5+ Risks Traveling Alone as a Muslim Woman

& How to protect yourself to the best of your ability (based on real-life experiences)!

11 Min Read

There are, inevitably risks of traveling alone as a Muslim woman.

From natural disasters to manmade behaviors, and rules of the local customs, here are some risks when traveling solo as a Muslim woman (PSSSST…. we believe it applies to men too!)

So read on, and share with us below in our forum comments if you have experienced one that has made you become a savvier, more mature traveler.

Natural Disasters & Technical/Physical Glitch

First on the list when it comes to risks traveling alone as a Muslim woman.. is experiencing natural disasters. It can be, an earthquake in the middle of the city!

Seoul, recently before a huge downpour
Seoul, recently before a huge downpour (details below)

Let us also say that “the best tourist destinations”, “the safest cities” and “the top airlines” of the world are not immune to such scenarios. Some recent examples were:

Our tip? There’s no way of knowing whether our trip is going to be smooth sailing. But if you know that the weather conditions are severe, best not to push through with your plans like how some people were stuck in a taxi drowning in the flood for eight hours in Dubai, pushing to catch their flight when clearly, DXB had said earlier that they were halting airspace operations. And if there’s a severe sandstorm, winter storm, or rainstorm, don’t insist on going out because you don’t know what you’re going to get yourself into.

Turn on your Phone Alerts so you know what’s going to happen when traveling!

Cancelled Plans

Ah – who likes canceled plans? But this can happen because of the reasons above, or simply, a fallout in itinerary planning.

In cases where some parts of your itinerary are at risk when traveling alone, your canceled plan is leading to and affecting the next agenda on the schedule.

Who likes receiving this notification? -_-

This presents a major risk. For example, If your next flight is from Frankfurt, Germany and you’re traveling from France via railway a day before, but there’s a demonstration taking place in the country…

This will certainly disrupt the whole trail schedule… there’s a high chance that maybe you won’t be able to make it to Frankfurt.

Our tip? Always book flights that give flexibility to reschedule. There’s too much risk if you book the cheaper option that doesn’t present this option. Worst case scenario is to be stranded in a place you don’t want to be!

Stranded in an airport during the pandemic (when there were no hotels at all in the airport!)

Short of Cash When You Urgently Need Them!

As the world increasingly turns to ‘card’, ‘bitcoin’, and ‘QR wallets’, it is easy to dismiss the need to carry cash and coins.

If losing just a bit of cash that might not be a big deal to many. However, there are scenarios where not having enough cash can present trouble.

Especially if you are traveling alone, on long distance, by hailing a taxi. Or needing large amount of cash for any travel activity like checking into an old-school hotel that needs cash upfront, instead of card.

When ATMs are out of order like this “Rusak in Indonesian”, that’s a big headache especially if your travel activity urgently needs cash!

There are always risks when you book low-rated hotels because security, is just not as how 4 or 5-star hotels are known for. & Always, have cash ready if you’re traveling out of the cities!

Crucial MST Tip!

Loss of Valuable Belongings

One of the risks of traveling alone as a Muslim woman.. is the loss of valuable belongings.

Always lock your belongings! Can you see our pink lock there at the handle of this bag?

This can happen because of reckless behavior (which we’ll talk about more below), or just, full trust in the wrong people.

MST Tip: Have locks ready, and figure out secret places for your real valuables (passport, phones, cash, etc). Having a dummy wallet helps. Another tip that helps? Don’t bring unnecessary valuables – keep them at home, where they’re safe!

Reckless & Ignorant Behavior = When in Rome, Do as The Romans Do

If you come from a relatively safe country like Singapore, Japan, or The United Arab Emirates and come out of it for the first time you expect the country you’re traveling alone to would have the same scenario as how it is back home, you might get a shock the moment you step out of the country.

Some examples are:

  • Back home it’s alright to put your belongings (even the most expensive ones) and find it untouched where it exactly was.. but outside, not so.
  • Not watching over your luggage for a minute and then getting stopped at airport X-ray machines because you’re suddenly carrying an ‘illegal substance’.

This goes both ways too. Ignorance is a pricy behavior, especially if it interferes with the local customs of the destination you’re visiting. Eg:

  • Taking photos of administration places in countries like Egypt where it is illegal to do so… can get you jailed!

Embrace the realistic mindset that the world out there is tough. And we believe that solo travel enhances your ability to navigate tough situations! The only way to navigate through these is to experience them, firsthand. Through experience, you’ll be better equipped for the next step!

MST Advice

Experiencing Scams/Difficulties via Language Barriers, or Double Standards Because Of Our Looks, etc

Now, scams are usually reported by all kinds of travelers who visit “touristy spots”.

And if you do not speak the local language, it can be easier for you to be scammed. Just accepting that you might have to pay extra can put your mind at ease.

Sometimes, even in the most difficult of language communication, there are KIND SOULs out there who would help you fetch a taxi, in the most remote places where taxis do not come!

Double standards, may happen if you are visiting a destination / encounter another human being that just bears ill feelings towards Muslims or your skin color.

There is no exact way how to navigate such scenarios, and we wish no one would have to experience them in the first place!

Your gut can always tell if you’re being taken advantage of, and you might not know yet how to prepare yourself if that happens, because this is something one learns, only via experience. Whatever your gut tells you to do, just do it and tawakkul!

MST Advice

Health-related issues

After experiencing a shortage of cash or perhaps loss of valuable belongings, health-related issues are not what anyone would want to experience.

Be ready with your meds when you travel or familiarize yourself with local meds 👇because the possibility of getting sick, is there.

Entrostop Tablets

This is Halal, Traditional Diarrhea Remedy you can easily get in Indonesia OTC, or convenience stores. Otherwise, they’re available online too!

Grab Online Now!$

When traveling, to an unfamiliar environment, it can trigger your immune system in ways that your body reacts via:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea emergencies because of food poisoning or drinking contaminated water
  • Injuries because of risky activities
  • Allergy flare-ups because of touching a certain plant, etc
  • Virus infection that can cause deadly consequences

MST Tip: Have your insurance on standby, always!

Empower Yourself First

We are not going to paint solo traveling as all “rainbows and sunshine”. There are added risks when it comes to traveling alone as a Muslim woman, EVEN IF you have planned to the best of your ability.

However, do not take all these into a grim outlook and think that it is impossible for you to go solo.

These are usually unexpected scenarios.

What are the Risks of Traveling Alone as a Muslim Woman?
Getting scammed in markets / touristy places is common. You might be charged higher than usual. So empower yourself on your bargaining skills first!

Some ways that you can empower yourself:

According to past suggestions from Muslimah Solo Travelers are:

  • Know your non-negotiables – Read more on Journeys with Azlin.
  • Level up yourself first & love yourself first. Once you know yourself, it’s not that easy for other people to trick you – Read more on Journeys with Nurul.
  • Get an onward ticket, always! – Read more on Journeys with Syifa
  • When in a difficult situation, dhikr and making a dua would always help. Like how Fathin was in Hong Kong, read more on her Journeys here.
  • ALWAYS get travel insurance!

Share your past experiences below in the forum thread and how did you overcome them with us to empower fellow #MuslimahSoloTravelers

2 Comments

5+ Risks Traveling Alone as a Muslim Woman

MST Editors Keymaster
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    There are, inevitably risks of traveling alone as a Muslim woman. From natural disasters to manmade behaviors, and rules of the local customs, risks would always be there. The question mostly comes, how do you overcome it when it happens?

    [See our full tips here: 5+ Risks Traveling Alone as a Muslim Woman]

    Also we want to hear your experiences by replying below!

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Farihah.
    • This topic was modified 1 day, 22 hours ago by Albert.
    • This topic was modified 13 hours, 56 minutes ago by MST Editors.
    • This topic was modified 13 hours, 38 minutes ago by MST Editors.
    • This topic was modified 13 hours, 37 minutes ago by MST Editors.
    • Farihah Keymaster
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        In Indonesia, I had to withdraw 1.5 million IDR from the ATM because according to the 3-star hotel, they needed cash even though I had already booked via card through booking.com. They justified it under “it’s our procedure”, and Bandung, was already drizzling and sunset was underway at that point in time. Back from that trip, you better guess that OTA did not refund me. Hence why, I have been a Hotels.com fan ever since.

      • MST Editors Keymaster
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          Experiencing a global tech outage like how today was, in many global airports like Changi and Incheon, especially when you forgot to take a screenshot of your tickets is one of the risks!

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