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solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Atlanta, Georgia
1 post
solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Hi everyone,

I am planning my first solo trip to Europe (namely Hungary-Austria-Czech) next spring. I've been to Europe three times before, all in groups, and my only previous solo experiences were to several cities within US. I do not speak any Central European languages. I would rely on public transportation

Here are my major concerns:

1. I plan to stay in hotels for most nights and B&B for rare cases. But I read that many suggest all-female dorm in hostels would be a better and safer option for european trips. I have only stayed in hostel once and am not a big fan of it. What do you think of accommodation for a single female in mid-20s?

2. I am of Eastern Asian origin so I guess I will be identified as tourist instantly. And I am aware that there have been rampant petty crimes (and sometimes violent one) specifically targeting Eastern Asian tourists. I know tricks such as wearing a belt bag and splitting cash and cards. Do you have other suggestions or resources against pickpocket?

Thanks in advance for any advice/comments

17 replies to this topic
Seattle
Level Contributor
52,516 posts
22 reviews
1. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

I prefer staying in a hotel. I don't see how or why a hostel would be a "safer option" than a hotel?!

Just keep you wits about you. Try not to be distracted if someone bumps into you, spills something on you, three people approach and all start talking to you. Keep personal belongings close in crowded situations like public transportation.

I think the best safety tip is to look confident and have your plans made in advance. So you aren't lost, looking bewildered, needing to ask for help from strangers.

Edited: 12 September 2018, 04:59
r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,987 posts
1 review
2. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Welcome,

I will state up front im an older solo male traveler.

"1. I plan to stay in hotels for most nights and B&B for rare cases. But I read that many suggest all-female dorm in hostels would be a better and safer option for european trips. I have only stayed in hostel once and am not a big fan of it. What do you think of accommodation for a single female in mid-20s?"

You need to do some research on this. Ive stayed in hostels - in my own room. How that for you? For whatever reason you dont like hostels is fine. I look for price and location.

Anything can happen at anytime. Not just where you stay!!!

stay anyplace you want but do your research on the area. Ive stayed in "gritty" areas in Europe since i wanted to experience what "gritty" was.

I grew up un the hood, so that gritty was only their version of it. Most were migrants/immigrants and not in pretty new steril housing or buildings. The buildings were old and in eed of repair but i think many of the were old enough to be that way.

For what its worth, they were all nice and treated me with no disrespect. I love the various ethnic foods i find there too. Many olaces are at a good and inexpensive price

"2. I am of Eastern Asian origin so I guess I will be identified as tourist instantly. And I am aware that there have been rampant petty crimes (and sometimes violent one) specifically targeting Eastern Asian tourists. I know tricks such as wearing a belt bag and splitting cash and cards. Do you have other suggestions or resources against pickpocket?"

Not sure about this... but you will be the 1st ti know if this is the case.

Personally, i have not seen or witness crimes against people anywhwre on my travels.

You need to use common sense when you travel and at home too.

Im minority too but all ive ever seen was someone trying to fighure out what i am and some older french ladied eyeing me up/down and probably commenting about my western attire. Sime will ask what race i am and i will tell them too. Its not like i answered wrong and they try to string me up. Some people are curious for whatever reason.

"Thanks in advance for any advice/comments"

Do your research and use common sense. Give people a break and try not to have that "east asisn" chip on your shoulders when you travel. If you can , leave that at home and see what happens. You will find that the world is not as big as you thought with alot more people moving and working all over.

I found if you teat people with respect, they do the same.

With regards to your lack of language, you are not alone, including me.

Im in Santos, Brazil now. I found that s.america is NOT as easy to get by language wise. But i do and try.

You can to, but in some of your places, you may find easier such as austria. If you go to Prague and buda, not so. But you will survive. Try to learn some of the basic and simple words like, hello/hi/good day, thank you, good evening if used, good bye...ect. i find that i may butcher the words sometime, but they get a kick out of it and i ask the cirrect Welcome,

Good luck

Edited: 12 September 2018, 06:53
London, United...
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
13,070 posts
221 reviews
3. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

I don’t understand why you think sharing a hostel room with strangers would be safer than a hotel room on your own.

You say that you are of Eastern Asian origin and thus will be identified as tourist instantly. How? Europe is full of people (citizens and tourists) of different shapes, sizes, nationalities, cultures, colours etc.

You are more likely to be identified as a tourist if you’re carrying a rucksack, wearing an obvious moneybelt and standing in the middle of the pavement staring at a map.

Just don't carry loads of cash, don’t get drunk and don’t tell strangers where you’re staying and that you’re travelling solo

kent
Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
Level Contributor
15,101 posts
141 reviews
4. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Hello jl and welcome to the solo forum.

Can I ask.. but what are you actually afraid of? What are your specific safety concerns? Make a list of them & then consider whether they are just perceptions, second hand opinions, or just general matters that any traveller should be aware of. Once you address your concerns, you can plan for them...and cross them off your list of things to do!

Your potential destinations welcome tourists, students, business travellers etc... all of whom travel from the four corners of the world. So I've no idea why you think your ethnicity, age or gender would specifically put you at risk. Of course, I'm assuming you wouldn't indulge in drug taking or getting blind drunk, which would put you at risk of harm, either at home or abroad. Your biggest danger is not being aware of local traffic and stepping out into the path of a car or tram.

As for accommodation... hostels are popular with budget travellers, particularly ( but not exclusively) with students. Some have private rooms, some don't. Some arrange social activities and have laundry rooms and kitchens. Some are in city centre locations, some are on scenic trekking routes. You don't have to stay in hostels just for safety concerns, as a B & B or budget chain hotel group would be just as secure.

You can read other travellers' reviews of hostels here in trip advisor through the actual destination forums, or (if listed) through bookings.com

A tip.... Trip advisor isn't the easiest website to navigate, & I find it quicker to google an accommodation name and then click on the TA reviews that show up. I also find the map view from bookings.com more detailed & comprehensive than TA.

Getting lost? Personally.. I've gotten lost more times than I can count. I've never hesitated asking local people, shop keepers, people walking their dogs, policemen, & street vendors for directions. I've also walked into other hotels and asked for directions too. Most people are polite and helpful, but there will always be someone who isn't, which is due to their lack of manners, & not because you're young, or a tourist.

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,987 posts
1 review
5. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Im back,

Rearding getting lost.

Im an older make and as you kniw we dont ask for directions when we get lost. And i usually dont.

I fould that yes, as soon as you pull out a map or book it screams tourist. But you know what?. Look around, you probably wont be the only one doing it.

I found out on my first dew trips my internal compass is broke so i get lose easily unless can see a familiar landmark. And ive walked miles until i stopped and asked sone too. All of that qas during the day and in nice weather so no worries and i was able to het off the tourist path and see thing.

If you can use google maps , use it if you want. 8 do most tine until i get somewhat familiar with the area.

If you are worried about talking to strangers on the street for directions, go into a hotel, or business and ask them.

Just realize how many solo woman travelers do trips all the time and have nothing happen all over the world but that does not make any news

Good luck

Seattle
Level Contributor
52,516 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Just carry the business card from your hotel and enough local currency to pay for a taxi back. Then you'll never be "lost".

Strangnas, Sweden
Level Contributor
198 posts
36 reviews
7. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Solo female traveler here, mid-40ies. I spent three days solo in Prague and I had no problems making myself understood when I used English. It's all about who you approach, the younger the person is the more likely he/she will know some English. I wouldn't approach older people and expect them to know English.

I didn't feel uncomfortable or unsafe in Prague at any time, but I also think that it depends on what type of person you are. I'm not especially trusting towards strangers and it's in my personality to distrust people I don't know until they've proven that they are trustworthy. I always keep an eye on my belongings and I use my common sense when I'm out and about. I make sure to stay among people, I avoid people who look suspicious and I follow my gut instinct if something makes me uncomfortable. I also usually return to my hotel room relatively early, around 9 p.m. or so.

As for pickpockets, I always keep my bag/purse in front of me and keep an eye on the zipper to make sure it's closed and sometimes I use a wallet small enough to fit in my front jean pocket where I keep my credit cards and most of my cash. I don't place my phone on a table when I sit at a restaurant or cafe, it's always in my pocket or in my bag/purse. I just make sure that all my belongings are always accounted for.

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,987 posts
1 review
8. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

Im back,

With regards to purse. When you are home and shopping, look at how woman in usa use/hold/carry their purse in stores, buses and so on.. It maybe laxed for lack of better word. You will NOT see that in Europe. Again, once you are over there hopefully you will be observant.

Good luck

Italy
Level Contributor
9,461 posts
9. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

" all-female dorm in hostels would be a better "

without knowing who told you this my guess is they mean an ALL Female hostel is safer than a mixed sex hostel. A private single hotel room is single sex. Usually.

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
210 posts
37 reviews
10. Re: solo female travel to Central Europe - safety tips

My take is that you need to look as far from a solo traveller as possible.

When checking directions etc, do it in a more private but safe setting like in a shop and not out on the street.

Sometimes I like to appear to be part of a group - this doesn't mean I need to actively approach and speak to others, but just being near and appearing close enough to a group sometimes does the trick.

Carrying 60L rucksacks are, in my opinion unnecessary and just calls yourself out. Bring clothes you don't mind throwing, prepare to wash them or replace them along the way - these aren't expensive but take up space.

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