This article is not intended to besmirch any particular country, nor are we trying to suggest that ladies are not capable of traveling alone. However, the fact is that women are more vulnerable and in certain countries ― and without knowing the statistics, a fun vacation can turn into a nightmarish ordeal. Here is a list of cities where female globetrotters may want to take a few extra precautions (if not avoid them altogether as solo travel destinations).
Although Acapulco has enjoyed healthy tourism for decades, but the number of rapes and sexual assaults reported in the coastal city has become too large to ignore. Earlier this year, six Spanish women were sexually assaulted by a gang of rapists who broke into their beach house, and eight men were convicted of gang raping a foreign woman late last year. Local authorities advise against going out late at night and drinking too much in public places ― but in Acapulco, this is the norm for the millions of tourists who visit every year.
Any traveler ought to suspend their Egyptian vacation plans these days; since the 2011 Arab Spring and subsequent political insurrection that has continued to the present day, the country is considered very unsafe for foreign tourists. The streets of Cairo are particularly dangerous for women, as the number of sexual assaults and gang rapes has steadily risen in the last two years. In addition to dozens of women who have filed police reports, 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted while covering the coup that overthrew former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The Istanbul Convention was ratified to protect women from sexual assault and domestic violence, but Turkey has seen what New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky called a “worrisome shift” in the way women are treated in that country. The city of Istanbul has also earned a negative reputation due to the number of occurring sexual assaults that are aided by “date-rape drugs.” Earlier this year, an American woman was murdered during a solo trip to Istanbul.
New Delhi, India
The Gender Equality Index recently ranked India as the second worst place in the world for women to live. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, “For every woman who obtains a job, two women are killed at birth, abused in childhood, burnt over dowry, or sexually harassed at work.” The country has earned a nasty reputation among female foreign tourists, as well. In Delhi alone (considered the most dangerous city for women in India), more than 1,100 rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police between January and August 2013.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For a city that’s set to host the Olympics in 2016, as well as the World Cup, Rio de Janiero is a dangerous place for women. Earlier this year, the AP reported that a French woman was raped inside a public bus while her boyfriend was handcuffed. The police response was swift in this case, but it was far from isolated; authorities warn that crimes against women who use public transportation are a rampant problem in the city. The U.S. Department of State also warns that the homicide rate is “critically high,” currently estimated at 24 murders per 100,000 people every year (in a city of 6.5 million).