// This is a guest post by Tanja Zimmermann from Searching For Happiness
As a woman traveling by yourself you always think about the safety level and the conditions for women in the destination you want to travel to. If you want to visit South America, I’m pretty sure you will think about it as well.
But should you abstain from this interesting, diverse continent, just because you are traveling by yourself?
With these tips you will travel safely through South America:
1 Be informed about the safety standards of the different countries
As big as South America is, as different are the countries you may visit there. Not only concerning the sightseeing points, nature and weather conditions, also regarding the safety standards. While Chile is one of the safest destinations in South America, these standards are lower in Brazil.
2 Be informed by talking with the locals
Locals will always give you the best advice. They know their surroundings, because they grew up there. They can tell you current risks, where to go and where not to. Believe me; they are much better than each travel guide.
You can talk to the hostel stuff or the hosts where you do Couchsurfing. Furthermore you will talk to loads of people on markets, in shops, on tours, as South Americans are open-minded. There will be enough opportunities for you to ask them for advice.
3 Arrive during the day and book a safe hostel
If you visit South America by your own, try to arrive during the day. You will definitely feel safer than being in a foreign city when it’s already dark. Furthermore, book a hostel which is situated in a safe location. You can look up the different reviews on hostelbookers or hostelworld.
4 To travel by your own doesn’t mean to be alone
Don’t be scared: Only because you start your journey by your own, doesn’t mean that you will travel by your own the whole time or will be lonely. Quite the contrary, you will fight for moments to be by yourself where no one wants to get to know you better.
Mostly you will get to know new people in the hostels you are staying. There you also have the opportunity to sleep in female dorms, special bedrooms just for women. Furthermore you will meet people while you are making tours together. You will meet people all the time. Just be prepared for new friendships.
In South America there are definitely some advantages when being in a group: While guys will try to talk to you really often when you are by yourself, they won’t as soon as there is a male friend next to you.
5 Fit to your surrounding
Don’t bring your valuables with you. Even if it’s quite normal to Europeans to wear some jewelry or a watch, it is not in South America. Moreover, you should try to fit to your new surrounding by wearing appropriate clothing. Isn’t this the reason for you to travel? To get to know a new culture and experience new things? This is more an opportunity than a constraint.
6 Don’t be scared, but careful
South America is safer than you may expect. However, it doesn’t matter where you are or if you travel by yourself or in a group, be careful. Listen to your gut feeling and change the situation or location when you don’t feel comfortable.
7 Take officially licensed taxis
In South America you will find officially licensed cabs and private ones. The licensed ones are safe, so only take those. With the private ones you will take the risk of a robbery. Not every time of course, but why taking a risk anyway? Just ask the locals or at the information center about which taxi to take and which not as soon as you arrive at your destination.
8 Avoid going out alone during the night
Reason is that robberies will happen more often the darker it gets and the emptier the streets are. Doesn’t mean that there are robberies all the time as soon as the sun goes down, but – why taking a risk? Only if locals tell you that it’s okay, you can try if you feel comfortable. It always depends where you are exactly.
Within a group you definitely feel safer.
9 You charisma will influence your travels
Maybe you think it isn’t important, but it definitely is. How your travels will be depend a lot on how you are. People will be open-minded if you are. They will tell you stories if you do.
But most important, be self-confident. Draw your lines and tell people if they cross them. It’s about your wellbeing, so don’t hesitate to protect yourself by words and arguments.
South America is a beautiful continent and a great cultural and social experience when you decide to visit it. Don’t forget that anticipation and curiosity should be your primary emotions, not fear and anxiety. Most people there are amazing and positive thinking persons. They will change your life in a great way if you just let them.
Make your own picture about South America, be open-minded and self-confident, draw your lines and be yourself.