Make every day your adventure!


Tanja Zimmermann

// 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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America

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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America

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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America

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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America

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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America


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.

tips for women to travel safely through South America

What about you? Do you have any travel tips for solo traveling women?

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  1. Alexandra Baackes on

    Having just spend a few months in South America myself I agree this is pretty on point. I’d also suggest when getting on a public bus, try to sit next to a family or another woman. Taking advantage of an empty row might seem like a good idea at first but you will have no control over who sits next to you.

    • Tanja on

      Hey Alexandra, that’s amazing, which coutries did you visit there?
      Thank you for that tip. It acutally happened to me once that a guy sat next to me and tried to start a conversation with me over and over again – so this is a good one for avoiding situations like that in the future.

  2. Ilona on

    Hello! I have never thought of traveling alone! I cann´t even live alone, I think it is somehow a phobia! 🙂 But anyway if there will ever be the necessity of traveling alone, now thank to your Tips, I´ll be prepared.

    • Tanja on

      Hey Ilona, I know what you mean. Actually I was quite nervous before I started my journey. I never travelled by myself before. I started to love it, but I’m sure it really depends on the individual. I’m happy that my tips may help you in the future 🙂

    • Tanja on

      Carmen, you will definitely have a great time there! I was in Mexico as well, so the tips above are really useful as well. Enjoy your trip – there are amazing countries in Central and South America.

  3. carmen.on.the.road on

    Very good tips! I travelled by my own through south america for 4 months and can just agree. Additionally, I would add: Don’t get too drunken. It sounds obvious, but I just met so many (especially young) travellers who were very careless in this respect.

    • Tanja on

      Hey Carmen,
      good point, actually I never drank during my South American travels. But you are right, there are some travellers who should better think twice while drinking their second bottle of beer.

  4. Biamorim on

    I am from Brazil and what is write is exatly what I would suyggest to some foreign friend when come here and not only here but anywhere. I have been in UK, Germany, Holland, Frarnce, USA and Austria and never changed my behaviour about security when alone. Brazil is amazing countrie as well Argentina an Chile where I have been before. But like anywhere in the world, even if is a safe countrie, never is too much to be aware and avoid problems like dont go out at night alone if you are a woman. People with bad mentality have anywhere and is just waiting some opportunity for those more confident.

    • Tanja on

      Hey Biamorim,

      thank you so much for your positive feedback!
      That’s my opinion too. There is no reason why women shouldn’t travel the world by their own. If you know the most important rules how to travel, you shouldn’t have any problems. I travelled through Peru, Chile and Bolivia and I just loved it. I never felt unsafe, but I avoid the darkness and tried to travel with others.

      How did you like Europe for travelling?

      All the best,

  5. idiadega on

    While this is an interesting article with helpful tips, I cannot help but feel that the writer is assuming the female traveler is white. If you want to write an article for tips for women travelers please consider all women.

  6. Grant on

    I think most of these tips are relevant to men too, and not just travelling alone. We – another guy and I – were subject to a mustard attack within minutes of arriving in Buenos Aires at 9am on a Saturday morning. That said I’d still try to arrive in daytime – my friend was carjacked just outside Lima airport a couple of years ago at night. I’ve been to S America twice and stayed in 5 of its countries, aside from Chile I’d say it’s probably the most unsafe I’ve felt anywhere in the world.

  7. katie featherstone on

    I agree entirely, especially your point on wearing suitable clothing. Many women think it is thier right to wear whatever they like, and although this is true it can make life much more difficult. Only when you know a place well is it easy to know if it’s sensible to be showing a bit more skin etc. Thanks for the interesting article.