Travelling solo can be a truly exhilarating and freeing experience, but for many it’s also a scary prospect, especially when it comes to solo female travel. This series of articles will shed like on what it’s like to travel to various popular destinations as a solo female. Please do get in touch if there is anywhere in particular you’d like to be covered in this series.
If you’re a solo female traveller in the UK and want inspiration and to meet likeminded travel enthusiasts, as well as potential female travel companions, the Wild Wonderers group is an excellent starting point. You can find them through Facebook and their website.
Solo Female Travel – Bruxelles
Bruxelles, or the City of Brussels, is the capital of Belgium and incredibly easy to get to. With two bustling international airports, and a rail hub, you’re not short of options when it comes to how to get there. Once in Bruxelles City Centre, there’s plenty to do, and everything is fairly easy to get to. There are many hotels and hostels dotted around the city. Bruxelles is a French-speaking region of Belgium which is great news for those of us who still remember enough from our GCSE French to ask and understand directions! So the question is, what is Bruxelles like as a solo female traveller?
Overall, if you keep your wits about you then Bruxelles is just as safe as other major European cities for a solo trip, and Belgium on the whole is often rated one of the 20 safest countries in the world. There are certain districts of the city (like any large city) where you’ll want to be on your toes, especially as a solo female traveller. Easier said than done, but sometimes it pays not to look like a tourist, as you can easily become a target if you look lost and alone. Bruxelles experiences the highest crime rates in Belgium so be especially vigilant when it comes to pickpocketing and other petty crimes.
If you fly into Bruxelles Charleroi airport, make sure you have a solid plan for how to get from the airport to the city, so you’re not left loitering and vulnerable. The easiest way of making this journey is to book onto a Flibco bus which takes you directly from the airport to the city and takes about an hour. Where possible, make sure you’ll arrive into the city bus station during the day as many of the city centre accommodation options are up to a half an hour walk away. Half an hour may not seem like a long walk, but through unfamiliar streets in a foreign country at night, it’s more than long enough. If in doubt, get an Uber or a registered taxi to your destination!
For a number of years, Bruxelles has been trying to stamp out aggressive begging and the exploitation of children on the scene. Despite government efforts, there are still many beggars and their children throughout the city. If you loiter for too long looking like a tourist in any of the most high traffic areas, chances are, you’ll be approached, so be on your guard.
While you’re in the city, always keep a close hold of your belongings, consider wearing a money belt, and remember that the emergency number to call is 112. Don’t put your phone down on restaurant tables, always know where you’re going, and enjoy your stay!