences, including solo traveling. My “For You Page” is full of girls describing their adventures in other countries. Many of them share their positive experiences, as well as helpful travel tips and recommendations. However, many of them also share which countries they didn't feel the most comfortable in.
These videos that bring awareness to the reality of solo traveling are incredibly important. It’s showing the “behind-the-scenes” of traveling alone as a woman, which can be scary, worrisome, and at times dangerous. So let’s go take a look at some of these countries that solo travelers have warned us about!
@whereismalikah told users on TikTok to avoid traveling alone as a woman in Egypt. As she records her video with the Pyramids behind her, she says, “I’ve been traveling in Egypt for about 4 or 5 days at this point. And I can definitely say if you are a woman, do not come here by yourself at all.”
While the crime rate in Egypt is said to be low, many visitors have reported getting mugged and assaulted. In 2020, two British nationals who visited the country were sexually assaulted. There are many of these cases that go unreported, so there’s no way of knowing how often this happens.
However, another solo traveler named Monica shares her insight on Egypt, which is mostly positive: “I seemed to receive much less harassment than other travelers have reported, and no, I don’t look Egyptian whatsoever. I chalk this up to being super comfortable in the Middle East and carrying myself with confidence, as I’ve traveled all over United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman, Turkey, and more.”
She continues, “Firstly, and most importantly – I dress in a way that does not attract attention. This is the best prevention.”
Monica has written a post on what to wear in Egypt for females, recommending comfortable clothing like long pants and skirts to deter harassment and unwanted attention.
@fueled.by.donuts is another female solo traveler who warned others about visiting Morocco: “Everybody is exceptionally rude, everybody called me ‘China’ wherever we went. I’m not even Chinese but that’s not the point.”
She continues to speak on what her experience was like walking down the streets of Morocco: “People will try to grab you by your hand or your wrist and try to drag you to their stands. Everybody’s exceptionally pushy. I have never not enjoyed a country so much as Morocco.”
In 2018, two European women traveled to Morocco and were found decapitated in the foothills of Mount Toubkal. A total of 24 men were suspected in their killing. The murder was considered a terrorist act and videos showed suspects pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant while decapitating one of the victims.
Other women who have visited the city of Marrakesh have reported getting groped and followed back to their hotels. Even men have reported experiencing the aggression of the locals and merchants.
3. South Africa
@pilotisabelle amassed 7 million views on her TikTok video titled, “Countries I wouldn’t visit alone as a female, from a world traveler.”
One of the countries on that list is South Africa. In the comment section, one user, @kayla.333_ said, “I’m from South Africa and it’s so unsafe.”
Life From A Bag is a travel blog dedicated to educating inexperienced travelers and individuals who are looking to take on the Digital Nomad life. One of the authors, a South African native, gives his honest opinion on visiting his country: “I personally believe if it’s your first time traveling solo, you shouldn’t come to South Africa. It pains me to say this because I love my country and I believe it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world! I want to share our wildlife, food, and heritage with everyone, but South Africa is best for experienced women travelers with lots of solo travel experience.”
He continues, “Life in South Africa today is not the same way it was 10 years ago. You can never let your guard down, you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If it’s your first time traveling solo you might not know which signs to look for and how to react in certain situations.”
Currently, South Africa has very high crime rates. Reports of violence, rape and murder, robbery, and carjackings are on the rise. Many TikTokers and bloggers urge solo female travelers to be aware of their surroundings and to not flash wealth. There is also a high risk of pickpocketing, and theft at hotels is supposedly not a rare occurrence. Despite how beautiful South Africa is and how majestic Cape Town may look, solo travelers should think twice about going alone.
I believe that it’s still possible to travel to these countries as a female traveler. However, some countries should be left up to experienced travelers. In order to not bring attention to yourself in these dangerous countries, you have to dress consciously. Don’t wear clothes that show too much skin, don’t carry around name brand purses that scream wealth. Stay under the radar. If possible, carry a pocket-sized pepper spray or knife. Never go out at nighttime and only stick to touristy areas. With traveling on the rise, it’s important that women stay wary in order to have a successfully safe trip.
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