Ditch the mace: 5 safe countries for solo females


Let's be honest, when it comes to travel safety is one of our biggest factors in deciding where we go. As a solo female traveller, it's (sadly) something we have to think about more often than other solo men or groups. Although we are (hopefully) smart enough to realize that our adventures are not going to turn into the next Taken, we still need to feel confident and comfortable walking, exploring and staying on our own in a strange place. Especially those new to solo travel.

However, while some countries are known to be a bit tougher for solo women to crack, others are as easy as the proverbial pie. So ignore the Hollywood horror stories, avoid packing the mace and/or bear spray and plan an epic solo adventure to one of these amazing countries.

Iceland

Photo by Hannah Logan

Iceland comes with a hefty price tag, but it's perfect for solo female travellers. With its tiny crime rate, it has been ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, the most dangerous thing about travelling here is the quick changes in the weather. So don't bother wasting your time on your hair and makeup, the rain/wind/snow will ruin it in seconds.
Public transportation isn't an option for site-seeing, meaning you need to rely on tour companies to get around, but that just makes it easier to meet people and make friends. It's also hugely popular right now, even among backpackers, so although you are travelling solo, you won't be alone.

Insider tip: Bustravel Iceland is an awesome tour company with fun drivers, great tours and an open schedule. Based on my experience, they also seem to attract a younger crowd.

Canada

Oh Canada! It may be an expensive destination, but it makes up for it in terms of being an accepting and friendly one. Canada has been ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world (no doubt due to all the poutine and maple syrup that Canadians eat). Better yet, the most popular tourist cities (Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto) are ranked as some of the safest cities in Canada. Another huge plus is how diverse and multicultural Canada is. It's pretty easy to blend in with the crowds here, no matter your skin colour or religion.

Added bonus: You may even get to see PM Trudeau and his news-worthy butt. Just saying.

Croatia


photo by Hannah Logan

Solo travel in Croatia is a winner for a variety of reasons. To start off, Croatia has an incredibly low crime rate, and while it's not impossible, there is very little fear of being mugged or attacked while walking around the cities. Even at night. It's a personal favourite of mine because it's one of the few places I've been able to explore in a sundress, swim suit, or shorts without being harassed by the locals. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it ladies?

Croatia also seems to be made for solo travellers; there are lots of group tours that travellers can take, there is still plenty to see and do if that's not your style. Head to the beach, rent a kayak, go for a hike, hop on a local bus to one of the national parks. It's easy to find things to do and to get around the country.

Sweden

Like the other countries I have listed so far, Sweden has a low crime rate and a general feeling of security. In fact, the capital, Stockholm, has regularly been voted the safest city in Europe. But, what I personally loved about travelling solo in Sweden wasn't just that I felt safe and the men didn't harass me, but that I always felt like I was being looked out for. Not that I ever thought I needed to be, but being a young female travelling on her own seemed to bring out a doting parent-like quality in many of the staff of restaurants, cafes, and even the hostel I stayed in. Funny how that's annoying as hell at home, but suddenly become incredibly comforting abroad.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong
photo by Hannah Logan

Asia can sometimes be tricky if you are from the western world. Travellers often stand out, get pointed at, photographed, and sometimes harassed because they look different. There's nothing like knowing your photo is being taken because you are a funny looking giant! But, while it is usually harmless, it can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

Hong Kong, however, is such an international city that this rarely happens. Hong Kong has a huge expat community, and is a popular tourist destination; it's easy to get around with plenty to do and see. Plus there is enough spoken English that you won't feel like an idiot (although if you can't eat with chopsticks, the amused looks from locals will make you feel like one pretty quickly!) I felt safe walking around and exploring on my own during both the night and day and found the locals kind and friendly (and willing to teach you how to eat properly).

Solo travel as a woman can be intimidating, but these destinations are easy to enjoy. Meaning you and your loved ones back home (you know, the paranoid ones who are convinced you are going to be sold into slavery) can relax.

Hannah is an Ottawa-based travel addict and writer. Her writing has been featured in Huffington Post, Matador Network and more. Follow along with her misadventures on her travel blog, Eat Sleep Breathe Travel.