Elizabeth Gilbert, the extremely popular author of the memoir Eat, Pray, Love once quoted that "To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice". Travelling for many is an escape from the routine mediocrities in life that help them come to terms with the uncertainties of existential ennui.
In spite of the upsurge of travelling, solo female travellers, rebelling against the hoary age-old conservative shibboleth of the dangers of a woman travelling alone and the horrors they might face, are a rare sight. However, with the emancipation and empowerment of women lending weight and wit to the argument of a lady being able to move alone, has increased the numbers of solo female travellers quite considerably.
Numerous female-only traveller groups like Wander Woman and the more Facebook oriented travel communities like Travelettes of Bangladesh, Lady Travellers Bangladesh and so on have come into existence in the recent years. They provide assistance to women who want to travel alone, but also organise monthly or annual local and overseas tours. However, the very creation of these women-only travel groups, provoke the same questions of the safety of a woman travelling alone. Having said that, women could look into a few factors when planning a solo trip.
A little caution could go a long way. It is deemed safer for women to travel in daylight. It is preferable to sit in the front end of a bus and beside a female seat-mate in any public transportation. Get well-acquainted with the in-charge on board, whether it's the supervisor of a bus, the ticket collector on a train, or a tourist police in a destination. Have the contact numbers of the local authority saved and on speed dial. Travelling by air is deemed safer. In terms of accommodation, consider staying at the centre of a city in a well-known hotel. Even though written with a bitter taste in the mouth, it might also be wise to carry pepper sprays and swiss knives, in case of emergencies involving lecherous creeps. For the safety of one's belongings, one could carry anti-theft bags. Consider giving a copy of your tour itinerary to your family or close friends, so that they might be aware of your location at any given time.
Research will inform you about the best seasons to travel, the local attractions and delicacies you can't miss, to ensure a smooth progression of the tour. How deplorable would it be if you missed the taste of some Mundi in Bandarban and Loitta Fry in Cox's Bazar, or didn't get to buy a Burmese sandalwood face cream from Saint Martin's Island? Websites like TripAdvisor, Culture Trip, TripSavvy and so on are extremely helpful in planning trips with numerous first-hand traveller experiences and reviews.
Agoda.com, Hotel.com and Booking.com are extremely efficient in booking hotel rooms as well as transportation tickets, with the latter providing the option of paying without a credit card, which is a relief to many. It is also wise to book guided tours in case of treks and far-off destinations. Re-check all the bookings and rentals. For ease in navigation, carry a physical map of the location or simply rely on the GPS on smart phones.
Hygiene, comfort and food
In most local hotels and hostels, hygiene products like soaps, shampoos, tooth brush-kits, toilet tissues, pairs of indoor slippers and towels are not provided. It is always better to carry them along. Menstrual hygiene products are a must have as well. It is wise to carry comfortable clothes and extra disposable bags. Drink sealed bottled waters only and eat responsibly. A little street food might not do any harm but reconsider excessive food consumption.