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Solo Women Travelers Should Steer Clear of These 15 Dangerous Countries

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature, Lifestyle

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Traveling solo allows you to do what you want where you want, without the pressure of pleasing others. It also allows you to connect with yourself deeper, discover hidden passions, and learn about your strengths and adaptability. However, traveling alone can be difficult for women in some countries due to various customs and attitudes towards gender equality. We take a look at the 15 most dangerous countries for women to travel solo:

South Africa 

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South Africa boasts a vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and a world-renowned culinary scene. However, solo female travelers should take care, as South Africa’s crime rate is a significant concern—it is the fifth highest in the world. The country also has a low score on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to measure gender disparity in achievement across different countries. 


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Brazil is a stunning country with a rich culture, but it can also be a challenging destination for solo female travelers due to several safety concerns. While the beauty of Brazil cannot be denied, there are concerns, particularly in major cities like Rio de Janeiro, around the high crime rates, including petty theft, muggings, and violent crime. Unfortunately, street harassment can also be an issue for women in Brazil. 


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Chile boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in South America, from the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest non-polar desert, to the lush Torres del Paine National Park, known for its dramatic glaciers and mountains. But, if you plan to explore remote areas of Patagonia or the Atacama Desert, consider safety precautions like informing someone of your itinerary and having a reliable communication device in emergencies, particularly as a solo female traveler. One of the reasons is that Chile has a high crime rate, with approximately 6.7 killings per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022.


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From the majestic Andes mountains to the lush Amazon rainforest and the iconic coastline, Peru offers stunning natural beauty for every taste. Unfortunately, solo female travelers have encountered street harassment, particularly in larger cities like Lima. Women also need to take care of pickpockets and fraudsters and navigate unlit streets at night. Peru has one of the second highest crime rates in the world, which is why female travelers will be put off traveling alone. 


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Argentina offers a rewarding experience for solo female travelers, but much research must be done in advance. South American countries are generally safe for female travelers. Still, care should be taken in busy city centers as bag snatching and pickpocketing are an issue, with vulnerable women often targeted. Robbery and theft are the highest crimes in the country, with a spike in nighttime crime being something for travelers to consider. 


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Safety studies indicate fewer women feel comfortable walking alone at night compared to other countries. If you travel to Mexico, you must take extra safety precautions, especially after dark. There is a significant gender equality gap in Mexico, and women traveling alone may face some hostility. 


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Russia is generally considered a safe tourist country, with a lower crime rate than other European destinations. Women may be scared to travel when they read that Russia has the second-highest rate of intentional homicide against women, but much of this crime is women who are known to men; there is, however, a higher rate of street harassment that can be an issue for women in Russia, particularly in less touristy areas. 


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The U.S. government has a level 4 warning in place advising people not to travel to Iran due to civil unrest and a high risk of kidnapping and terrorism. The country has the lowest ranking when it comes to gender equality, with women facing extreme restrictions when traveling around Iran. If you plan a trip to Iran, you should take extreme care and be sure not to travel alone. 


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Egypt is another country that faces extreme gender disparity, with women suffering inequality, particularly when it comes to marriage and divorce. With many people having a lesser view of women, there are risks to solo female travelers. Egypt ranked tenth worst for street safety, meaning extra care should be taken at night if traveling alone. 


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Morocco scores low on the gender equality and personal safety rankings by organizations that look into travelers’ safety. One area of concern is street harassment, which many female travelers have experienced when walking around cities. As women are also reasonably underrepresented when it comes to being victims of crime, they are not always regarded favorably. 


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Unwanted attention and harassment can be a reality for women in India, especially in crowded areas. Also, while uncommon, violent crimes against women do occur, so complete care should be taken when traveling to India alone. India is a diverse country, but dressing modestly, especially in conservative areas, can help you blend in and avoid unwanted attention.


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As with many tourist destinations, pickpocketing and bag snatching, amongst other petty theft, can occur in crowded areas, especially in major cities like Bangkok. While not as severe as in some countries, occasional catcalling or unsolicited comments can happen. Female travelers must also be cautious of accepting drinks from strangers, especially in bars, as drink spiking can be problematic in some parts of the country. 


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Compared to the very safe Singapore, neighboring Malaysia has some concerning stats around partner violence and gender disparity. Women face some harassment on the streets, with catcalling and propositions being an issue with some travelers. However, if you read about safe areas to visit and how to adhere to the country’s customs, you can enjoy Malaysia’s rich culture. 

Saudi Arabia

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The country ranks worst in the index for legal discrimination against women. Additionally, it holds the second-worst position for the global gender gap, indicating significant disparities in opportunities and rights. Street safety is also a concern, with reports noting lower scores in this category. With these factors impacting women who live in Saudi Arabia, women traveling to the area are also likely to encounter difficulties when getting around. 


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Turkey ranks fourth worst for intimate partner violence, with 89.2% of women reported to have experienced violence from their spouses. Additionally, Turkey sits at the fifth-worst ranking for the global gender gap and eighth-worst for street safety. These stats emphasize the attitude of some males toward women, so traveling alone may feel uncomfortable. Like many other countries, you should learn about local customs, safe neighborhoods in your destination city, and potential risks.