Seven seasoned female solo travelers tell us about their favourite lesser-known destinations, and how to stay safe in those places.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Seven seasoned female solo travelers tell us about their favourite lesser-known destinations, and how to stay safe in those places.


Why Laos? “Laos is still relatively untouched compared to other Southeast Asian countries. So if you’re looking for off-the-beaten-track experiences while on a shoestring budget, this would be one of the places to visit!”

Stay safe! “Be sure to respect local customs and dress modestly. Book your transport and accommodations in advance, especially if you’re checking in late. In rural parts of Laos, lights out can be as early as 9pm!”


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Why Rome? “Rome’s architecture, especially the ancient cathedrals and of course the Colosseum, intrigued me deeply. These structures speak of a different time, and a life so unlike ours in terms of values and resources.” 

Stay safe! “Street performers will grab your hand firmly as you pass them, then ask to take a picture together. Don’t fall for this—they’ll hound you for ‘payment’ after and if you walk off, they’ll aggressively stalk you until you give in. This also applies if you take pictures of— and not just with—them! Or a man may ask to help with a demonstration, then proceed to tie a bracelet on your arm while chatting to build rapport. He’ll then make you pay for the accessory, which will by then be impossibly tight to remove. So when you see people standing around with duplicate items on their arms, move away and keep your hands in your pockets; women are prime targets.”


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Why Haifa? “A two-hour drive from Jerusalem, Haifa is where tourists flock to the stunning Bahá’í Gardens, which span one side of the holy site of Mount Carmel. The UNESCO World Heritage attraction’s tranquil gardens frame the picturesque Galilee Hills, city and Mediterranean Sea.” 

Stay safe! “Haifa is hilly so I recommend taking buses. Get a seat quickly. If you have to stand, be sure to hold onto the bars, as buses move fast. Taxis sometimes refuse to use the meter, overcharge and may pick up other passengers while you’re inside! Also, familiarise yourself with the 10 agorot and 10 shekel coins, as unscrupulous folks may try to pass off an agorot (their equivalent of 10 cents) as 10 shekels (the equivalent of 100 agorots).”


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Why Bhutan? “Apart from being a total visual treat, Bhutan is a country that has kept her rich cultural identity alive. Locals still don their colourful traditional costumes—Gho for men and Kira for women—and it’s mandatory for civil servants, students and foreigners who visit a monastery or fortress to wear them.”

Stay safe! “I booked my tour with Druk Asia. Look for registered companies where you can request for a female guide. It’s important to follow rules on local customs such as avoiding hats, sleeveless tops and shorts when visiting fortresses and monasteries. Check if photos and videos are allowed before snapping away.


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Why Poland? “I’ve always wanted to visit the concentration camps, and when my feet walked the grounds in Kraków where millions died, everything I had read in history books about World War II and the Holocaust came alive instantly. It was a humbling experience.” 

Stay safe! “Poland is generally safe. However, the streets in Krakow are generally not well lit—so take care to stay along the main road and avoid dark alleys.”


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Why Hangzhou? “In my opinion, Hangzhou is the romance capital of China, much like Paris is to France. This is where classical Chinese romance stories come from, and her scenery provides the best backdrop.”

Stay safe! “It’s all cashless here, which means there are fewer scams or syndicates operating [compared to other parts of China]. However, be wary of car sharing services. Queuing might not get you a cab, since everyone in Hangzhou is so used to doing everything through their phones. Didi Chuxing is the most popular car share service in China, so download the app. Opt only for 专车 (premium) on late nights and for long distances—these drivers are registered with the police and backgrounds checks have been done.”


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Why Norway? “When I went on my big Euro trip, I picked Norway as my first destination as kayaking down the fjords was at the top of my bucket list. There, I conquered Naeroyfjord, one of the most popular fjords in Bergen.”

Stay safe! “Scandinavia is extremely safe. In fact, the only thing to really worry about is Norway’s ever-changing weather; locals talk about experiencing four seasons in a day! So always pack sunblock, a waterproof windbreaker, waterproof pants and proper interior layering for all your hikes, a solid GPS or map, and trail food to keep hunger at bay during long treks.”


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