Safety Tips for Female Travelers
These days, if women aren’t traveling because of work, they’re far more apt to take a trip on their own than they were ten years ago. Thinking ahead of problems that could come up will save you a headache later and possibly your life.
Look into each country, city,and parts of a country you want to go. Learn the customs and the way women are expected to be. Educating yourself about safety risk is wise.
Set up a schedule to call home at time zones that work for you and your loved ones. Checking in and letting someone know your itinerary is always a good idea. For safety reasons arrange with your family to take appropriate action if you do not get in touch with them as planned.
Put safety first always place a “do not disturb sign on your hotel door and if nervous place a chair under the door knob like they do in movies. Keep your cell phone on and fully charged by you at all times and carry protection in the form of pepper spray ( you cannot carry pepper spray on many airlines ) In most cities the police organize training classes for women to learn how to protect themselves and what one must do in an emergency. Try and make time to attend these.A whistle is always a good idea and can be purchased cheap and worn as a necklace. Also, a rubber wedge to put under a door is a cheap, lightweight item to carry.Avoid room service and eat in the hotel dinning room.
Avoid dark lanes and abandoned roads. Never talk to strangers ( making friends along the way is why I travel but take some time to sit back and take someone in before you become acquainted , there’s no reason to let anyone know you are alone) Do not accept food or drink from someone you don’t know. While traveling never leave food or drink unattended. Be vigilant at all times. I usually try to plan my outings during the day and back before sunset. Many hostels offer plenty to do in the evening.Also never reveal details of where you come from or your travel plans to anyone. Avoid getting intoxicated, this makes you vulnerable.
Choose a hotel with care. Choose to stay at well established hotels or small inns and B&B where the proprietors are generally family people. Always e-mail and fax details of your staying arrangements and travel plans to your home as well as office. Read the reviews of what other travelers say and definitely read all of the safety recommendations.
Always carry important documents, money, traveler’s checks, and passport in a money belt worn around your waist. I have noticed a lot of people carry wallet necklaces, thigh belts or terry cloth arm bands also. These can be great alternatives since a money belt can be uncomfortable. Always keep money, credit cards, important documents in various places. And always carry a theft wallet. If your going to be robbed let it be the wallet that has the least amount in it. I try to carry a small amount in my front pocket with a clip to keep the pocket from opening. This small amount is usually just enough to grab a cheap meal with so I’m not losing much if I lose it.Try one of today’s RFID-blocking shields or wallets to prevent your cards and passport information from being stolen (identify theft is a real problem). I once traveled the east coast of the United States with a ball bat placed in my passenger seat with a pillow behind it, a blanket over it and a ball cap on top of it. I knew this worked because my very first stop was a place for breakfast, when the waitress asked if “he wanted something too?” as she pointed to my parked car, I said ” Oh, no he’s fine. It’s his turn to sleep while I drive” . I have even went so far as to get a room for two, no one knew I was alone.
Always act confident and move around in groups, there is always safety in numbers. Even if you aren’t a part of the group you can move along with the crowd. Blend in, do not act like a tourist. Unsavory sorts look for tourist that will be carrying items they seek. Avoid eye contact, this in many countries can suggest an invitation. Never check maps, tickets, routes in public. Avoid asking for directions unless it’s at your place of stay or a public information booth ( but please do have a look around for anyone that might overhear)
If unwell go to a state run hospital. Never to a private clinic.Travelers insurance ( I will go into in another post) Remember even if you visit a country with universal healthcare ,you are only visiting so a trip to the doctor can be very expensive. Carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, more commonly called a “yellow health card”, issued by your doctor, which includes an official stamp for all immunizations. You’ll need to show this upon entering any country with vaccine requirements.There is many websites that you can use to upload your medical information.
Never travel with valuables like jewelry , expensive watches, money clips, cuff links. Always carry a small flashlight and medical kit with you. Never wear flashy jewelry. The key is to blend in and not be noticed. Tight or revealing clothes is a no-no. I know I hear the stories ” I should be able to do what I want to do , wear what I want to” Let’s face it the world is unjust sometimes, it’s better to be safe. Majority of the time there will be no issues.
I really don’t know enough pejoratives to describe my frustration at the assumption that solo travel is inherently dangerous. It isn’t! At all! Basic common sense precautions will keep you as safe!
So if traveling is your dream, if you are feeling homesick for somewhere you have never been, if you have no one to go with, then go alone! Travel solo! You will not regret it, and you may even find you prefer it!