Safe Travel Tips for Women
October 6, 2011
Filed under Travel
Today, more than ever, women are choosing to do something that was once thought to be not only taboo, but too dangerous; they are traveling alone. In 2010, Travel and Leisure Magazine estimated that 50 percent of frequent fliers were women; a modest increase from years prior, and that number is slated to increase in coming years.
Traveling solo can be an exhilarating experience. First, it offers freedom; you can plan every detail of your trip according to your interests and adhere to the schedule you alone create. Exploring sans partner can be a rewarding experience, and is a perfect time to relish your independence and self-actualization. Women from all over the world have shared their personal accomplishments and stories of being enlightened while on solo trips.
Dangers and risk factors lurk whether traveling alone, with a partner or in groups, and certainly these risks increase when alone, however, following a few simple rules can ensure that you remain safe while on your adventure.
When In Rome
Doing a little research about the area you are visiting is of utmost importance before you step foot into that region, particularly if you are traveling abroad. Innocent and respectful gestures here in the U.S such as eye contact and smiling, are considered disrespectful in other countries, and in some regions, will signal that you are interested in a date or liaison to locals. Take care to observe others around you and follow their lead.
Home, Sweet Home
Everyone is looking for the best deals when planning a vacation. There are many legitimate deals which can be found online or from travel agencies. When cutting corners however, the last place you should be willing to compromise on is your hotel location. Many reputable hotels run deals, especially if you are booking an extended stay, so try to stay with a hotel name you are familiar with. These reliable hotels are located in tourist areas, where streets are better lit, maps are available and most importantly, pedestrian traffic is higher. Although a higher volume of people can also mean more opportunity for those with ill intentions to be present, you are safer in numbers, where possible threats are outnumbered.
Ask for a room located near an elevator. This will keep you from having to walk a far distance down possibly dim lit hallways.
If you are ordering room service, call in your order to the front desk rather than hanging a menu card on your door. This can alert predators that you are dining alone.
If your hotel requires you to leave your room key at the front desk, always hand it to an employee. Do not just leave it on the counter. This is a prime time for a predator to take it and gain access to your room while you are out exploring.
If you are like many women, a shopping spree will be in order prior to your vacation. While you may be tempted to channel that “inner diva”, keep it to a minimum. Of course you want to look great, but leave that flashy tube top and mini skirt at home. Your clothing should not attract attention (which can quickly turn to unwanted attention) to you. Again, know dress code of the area you are in. Other regions have much stricter dress codes and are less forgiving of midriff bearing.
Show Me The Money
We live in a debit/credit card time. While it is smart to not carry large amounts of cash on your person, do keep enough money on you for emergencies. Have enough fare for transportation back to your hotel and change to make a phone call should your cell phone not work in a particular area or the battery dies. Try to bring with you only 1 or 2 credit cards at most, in case of theft. Not only does this limit the thief’s spending, but it also limits your headaches should you have to call and cancel your stolen cards. Keep copies of important documents in a safe, separate location (passports, credit cards, I.D). Many hotels offer safety deposit boxes to hold your valuables, so inquire within.
You’ve Got A Friend
Leave a detailed (as much as possible) itinerary with a friend or family member back home. Check in with said person regularly.
C’Mon, C’Mon, Common Sense
Common sense, female intuition and gut feelings will carry you a long way. Don’t venture down dark or poorly lit streets. That drink or appetizer the stranger next to you may offer is probably harmless, but don’t chance it. If you believe you are being followed, cross the street and go into a shop and/or blend in with a group. Pack as light as possible so that you are not slowed down, creating an opportunity for dangers.
Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your trip is memorable and that you return home safely.