Solo travellers face many challenges but safety is recorded as the paramount concern, especially for female solo adventurers who are badass and absolutely fearless. Although we celebrate wanderlust and the freedom to roam, sometimes you need more than luck to see you home safe, no matter if you are in your home state or a foreign country.
Our friend Carla Keiffer is renown for her explorations of Sri Lanka, and our own social media guru, Lucie Sellier has explored many islands and remote places – all by herself — you just have to check her Instagram to see where she’s jaunting to these days.
As a part of the female travel ecosystem, we at JOZU Magazine and JOZU for WOMEN heard a common theme reverberating – and that was the need for something that would help female travellers feel safer when navigating new areas. We’ve been actively listening to our community at events like SXSW, Forbes Women, Girls in Tech, Tech Beach and Web Summit where we met thousands of Jauntistas who were all away from their home turf. We heard a few scary stories of Airbnb’s in dodgy neighbourhoods in New Orleans at Collision and a few incidents of unwanted attention after a late night walk home in Austin during SXSW.
Data (and God bless data…) tells us that more than 87% of us who roam fear walking after dark in foreign cities and we decided to build and do something about it. In December in a late night brainstorming session after we participated in Women’s Startup Lab Accelerator in Silicon Valley we had an epiphany.
We looked at what our data said, and how we could construct a safe travel tool that solo travellers and locals who are uber helpful could use together. Over the past 30 years and with more than 52 countries visited, there is nothing I appreciate more than when a local gives me the low down. Whether it is where to get a manicure or what bar has sleazebags and to avoid, it has also been useful knowledge. I wish I wrote down every tip anyone ever offered — I would have the insiders guide to…the list is too long!
The JOZU/WanderSafe team are a hybrid of talented men and women, and any member of my crew would help anyone with a travel tip or hack if they were asked. Zach could tell you about Kingston, Jamaica and the best-hidden beaches on the island. Eric could tell you what the best rib joints are in San Diego and also what is sketchy after midnight. Jesreen could tell you in depth about dive spots, Hong Kong eateries, and what narrow streets to avoid after midnight where there is drug trade taking place. In our wider circle of the crew and with all the wonderful people we’ve met over the past two years of this amazing journey to live the JOZU principle – to make travel better & safer – we realise that we all know something about somewhere.
WanderSafe is more than a mobile app we are developing that offers dynamic heat maps and safety information in real time. Its a solo traveller’s personal safety companion. JENI assists travellers with curated and personalised wayfinding tips, taking into consideration daily vetted safety information and updates we received as a member of OSAC, the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Safety arm.
We can’t wait to show and tell more and we invite you to get involved and share your travel tip with WanderSafe here. You can also get yourself on the list to be amongst the first to preview the app in Private BETA and be the envy of all the girls you chat to in those closed Facebook travel groups we all love.