As a single solo female traveller, it’s easy to get swept away by the romance and excitement of meeting foreign locals; they’re intriguing and exotic, it’s sexy when they speak their own language, and they have different ways of being sensual than you’re used to.
It’s a great way to taste authentic cuisine (hello Italian breakfast in bed?), and as a foreign babe yourself, they’re likely to be attracted to you for the same reasons.
There’s also that dreamboat accent.
However if you’re dating abroad, it’s important to not let your guard down completely, and make sure you’re taking certain safety precuations – more so than you would in the world of dating at home, as you’re more vulnerable in a new country where customs, language, and services are foreign.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t fully enjoy your time abroad, but the following safety tips will give you the tools and resources for the best way to go about it. We’ve structured these tips based on the most common ways you meet people as a solo female traveler.
Solo Female Travelers: Safety Tips for Dating Locals (Based on Where You Meet)
Staying in a Hostel
Hostels are great ways for solo travellers to meet other travelers, but also meet other locals; there’s the dreamy staff behind the desk, the maintenance guy who knows how to fix everything, and the bar tender who’s been giving you free drinks.
Hostels are a great way to meet people from around the world and make really deep connections, and the hostel hook up is also incredibly common. But a couple of safety tips:
If you’re staying at a hostel you now have the option of private rooms, shared gender dorms, or female only dorms. Booking into a female only dorm gives you the opportunity of an ‘out’ if you don’t feel comfortable inviting someone new back to your room.
Alternatively, a private room gives you the option of inviting someone back to your room, though keep in mind that most hostels are charged per person, and don’t always allow extra visitors staying overnight.
If your hostel does allow this, and the person isn’t already a guest, stop by the desk and let them know the name of the person who will be spending the night. Even if you left the hostel without knowing you’d be returning with someone, you can let reception know on the way back, or call the desk once you’re in your room.
You can tell your date that this is hostel policy and you don’t want to risk being kicked out or incurring extra credit card charges vs the real reason, which is ensuring your safety.
Choosing a hostel in a central location means you’ll be much closer to services if you need to call for help, and you’ll be around a lot more people which gives you options if you need to attract attention.
At a Bar
Local bars are one of the best places to meet locals who are ready to mingle, though our biggest safety tip here (and this is the same for drinking in hostel bars), is to make sure you drink responsibly.
Having one too many drinks is something we’ve all done, and it’s very easy to do especially when you’re in a foreign country; you want to enjoy yourself, you’re trying new spirits, and you had no idea that absinthe is 80% alcohol so you probably shouldn’t have four of them.
(The effect of too many absinthe shots was stumbling through a park in the Czech Republic at 10am the next morning, trying to find your hostel, only to be approached by a creepy middle aged man asking for your “rate”).
This is particularly more important when you are in an unfamiliar place where nobody knows you. You don’t have friends around who know your limits, or someone who has your cool aunt’s number to come and get you, so you have to know your limits.
You’re more vulnerable to anything happening to you (being robbed / drugged / injured / assaulted etc), if you’re not at your full capacity, especially when a language barrier may come in.
Never leave your drink unattended or let someone else order a drink at the bar and bring it to you. It is best if you watch the bartender pour your drink in front of you.
Nowadays, there are Facebook groups in most cities around the world and this is also a great way to meet people if you’re a solo female traveller.
Joining Facebook Groups in advance of your trip is a great way to connect with locals while you’re there. Because you’ll be meeting on Facebook, our safety advice here is to properly research their profile and vet their online presence before meeting.
In the spirit of always letting someone know who you’re with, if you’re not keen on sending the info to someone back home, you can always take a selfie when out with them, and post it in the Facebook Group as a fun ‘we met through this Facebook Group’ style post.
Bonus because these posts are always super engaging within the groups themselves, but what you’re subtly really doing is letting people know who you’re with out of safety.
Go to Cafes with Wi-Fi
This is another easy and popular way to meet locals – the world is hooked on coffee culture, so no matter which country you’re in, you’re sure to alwsys bump into someone with a hot accent and an even hotter cappuccino!
This can be a safer alternative to meeting locals for a hookup / date in a bar, as you’re not consuming alcohol (unless it’s an Irish coffee!), and it’s a crowded, busy place in the middle of the day.
They can teach you about how to drink the perfect Italian coffee, and if you ‘shamelessly choose to let just a bit of foam linger on your upper lip for the purpose of licking it off, we certainly won’t find any reason to judge you!’
Finding a cafe with WiFi is a safer option here, as it means you can stay connected if you need to make a call, take a call, upload or send a photo, or find help via the internet (click here for the best internet apps for making calls).
It also means you have a way to look busy, or take a call if you need to make an exit (and if you don’t have a friend lined up who can call you, phone apps like Ursafe have audio safe word technology that can trigger SOS features).
Always Use Your Best Judgement
Whether meeting locals at a neighborhood bar, the hostel you’re staying at, or through a group on social media, you should always remember to be cautious and use your instincts when meeting someone.
Nothing is totally foolproof when it comes to safety, not even our best judegement, but 99% of the time, it’s your most effective preventative measure for ensuring your safety.
Embrace the experience, but act with more heightened caution than you would otherwise at home, purely because being in a new and unknown environment makes you more vulnerable.
Another option if you’re unsure of your safety, or unsure of your date, is to stick to meeting for morning coffee dates, or day time tours of the city, and stick to BellesaFilms (adult entertainment for women) to satisfy your urges of an evening.
Traveling solo can definitely bring about feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, or anxiety, but there’s so much opportunity for new passion along your journey, regardless of whether you’re after a casual fling, or something a bit deeper.
But we urge you to meet up, date, and, well … you know! … safely.