Women traveling alone are often the target of thieves and others who mean her harm particularly if she’s traveling in a foreign country or a town she doesn’t know well. It’s a good idea to learn a few tips that will help make traveling alone a little safer.
The first thing to do before you depart is to make sure someone knows where you’ll be. Leave behind a copy of your itinerary or write down the names of the places where you will be visiting and staying. If you’re unsure of the hotel call to let someone know as soon as you’ve checked into the room. Your friend or family member should also have a copy of your flight plans, arrival and departure times, and your passport identification page. Make sure to leave phone numbers and names of any friends that live in the area where you’re traveling and check in with them throughout your trip. In addition, inform the trusted person of how often you will call and make sure you stick to the arrangement. If something does go wrong the friend or family member can notify authorities immediately. If you don’t make the phone arrangements it could be days, even weeks, before someone is even concerned.
Make sure you have updated your passport and have all necessary travel papers with you when you depart. Going to a foreign country can be exciting but not if you spend part of your time detained because of improper paperwork. In some countries you can be jailed and fined for not having proper paperwork.
Don’t carry valuables while you travel. Many women have favorite pieces of jewelry they often wear but for safety’s sake, keep jewelry to a minimum – even costume jewelry. Most thieves are not jewelry experts and won’t know they’ve stolen costume pieces until after the crime has taken place. Desperate criminals will think nothing about hurting their victim, even killing her, in exchange for the jewelry she’s wearing.
Carry small bills instead of large ones. If a criminal is watching you you’re safer with bills of $20 or under. Criminals who see you pulling out hundreds, with more behind them, will think you’re loaded. If a criminal thinks you have lots of cash and you’re all alone you’ll make the perfect target. If you use a wallet put only a few small bills in it. You can always replenish the supply later. Keep extra money in a different compartment of your purse and replace spent money on occasion rather than keeping it all in your wallet.
Many travelers have had items stolen from their motel rooms – this is not unheard of no matter what country you visit. Keep valuables in the hotel safe or better yet, carry no valuables with you on your trip. Either way, do not leave jewelry, extra money and other worthwhile belongings in your hotel room.
Do not stay in a hotel where you must park far away in a parking garage unless they offer valet service. Being in a dimly lit, huge parking garage all alone late at night is a scary feeling and a frightening position in which to find yourself. It’s best to stay at a place that allows you to pull directly up to the lobby to check in then directly in front of your motel door if you can’t find an establishment with a valet service.
In a foreign country many experts advise that a woman wear a fake wedding ring. For men who see no ring it’s an open invitation to introduce himself to her. If you must eat alone do so on the go or dine at your hotel restaurant. Avoid going to bar and grill establishments alone. After a few drinks some guys can get very pushy with a single woman.
Some women feel safer if they carry a can of mace with them. If you find yourself alone after dark it’s a good idea to carry the mace rather than store it in your purse. If attacked there probably won’t be enough time to fumble around in your purse trying to locate it. Opt for mace rather than a weapon such as a gun or knife that could get you in more hot water if the attacker gets severely injured or killed.
Most of all, when traveling, try to blend in with the others. If you know you’re in a country where drab colors are the order of the day for women, don’t dress in bright colors. Regardless of the country don’t dress provocatively. And, it’s very important that you seemingly know where you are and where you’re going. If you don’t know your surroundings you’re easier prey for attackers.
If you are lost ask a woman with children for directions. Better yet, have a map of the city but view it in private, such as in the restroom, rather than studying it out in public. Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to where you are and where you’re going, and try not to ever appear afraid or confused. How you present yourself can make the difference between a great time or a disastrous outcome.