This post is not about places you can not visit, but about places that you have to be more careful and responsible about yourself. So, if you’re a woman thinking of traveling alone and you want to visit some of these places, go for it. Just stay smart if you want to enjoy the ride.
It’s amazing visiting an another country but, you don’t want to be surrounded by unknown men suddenly. Feeling alone and unprotected is just an awful feeling! So, the only thing you can do is to pay attention to what’s going on around you and try to be unnoticed. Maybe, the way you are dressed-up may be totally different from the others. That will attract more eyes on you and therefore, people.
I think you wont be surprised for some of the countries I mention. Most of them are countries with different opinions about female independence. This is not a kind of racism and, as I said in previous posts, I do not believe in stereotypes at all. Personally, I die to visit most of these places and I hope to make it sometime! So, as I don’t have any personal experience of these places yet, I’ll mention the experiences of other travelers.
While these countries are some of the most difficult places to travel, in general, and even more for women, with the right attitude and precautions, you can have a great time traveling alone. The same goes for all the places of this list.
So, let’s find out 5 difficult places for a woman traveling alone:
When it comes to visiting Iran, the U.S. Department of State tells a very different story than the female solo travelers. The U.S. government warns “Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security“.
However, most of the accounts of female travelers to Iran speak of warm hospitality from the Iranian people. Ethel Karskens wrote on Her Packing List: “When I was in Isfahan, I was walking on a mountain when a woman with poor English invited me to have lunch at her place. In other places in the world I would be suspicious, but that’s how it is in Iran: they see foreigners as an opportunity to show the Iranian hospitality, to know more about other countries and to share their stories!”
In Heart My Backpack, Silvia Lawrence shared a similar story. She described her Couchsurfing hosts, who “were incredibly warm and welcoming hosts, cooking delicious Persian food and asking me countless questions about Norway and the U.S. and foreigners’ impressions of Iran!”
If you do go to Iran, make sure to pack a headscarf and adhere to the expected modesty of women in Iran – wear long sleeves and a long skirt.
Brazil, the largest country in South America, is home to the majestic Iguazu Falls, the parties of Carnival, and incredibly gorgeous beaches. But don’t get too swept up in the excitement of Brazil. It’s not completely safe for travelers.
Caleb McElveen, the SEO Director for Reservations.com, say: “Brazil’s economy isn’t the best, so tourists might have to deal with some nasty stuff. This includes robberies, sexual assault, kidnapping and just overall crime. Driving in Brazil is also not recommended. Roads aren’t maintained, people drive fast and some places don’t have street lights. Yikes! That’s just an accident waiting to happen!”
If you want to enjoy the natural beauty and culture of Brazil while staying safe, Leyla Alyanak of Women on the Road provided many thoughtful suggestions, including keeping your wits about you, staying away from touristy areas, and leaving your valuables at home. If you do get attacked, she wrote: “Forget the fancy self-defense moves. Give them what they want. You won’t win!”
It is said that Morocco is one of the most colorful places and you may return with beautiful ceramics, colorful photography and tales of intense bargaining mixed with unmatched hospitality.
For women traveling alone, Morocco isn’t without its frustrations. In an article in the Huffington Post, Rebecca Shapiro wrote: “Morocco is an incredibly patriarchal country, and for western women and feminists, this can be a shock to the system. Men’s sense of entitlement, combined with the fact [that] you will stand out no matter what you do, means that unwanted attention is inevitable!”
Lauren Juliff of Neverending Footsteps echoed this sentiment in her blog: “Morocco is one of my favorite countries but it was also one of the hardest to travel in!” She added that in Essaouira, “I suddenly had hassle from men in the street, grabbing me, trying to touch my breasts, whispering in French in my ear and then calling me a slut and a whore when I walked away!”
Despite the difficulty of traveling in Morocco, it’s still a country worth visiting. And you can enjoy your time there, if you’re smart about it. Juliff concluded her post with this advice: “My time in Morocco was challenging, but it was rewarding, too. As long as you’re fully aware of what to expect, stay positive, dress respectfully and take time to rest when the hassle gets too much, there’s no reason you can’t have a safe and enjoyable trip!”
India is a very beautiful place to visit and the possibilities for exploration are endless – from doing yoga at an ashram to visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal. But the truth is that it’s probably the most difficult country to visit… not just for a woman traveling alone but in general.
If you’re determined to go to India, be prepared: keep a toilet roll with you at all times and ignore all beggars, no matter how downtrodden they look. Anna Phipps of Global Gallivanting suggests that even if you want to travel alone: “It’s a good idea to join a group tour for the first week or so as you’ll be able to enjoy it more without any stress or hassle and then, once you are more acclimatized with India and feeling more confident!”
She also advised solo female travelers to follow the local customs, trust your gut, dress conservatively, and be confident and assertive. “Forget about being polite, it may be taken as a sign of weakness, be prepared to stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to speak out!”
You may have a great time in Guatemala, if you visit it with counselors who will keep you safe, but solo traveling is very different. Guatemala has high crime rates and an unstable government. Women traveling to Guatemala should take precautions and stay in areas with other tourists.
Lauren Salisbury, blogger at Something In Her Ramblings, suggests that women traveling to Guatemala stay away from public buses (the colorful buses known as ‘chicken buses’), stick to the beaten path, take guided tours, don’t drink the tap water, and “don’t be afraid to be rude if you feel you are being harassed!”
She suggested that women handle harassment in this way: “There is no rule that says you have to be kind to people who are bothering you. If you find yourself approached by someone who makes you uncomfortable, give them a firm indication you don’t want to talk, ignore them, and walk away!“