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Did you know that 3 out of 4 women in the US have traveled or plan to travel alone?
Solo female travelers are the fastest growing group of travelers in the world. With searches for female solo travelers having tripled in the past 4 years, it’s safe to say the trend is going nowhere.
There has been outstanding progress in the opportunities and acceptance of women who want to see the world alone, but safety is still a big part of the conversation.
According to recent surveys, while most men say their biggest travel concern is the price of a trip, half of women cite safety as their top travel concern.
While it’s important to remember that a solo female traveler’s safety is entirely individual and subjective, many women consider statistics like low crime rates and safety ratings when choosing a solo destination.
You may be familiar with the usual top candidates for women’s travel safety, such as Norway, Japan, or Canada. But the world still has some good surprises in store.
Here are six lesser-known safe destinations for solo female travelers that are sure to surprise you.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Uruguay is the safest country in all of Latin America and one of the fifty safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. The slow pace of life, the welcoming social scene and the relative political stability make Uruguay one of the best security options.
Punta del Este is sometimes known as the St. Tropez of Uruguay. This elite beach community is known for its beautiful beaches and clean, flower-lined streets, as well as its tranquility and safety.
While there is nothing particularly unsafe about the capital city of Montevideo, Punta del Este is widely considered the safest and most peaceful destination in Uruguay.
This coastal city attracts many luxury tourists and celebrities from all over the American continent. Its luxurious resorts, elegant nightclubs and award-winning restaurants will not be the cheapest option in Uruguay.
Solo travelers can join boat trips to swim with sea lions at Isla de Lobos, enjoy the daily sunset ceremony at Casapueblo, catch some waves at Playa Brava or soak up the sun at trendy Bikini Beach.
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Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East and one of the 25 safest countries in the world. While the dress code is conservative, sexual harassment and street crime are incredibly low.
Neighboring Dubai is often the first thing that comes to mind for a safe and luxurious Gulf getaway. But don’t underestimate Doha. The capital of Qatar is so safe that you would be hard pressed to find a taxi scam or pickpocket anywhere.
Unlike most big cities, Doha is just as safe to explore at night as it is during the day. It’s also a good thing, because the city lights up into a work of architectural art when the sun goes down. The afternoon is a great time to take a stroll along the Corniche, catch a fountain show at Place Vendôme, or hang out at Barahat Msheireb.
Getting around the city is safe and easy at any time of the day, both by public transport and with Uber.
There is plenty to do in Doha for every type of solo female traveler:
- Hop on a boat to Banana Island
- Climb the dunes of the Inland Sea
- Marvel at the Education City Mosque
- Stroll through the colorful Qanat Quartier
- Shop at Souq Waqif, or the quieter alternative Souq Al Wakrah
- Kayak around Purple Island
- Get your culture on at the Museum of Islamic Art
- Visit the Golden Masjid at Katara Cultural Village
- Shop at some of the world’s most dazzling malls, like Al Hazm
Doha is also one of the most Instagrammable cities in the world. Take your travel photos at Iconic 2022 building, Ceremonial Court, Mina District or even Al Sadd metro station. For those willing to stray from the path, the ‘Shadows Traveling On The Sea of the Day’ mirror art installation in the desert of nearby Al Zubarah is a true hidden gem.
Some Safety Items to Keep in Mind: Homosexuality and some forms of reproductive health care are illegal here and can carry a prison sentence of up to 5 years. Laws in Qatar apply just as strictly to tourists as they do to locals.
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Frisco, Texas, United States
Did you know that 8 of the 10 safest cities in the US are in Texas? And Frisco is number 1.
Rates of violence, street crime, and harassment are extremely low, so women venturing out alone can feel comfortable day or night.
In Frisco, safe doesn’t mean boring. This destination is full of surprises, from the trendy restaurants and shops at Legacy West to hidden swimming holes at Limestone Quarry Park.
No description of Frisco would be complete without mentioning « La Estrella ». This mega-complex is the home of the Dallas Cowboys, but it has become so much more than that.
Enjoy the lively social scene at the resort’s nearly 30 world-class restaurants, bars and patios before cooling off in the Omni Hotel’s rooftop pool, all without leaving The Star. Oh, and don’t forget to throw on a pair of iconic Lucchese cowboy boots in the 6,200-square-foot mall before you go!
Virtually every city in Texas is automobile dependent, so travelers should reserve a rental car in advance for this trip. However, with that rental car, your trip to Frisco can take you to so many other destinations in 30 to 45 minutes.
Solo women travelers can watch the rodeo in Fort Worth, explore the historic and hipster Old Town Square in Denton, or enjoy Dallas skyscrapers and trendy food at the food truck in Klyde Warren Park, all with Peace of mind about your safety.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is the third safest country in Asia, the safest and cheapest Asian destination, and one of the twenty safest countries in the world.
Violent crime against tourists is almost unheard of. While locals may look twice at foreigners of all genders, solo female travelers are unlikely to receive unwanted attention or street harassment here.
Many travelers may want to head straight for Langkawi’s jungle-fringed beaches, but it would be a serious mistake to skip the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
With recently announced digital nomad visas, hundreds of new hotels, and top security ratings, it’s no wonder Kuala Lumpur is all the rage in 2023.
Here are some great activities for solo travelers in Kuala Lumpur:
- Climb the colorful steps of the Batu Caves
- Climb above the clouds at the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest in the world
- Indulge your inner foodie at Michelin-starred Lot 10 Hutong, Jalan Alor or Dewakan
- Make new friends in the lively nightlife of Changkat Bukit Bintang
- Enjoy a traditional PUSAKA dance show
Rwanda is one of the world’s biggest recovery stories when it comes to social peace and women’s security.
The capital city of Kigali is the safest in Africa, with the lowest crime rates of all time on the continent.
In 2022, Rwanda was also ranked as the 6th safest country in the world for solo travelers. This year, the BBC featured Rwanda as the second safest destination specifically for solo female travelers. It is also the sixth country with the greatest gender equality in the world.
For women traveling alone, it is not recommended to walk alone at night, as is the case in most cities around the world.
Lesser risks in Kigali are petty theft (usually crimes of opportunity) and reckless motorcyclists.
- outdoor shopping Kimironko Market
- Move around the city with the first woman of Rwanda tour guide driver
- visit a traditional milk bar
- Cycle around Kigali on a bicycle tour with the company of women Judith Safaris
- Savor rwandan coffee at Question Coffee, on the rooftop of Inzora, or J. Lynn’s, which doubles as a cafe and entrepreneurship center for women
- Take a day trip to see the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park or sunbathe on the beach of Lake Kivu
Ojochal, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the safest country in Central America and one of the 40 safest countries in the world (for reference, the US ranks below 120).
That being said, security in Costa Rica can vary greatly between regions. Some hotspots to avoid are Quepos, Limon City, Santa Rosa de Pocosol and most of San José.
One of the safest places to be in Costa Rica is the town of Ojochal and its neighboring beaches, Playas Tortugas and Ventanas.
A true hidden gem in Puntarenas, Ojochal is not a major tourist destination, but it is home to outstanding natural beauty and a long-term welcoming international community.
The pristine stretch of beach at Playa Tortuga is a unique find in Costa Rica: a pristine sandy beach better for swimming than surfing. Solo female travelers can have peace of mind soaking up the sun here.
The town of Ojochal preserves its traditional culture but welcomes newcomers. It’s not bad on the budget, either. Large multi-bedroom villas with jungle-view pools can be as low as $175 a night.
Take a short drive to the Nauyaca Waterfalls, navigate the mangrove swamps of the Térraba River, or go scuba diving with sea turtles. Any pure Life activities of your choice, you can have peace of mind knowing you are in the safest off-road paradise in the region.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com