Life Hacks for Female Travellers
These life hacks will help you along your travels!
Safety products marketed to female travellers
When you embark on your journey, particularly if you’re travelling solo, you may feel more easily intimidated and weary as you get used to this way of life. And who can blame you? You’re throwing yourself out into an unknown place where you are more reliant on strangers than you may have ever been before. Anything you can do to make yourself, and your belongings, feel more secure will help as you ease into traveller life. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay are packed with a variety of practical safety options.
Hidden Bra Stash
When I started my solo trip in December 2016, my first concern was the safety of myself and my possessions - particularly my cash and passport. I found this hidden bra stash pouch to be invaluable for storing emergency cash, ID cards and a photocopy of my passport (an actual passport will not fit in this particular pouch). While it’s not exactly sexy, it is discreet and will give you the peace of mind that you’ll never be without your emergency essentials.
These pouches tend to range from $5-$15 depending on whether you are looking for a budget option or a brand name. Personally, I spent a couple of bucks on a budget, no-name pouch on Ebay and it hasn't failed me yet.
Before embarking on my solo trip in 2016, I did a ton of research on what I was going to pack. My priority was to find clothing and equipment that would be versatile and great quality. As I did more research on this, I was soon to discover the myriad of clothing options that offer concealed safety systems.
There are two market leading products that you can buy, the Anti-Theft Panties or the boxer-style shorts. With pretty mixed reviews, the shorts tend to come out on top because they are larger and therefore more roomy for storing your passport and small items.
Regardless of whether you're female, male, solo, a couple or travelling in a group, I'd recommend getting yourself some privacy screens. When you're living on the road, you will still have to respond to emails, check your online banking and log into password sensitive websites. A privacy screen doesn't have to cost too much money but it will help put your mind at ease if you feel as if the person next to you is more than a little curious about what you're doing on your smartphone or laptop.
Webcam covers are another safe investment to help you protect your privacy. Should your laptop, iPad or smartphone ever be at risk of having it's webcam hacked, you can ensure that nobody is looking at you through it by buying a webcam cover. They are inexpensive, widely available on online marketplaces (e.g. Amazon and eBay) and come in a variety of sleek designs and colours.
Smartphone camera lens
The dizzying array of smartphones available on the market offer varying qualities of built-in cameras, some even with lenses made my professional camera brands. However, for the most part, smartphone photography is limited when it comes to taking shots from great distances or when a wider frame is needed.
Here's the good news, you don't have to be a die-hard photography enthusiast to get some beautiful shots on the road. You now have a variety of lenses that can attach to your smartphone to instantly expand the possibilities of your smartphone photography. There are a number of solid lens choices available on the market, but I'd recommend this kit available on Amazon, which includes a wide-angle lens (enabling the camera to take in more of the peripheral vision, like a fisheye) and one 18x optical zoom lens that allows your camera to turn distant objects into a magnified form.
Pro Tip: When you attach the 18x optical zoom lens to a smartphone, any movement (no matter how minor) will cause blur in your photograph (see zoom photo above). I would recommend investing in a basic smartphone tripod to help prevent ruining your shot with shaky hands. Tripods are also a solid choice for smartphone videos and time-lapses (pun intended).
Join female travel/Expat groups on Facebook
You may be surprised at how many expat and travel groups there are on Facebook, filled with people just like us looking for recommendations on where to visit, eat, stay and for general advice while travelling/living in a specific country. As contributing members of a number of expat groups, we have found them to be informative, ready-made communities.
There are also some wonderful women-only groups where women from all over the world share their experiences of living and travelling around the world. And because it's Facebook, the groups invite you to contribute as much or as little as you want. Why not consider sharing your story? Expat Women - A world of opportunities is one of my favourite groups.
'Be courageous, you never know who you are inspiring'
Pro Tip: Some groups will stipulate that you must answer some questions before they accept your request to join (we've never been asked for any personal information, if you are asked for this, you should probably avoid the group). Don't let this put you off, it's a good sign. This is just an additional layer to put off any users looking to share endless sales posts about their new miracle diet pill.
Apps designed to make travel easier
So we’re not breaking new ground with this one, unless you've been living in a cave for the last 15 years, we're pretty sure most of you have heard of Google. But for those Gmail account holders who may not be in-the-know, we have great recommendations for some of the nifty additional features you could be using.
This app has features that enable you to put digital markers on locations on the map. Covering your living room walls with giant maps and coloured dot stickers in places you've visited/would like visit are a thing of the past. So now, you don't need to keep notebooks with endless lists of travel recommendations, you can go into your google maps app and add them instantly.
In order to access this feature, you'll need to have a Gmail account (it's free). Once you have it, you can search for anything in google maps and then save it. You can even make different categories/colours of the places you'd like to mark. You can also share your lists with other google users (so I can see the Yank's 'Want to Go' markers and he can see mine).
Pro Tip: Download offline areas that you're travelling in to your phone for use when you don't have access to the internet. With offline access you can still get from A to B by seeing your position in the map even if you don't have all the map details or turn by turn navigation.
We all have tons of usernames, passwords, account numbers, reference numbers, customer service numbers and even paperwork that we need to have access to while we travel. LastPass is a fully integrated password manager that allows you to store all of login details, photos of important documents and even generate highly secure passwords if you ever need them.
All you have to do is download the app and register an account (it's free), once you have a 'Master Password' you're all set to begin adding all of the login details for the websites you're registered to.
Travelling on a budget, or just trying to keep an eye on your spending? After testing a number of apps, I have found that this app is the most versatile and reliable when it comes to budget tracking.
I have used this app mostly to input data from receipts, this data is then saved in the app and it calculates your total spend against previously saved monthly budgets. This app also scans receipts, allows you to assign receipts to individuals and you can have more than one user for one account. While it is one of the few apps we pay for it's less than $1 a month and has been critical to helping me manage my budget during my travels!
You might run a quick Google search about safety while travelling the world as a woman and read all kinds of cautions and warnings about the dangers of travelling abroad. But I can tell you that I am always astonished at the humility and generosity of people that I have encountered during my own travels. And if you look for it, you'll find yourself being able to become a member of communities of women all over the world who have/are doing the same things as you, or facing similar challenges.
The attitude towards sisterhood is changing, as women we are becoming stronger, more independent and less restricted by social conventions. So ladies, there's a whole world out there - let’s go explore it together.