Solo travel as a woman doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Whether it’s personal, business, or bleisure (combining work and leisure) travel, women who journey alone face a different set of challenges and circumstances than men in similar situations. But with the right amount of preparation and awareness, women can be just as safe and comfortable as men. These tips for solo women travelers will help make independent female travelers safe anywhere on the globe, especially for bleisure travel.

Before You Go

Even before you leave home, make copies of your passport, driver’s license and insurance cards. If these important documents get lost or stolen while you are abroad, then having copies will make replacing them so much easier. Also, send electronic copies to a friend or family member still at home, just in case.

It’s also a good idea to share your itinerary with someone so that they know where you are. Even if your travel plans are flexible, then plan to email or contact someone when you arrive or depart. This way, if something does happen, then at least one person knows where you are.

Consider travel insurance too. This tip isn’t necessarily exclusive for women, as travel insurance is a good idea anytime you go abroad. Your laptop or iPad are replaceable, and if you are attacked or robbed, you’ll be comforted by the thought that your most important things are insured.

Research the customs and ideals of the area you plan to visit. Know their attitudes toward women and if there are specific ways of dressing that might help you feel more comfortable when you travel. For example, parts of Indonesia expect women to cover their arms, not doing so could draw unwanted attention. Be aware of where you are going and what the social norms are.

When You Arrive

You may never be mistaken for a local, but that’s okay. More than striving to be something you’re not, put your energy toward looking like you know what you’re doing and where you’re going. Look as if you have confidence, even if you don’t. Smile. Keep your gaze forward instead of down. By looking confident, you also look like a harder target to rob, and thieves will look to someone else to target.

If you do need to look at a map, then do it in a store or restaurant that is slightly more private. When you distract yourself with a map you label yourself as a tourist and you make yourself less aware of your surroundings, which is never a good option.

Be prepared as soon as you arrive at your destination. Never carry all your important documents or money all in the same space. That way, if you are robbed, not all of your essentials will be taken.

In new surroundings, it is best not to drink too much. Women traveling by themselves need to maintain instincts and awareness, and staying sober is one way to do this. Drunk women are often seen as vulnerable and as easy targets, especially when they are from out of town. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your drink at all times. This is a good rule for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Women should strive to be aware and not afraid when they travel independently. Whether it’s personal, work or bleisure travel, these tips will help ensure a woman’s safety and overall comfort as she explores the world.