Whether traveling for business purposes or vacation, safety has always been an issue for the traveling solo female. Using common sense can make any trip worthwhile instead of a complete nightmare.
It wasn’t too long ago that a single woman could travel to Aruba, go casino hopping at night, shopping in town, and enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters without a care in the world. On the other hand, taking a trip to Alaska alone is still not the most prudent action as Alaska has the highest incidents of rape in the country.
In fact, if you perused the internet and read the crime statistics in every major city or country, you would probably be tempted not to travel at all.
To this end, here are ten safety tips for women travelers.
1. Always be aware. Find out as much information about the place you are traveling to as well as the hotels and the surrounding areas. If traveling abroad, make a note of where the US consulate is located.
2. Avoid areas that are less populated and not well lit. If you want to visit some historic sights, join a group tour. As an example, first time travelers to New York may want to take a walk in Central Park at night. However, unless you are familiar with the park, this is not a good idea.
3. When traveling anywhere, ensure that you blend in and not stand out of the crowd. Walk with an air of confidence. Timidity can be a catalyst for predators.
4. If you are vacationing, hook up with a sightseeing tour or sign up for a group tour with your travel agent. If you find yourself alone at a café or other public venue, you may want to strike up a conversation with other tourists.
5. Always leave a copy of your itinerary with a family member and friend. If you plan to take a side tour to a destination that is not on the itinerary, contact your embassy and let then know what your plans are.
6. Thieves usually cover the areas that tourists are most attracted to. For example, walking along the Champs Elysees in Paris with a large handbag makes you vulnerable to thieves. Without your knowing it, they can bump into you, steal your wallet, and run off. In Rome, on the other hand, many thieves use scooters. They can whiz by, snatch your handbag, and you’ll never see it again. Dress down and utilize a shopping bag instead of a handbag or backpack.
7. If you are dining out or visiting several pubs, be extra careful. Women can be drugged by unscrupulous characters looking for a good time.
8. Ensure that your hotel has adequate security. If necessary, place a chair against the door or bring a wooden doorstop with you on the trip.
9. No matter where you are traveling to, bring a street map with you. If you do get lost, go into the nearest shop or look for the nearest telephone and call the embassy. Do not allow anyone to drive you to the destination. If they insist, walk away quickly.
10. It is important to carry some form of protection or device with which you can alert others that you are in trouble. A whistle and/or pepper spray may be warranted. However, check with the local consulate or embassy to determine if the pepper spray is legal in that particular country.