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Tips for Women Travelers

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Traveling alone can be daunting, and women certainly don't have it any easier than men. Aside from the usual pickpockets and travel snags, women also have to be careful of people who prey on females traveling solo. However, this should by no means discourage any woman from seeing the world and traveling both on her own or with friends. Keeping in mind a few safety tips and common sense knowledge, travel is 100% safe.

Safety Tips

  • Don't wear excessive jewelry. It calls to pickpockets and invites them to rip off any necklaces or bracelets.
  • Divide your small bills from your large bills. You don't want to whip out a big wad of money for small souvenir purchases.
  • Carry a single credit card and photocopies of any important documents. In case your wallet or bag is stolen, you'll want to have other funds on hand, not to mention your passport.
  • Rely on the concierge and front desk staff for help. They can hail taxis, make recommendations, and situate your room close to an elevator for your safety.
  • If lost, look for other women or families with children to ask.
  • Even if you're not married, consider wearing a wedding band. It implies that you're traveling with your spouse.
  • Write your office address on your luggage tags instead of your home address.
  • Be especially wary of pickpockets when getting on or off buses or taxis.
  • The "Do Not Disturb" sign will make it appear that your room is occupied, even when you are out. Never put out the "Service Room" sign; instead call the front desk. You never want your room to appear empty.
  • If possible, request a room off of the first floor and close to an elevator.
  • Never tell anyone you are traveling alone. If possible, when walking stay close to the pack. If anyone asks if you're alone, tell them you're with a spouse, friend, or family member.
  • Carry a small flashlight with you at all times. You never know when you'll be in a dark room or street.
  • Dress like the locals. Don't show too much skin if you're in a conservative area, and don't dress like a tourist in a populated metropolis.

Avoiding Theft

Pickpocketing and theft are major concerns for any traveler, not just women. Being smart and confident and taking a few precautions could save you a lot of hassle. First, never carry all of your cash on your person. Carry small bills if possible, and be sure to carry only one credit or debit card. It's best to carry your money on a waist belt in front of you so you can see your things at all times. A pocketbook can be easily reached into, and a wallet can be snatched as well. It's also a good idea to have a "secret stash" of money somewhere else on your body, like in your sock or bra. That way, if a thief tries to steal your bag, you won't be totally out.

To avoid room theft, never let on that you're staying alone. A "Do Not Disturb" sign can make people think you're not traveling alone. Leaving a TV on or having phone conversations can also make it appear that you're staying with someone. Don't leave out your room service door tag, since most make you write how many people are staying in the room.

Sexual Advances or Assault

Sadly, sexual advances can make a women vulnerable or at risk for attack, and can happen while traveling or in your hometown. Wearing a wedding or engagement ring (even if single) may deter some would-be paramours. You may be considered "off limits" in their culture. Also, avoid making any kind of prolonged eye contact. This often indicates interest, and if that's not what you want, it could spell trouble. If you don't speak the native language, it may be even harder to shake off the suitor.

If you are touched or groped, be vocal. Try learning how to say "No! Leave me alone!" in the native language. Migrate towards a group. Stay alert, and run if you can. If you're being pestered, find your way to the nearest hotel lobby and ask for help there. If all else fails, consider carrying pepper spray and don't be afraid to use it.

Though if you do meet a man you may be romantically interested in, be very sure that he is safe and trustworthy before bringing him back to your room. Never go back to someone else's hotel room, and be ready to call the front desk if things get intense.

Resources

Visit the following resources to find more ways to stay safe when traveling:

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