A study of the world’s most dangerous countries for women traveling alone reveals the good, the bad and the ugly
There’s hearsay. There are personal anecdotes from other travelers. There are specific worries. Then, there are the hard facts. We’ve gathered data from a variety of trusted international sources to create a “Women’s Danger Index” that will help you find the worst (and safest) countries for solo female travel.
At the end of the article we also have 42 tips on how women can stay safe while traveling alone.
Ranking the top 50 countries with the most international tourists by a grand total of eight different factors, our “Women’s Danger Index” was compiled using the following data sources:
Gallup World Poll (2018): Percentage of women who feel safe walking alone at night = 2 points
Equal Measures 2030 (2018): Female victims of intentional homicide index = 2 points
UN Women (2016): Lifetime Non-Partner Sexual Violence = 1 point
Georgetown Institute (2017/2018): Lifetime Intimate Partner Violence = 1 point
Georgetown Institute (2017/2018): Legal Discrimination = 1 point
World Economic Forum (2017): Global Gender Gap = 1 point
UN Development Program (2017): Gender Inequity = 1 point
OECD (2018): Attitudes Toward Violence Against Women Survey = 1 point
To measure safety abroad, one cannot look at only data on street safety, rape or violence. It also depends on the general attitude of the culture, minutiae of the legal system, and systematic oppression of local women. These issues can affect everything, from easily getting a taxi alone to having your voice be heard in a conversation to even needing a male escort for your personal safety. A lot on our list, such as attitudes toward partner violence, may not affect solo female travelers directly, but these factors are a good indication of overall attitudes within the culture.
Sadly, not one country received an “A” which indicates we have a long way to go before there is true equality between men and women on Earth. Thankfully, there are many signs that things are improving and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Please note: We gave both the “percentage of women who feel safe walking alone at night” and the “female victims of intentional homicide index” a double weighting score because they are very good indicators of safety for foreign female travelers and are more likely to be highly accurate since it isn’t “shameful” to admit. Whereas, non-partner and intimate partner sexual violence are obviously strong indicators for rape but the seriously widespread underreporting (to differing degrees per country) makes it hard to justify double weight because it could skew the results more than is fair.