Why are we talking about this: Safety Concerns
Staying in a hostel can be a great way to save money while traveling, but it can also come with some safety concerns, particularly for women. Hostels are often shared accommodations, which means that women may be sharing a room with strangers or sleeping in a mixed-gender dorm. This can make some women feel vulnerable and unsafe, but with proper precautions and awareness, women can have a safe and enjoyable experience staying in hostels.
One of the biggest safety concerns for women in hostels is the risk of sexual harassment or assault. Unfortunately, this is a reality that women face in many areas of their lives, including when traveling. Women may be more vulnerable to this type of behavior when staying in a hostel, particularly if they're sharing a room with strangers. Unfortunately, there has been sexual harassment reported in hostels such as:
Unwanted advances: Some travelers have reported being propositioned or hit on by other guests or even hostel staff, even after indicating that they're not interested.
Uninvited physical contact: Some travelers have reported being touched or groped without their consent by other guests or staff members.
Voyeurism: Some travelers have reported incidents of other guests or staff members trying to watch them undress or shower.
Inappropriate comments or jokes: Some travelers have reported hearing sexist or derogatory comments or jokes from other guests or staff members.
Coercion or pressure: Some travelers have reported feeling pressured or coerced into sexual activity by other guests or staff members.
How to protect yourself
To reduce the risk of sexual harassment or assault, women should be aware of their surroundings and take appropriate action if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
One way to reduce the risk of sexual harassment or assault is to choose a female-only dorm room. Many hostels offer this option, providing extra safety and security level. You can also use a locker or other secure storage option to keep your valuables safe and lock the door to your room at night. Additionally, you should be mindful of your alcohol consumption, as drinking too much can make them more vulnerable to theft or other safety risks.
Another safety concern for women in hostels is the risk of theft. Hostels are often shared accommodations, which means that someone could steal your belongings if you're not careful. You should use some secure storage option to keep your valuables safe and never leave your belongings unattended. Additionally, you should be cautious of anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable and report any suspicious behavior to the hostel staff immediately.
Location can also be a safety concern for women staying in hostels. Some hostels may be located in areas that are more prone to crime or may be more difficult to navigate as a solo female travelers. You should do your research before booking a hostel and consider the location in relation to the activities you plan to do. You should also be aware of your surroundings when walking around at night and try to stay in well-lit, public areas.
It's also important for female travelers to be aware of the culture and customs of the country they're visiting. Some countries have different norms and expectations around gender roles and may have more conservative dress codes. You should research the culture and customs of the country you’re visiting and dress appropriately to avoid unwanted attention or harassment.
Hostels can be a great way for women to meet other travelers and make new friends, but it's important to be cautious of new acquaintances. Women should never feel pressured to do something they're not comfortable with and should always trust their instincts. If a fellow traveler or hostel staff member makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you should report it to the hostel staff immediately. If you don't feel comfortable reporting the harassment to the hostel staff, you can reach out to local authorities or organizations that offer support for survivors of sexual violence.
Tips for Female Travelers
Hostels can be a safe and enjoyable accommodation option for women, but it's important to take precautions and be aware of their surroundings. Here are some tips for staying safe in a hostel as a female traveler:
Choose a reputable hostel
Do your research before booking a hostel. Look for reviews from other travelers, and choose a hostel that has a good reputation for safety and security.
Use a locker
Most hostels offer lockers where you can store your valuables. Use a locker to keep your passport, money, and other important items safe.
Keep your belongings close
When you're out and about, keep your belongings close to you at all times. Don't leave your bag unattended, and be aware of your surroundings.
Trust your instincts
If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a hostel, trust your instincts and leave. Don't hesitate to speak to the staff or other travelers if you have any concerns.
Be mindful of your alcohol consumption
Drinking too much can make you more vulnerable to theft or other safety risks. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption and make sure to keep your wits about you.
GlobeSisters, a platform for female travelers and hosts to connect around the world and explore homestays, helps reduce the danger of sexual harassment. GlobeSisters specifically target and include female travelers to ensure that no female guest will get hurt by a male host. If you’re looking for accommodations and are looking at low-cost, emerging experiences such as homestays, check out GlobeSisters! To learn more about homestays, here’s an article on the pros and cons of couch surfing as well as the difference between hostels and homestays.
In conclusion, women's safety in hostels is a valid concern, but with proper precautions and awareness, women can have a safe and enjoyable experience staying in hostels. It's important for women to be aware of potential safety risks, including sexual harassment, theft, and location, and take appropriate action to reduce the risk of these safety concerns. By being cautious and trusting their instincts, women can have a safe and memorable experience staying.