Women travelers to Eastern Europe generally find that they feel safe. While Eastern European societies are still male-dominated, a female traveler may be less likely to be accosted by an ill-motivated local than a male traveler would be. However, women travelers to Eastern Europe may find that they encounter different sets of circumstances than they would if they were traveling elsewhere. These Eastern European travel tips for women will give you advice and suggestions for safety and comfort if you are female and plan to travel to Eastern Europe on your own.
Single Women Travelers Are Unusual
In Eastern Europe, women do not generally travel alone, and even solo female tourists are rare. Single females usually travel with a boyfriend, parents, or friends. While you may not be in any real danger, locals may find your choice unusual and have no qualms about expressing their feelings about this.
Bars, Pubs, and Clubs
Female travelers to Eastern Europe may want to avoid going into bars, clubs, or pubs alone, as lone women in dance or club clothing may be mistaken for prostitutes.
Consider the Guided Tour
If you want to visit Eastern Europe and can't find a friend to go with, you may consider joining a guided tour. Guided tours offer safety and comfort, and you'll have travel companions that share your interests and speak your language.
Eastern European women are known to dress very fashionably, in feminine, sometimes risque, clothing. If you want to blend in a little better, ditch the jeans and sneakers and go with slacks and a good pair of walking shoes. If you want to dress up even more, you won't be seen as unusual; women dressing up and showing off their bodies is socially accepted in Eastern Europe.
Smiling and Eye Contact
For women travelers to Eastern Europe, it's best to avoid smiling and making eye contact with men, especially in a bar situation. This could be interpreted as an invitation, and Eastern European men can be very persistent even when they have been told you have nothing to offer them.
Chivalry and Chauvenism
Chivalry and chauvinism - you'll be witness to both as a woman traveler to Eastern Europe. Men will have no problem holding the door for you, but they will also show how they feel superior to women in public settings. You'll cringe every time you hear an Eastern European man bark for service from a female waitress at a restaurant.
In some parts of Eastern Europe, public toilets may be clean, even if they cost you a couple of cents to use. In other parts, however, the conditions may be below par. Female travelers to Eastern Europe should always carry tissues or toilet paper with them in case they need to use a public toilet. This traditionally isn't supplied, or it is rationed out in scraps to paying customers.
When booking a place on an overnight train, women travelers may be more comfortable buying a full compartment so that there are no surprises by way of other passengers.
Unmarried Single Women
Women in Eastern Europe still tend to be married relatively young. If you are over the age of 25 and remain unmarried, locals may question you about your single status, show concern, or even try to set you up with an available young man.
Even though the chauvinism may frustrate you, the lack of independence from local females may astound you, the clothing may scandalize you, and the assumptions may embarrass you, it's important to stay confident. If you feel hassled, stay firm, but be polite.