A trip to Tunisia can be an amazing adventure because the country has so much going for it. Its history, which dates back millennia and the marks of which you can see in well-preserved ruins and still-surviving temples.
The culture, which is vibrant and exotic and so full of passion that one cannot do other than admire it. Great cuisine and people who are friendly and welcoming seal the deal. However, a trip to Tunisia as a solo female traveller can also be a challenge. You’ll need to plan it carefully and prepare in order to stay safe.
Is Tunisia safe for solo female travellers?
Unfortunately it is simply a fact that Tunisia isn’t the safest place to visit. The truth is that some parts of Tunisia are most definitely unsafe for anyone, let alone a female traveller. That said, though, there are parts of the country where you can enjoy yourself fully while following some basic personal safety guidelines.
The number of British tourists traveling to Tunisia has increased greatly over the last few years, which clearly suggests that Britons enjoy the country and what it has to offer. However, the Foreign Office only lifted the travel restrictions for Tunisia in 2017. The ban was initiated in 2015 after a terrorist attack, which killed 30 British tourists.
The threat of terrorism remains up to this day, although the Tunisian government has taken significant steps to increase security at popular tourist destinations. There are trained guards at every resort and hotel and various security measures that reduce the risk of a repeat attack. Clearly this strategy is working as the number of tourists visiting Tunisia in 2018 exceeded the pre-2015 record.
However, the south of the country, especially those regions close to the border with Libya, remain very unsafe. Refer to the government-issued map with the threat level assessment to see which parts of the country should be avoided at all costs. If you want to be as safe as possible, you should stick to the main tourist destinations.
4 tips on how to enjoy being a solo traveller to Tunisia
1. Stay safe with the help of travel agencies
It is natural to be anxious and even fearful when you are a woman travelling alone, especially to a country that’s not 100% safe. But as can be learned from inspirational personal stories the travelling experience can be amazing when it is safe and when your trip is properly organised. When travelling to Tunisia, the best way to make your trip safe is to use the services of a travel agency.
They can book you a tour which will include everything from your flight tickets to accommodation to transport. The safest option will be to join a group so you can enjoy your privacy without being entirely alone.
2. Prepare your tech
There are no restrictions for bringing common tech to Tunisia and at popular tourist spots you shouldn’t have any trouble with Wi-Fi. However, this is one of the countries that has a variety of internet restrictions. Therefore you need to be prepared in advance so that you don’t let geo-blocking stop you. Install specialised solutions which will allow you to access restricted information and stay connected with ease. These can even help you to watch your favourite shows or sports games when they are not available for streaming in Tunisia.
Note that you need not only to install VPN to avoid geo-blocking but also to avail yourself of other tech security tips for travellers. These include updating your software updated and backing up your data. You also need to carry your tech in specialised anti-theft bags to avoid pickpockets, who are notoriously active in crowded places.
3. Dress modestly
Tunisia is a Muslim country but the attitude towards women is much better than in any other North African state. This means that solo female travellers aren’t at risk of having their freedom limited in any way. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect the local culture and traditions. Dressing modestly is the most basic thing you can do both to be safer and more comfortable. ‘Modestly’ in this case means that you should wear a top that covers your shoulders and cleavage and a skirt/dress that go below the knee, or trousers.
This might not be enough to avoid catcalls and mild harassment entirely, so be prepared to deal with it if it does occur. You shouldn’t react to catcalls or the like and if someone does try to harass you by asking you out insistently, act very offended and turn to the local women for help. Overall, you should behave like a traditional Muslim woman. This will help you to emphasize the message that you aren’t an ‘easy western lady’.
4. Stay close to other women whenever possible
As a solo female traveller you are sure to attract unwanted attention. There is no avoiding this completely, but you can reduce the risk of any unpleasantness if you stay close to other women, especially the locals.
Try to sit close to them when using public transport or in cafes and lounges. If you take a taxi alone, always sit in the back. When choosing a restaurant, check if there are any women inside and whether they look comfortable being there.