By Elena Nikolova
Travelling to Europe for many Muslim women, who wear hijab, might feel intimidating. But I want to assure you that everything is just fine. Europe is a Muslim-friendly place. I just came back from a European trip and things went very smoothly. Another friend just returned from all-girls-trip to Europe without any problems.
Only advice I have, be prepared and know what to expect when traveling throughout the Europe. Here are some of my favorite tips to keep your safe on your solo trip.
One of the most important things for me and the one that I am happy to pay good money is my accommodation. You can use hotel loyalty programs to bring the cost down. But a reputable hotel in a good location can provide the safety you need when travelling.
You are definitely not alone. You will see so many Muslim women through your travelers either traveling or living in Europe.
It is more unlikely to get robbed or have problems with your hotel if you choose an international brand. Plus most of the times good hotels have properties in the city center, making traveling super convenient. Try to book in advance, if you van. Always read the TripAdvisor reviews and look online for the cheapest deal.
2. Share your itinerary
As a solo Muslim woman traveling you definitely want to share your itinerary with a friend or a family member, just so they can keep track of you. Just in case something happens there is one person always knowing your location.
I love using Uber in Europe. You can easily share your ETA with someone else. In itself, sharing my ETA definitely makes me feel more safe. Plus it’s a great way to avoid being scammed, see below.
3. Avoid the scams
Sadly Europe does have a lot of scamming and pickpocketing so when traveling solo be extra careful. Don’t stop to talk to some random salesman offering your bracelets in Rome or Milan. Preferably if you need to withdraw money out of your bank account do so within a bank branch especially rather than outside. You want to avoid drawing attention to yourself.
4. Register with your embassy
I know this is extreme but many consulates and embassies have programs where you can register with them. In essence you let your government know you are in town and if something happens you are on their radar. This will make it much easier in case of an emergency.
#Bonus tips 1. Visit the local mosque
As a Muslim woman traveling it is a great way to make friends with local sisters. Visit the local mosque. Many European cities have female prayer facilities so this is not a problem. Search online for the central mosque in the city and pay them a visit. You might be invited to try some local food too or have a tour guide for the day.
#Bonus tip 2. Free walking tour
If you want to keep your independency but still want to explore some of what the city has to offer, join a Free walking tour. It is a great way to meet other single travelers, to have a local tour guide and to see the city. It’s a win-win and definitely a lot of fun. There are even themed free walking tours so look online for some in your preferred destination.
You are definitely not alone. You will see so many Muslim women through your travelers either traveling or living in Europe. There is not even one city where I have not seen a Muslim and I have been to more cities than I can remember.
Muslims are everywhere and it’s great because number one there is always halal food available and number two travelling is one of the best ways to break misconceptions about Islam and see what this beautiful world has to offer. So pack your bags and safe travels.
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