If you’re the adventurous type, or you are thinking about touring the world on your own – for business or pleasure, here are a few tips that might come in handy for women travelling on their own.
Choosing a Hotel
- Smaller is smarter: you want the staff to be familiar with guests and with you. The smaller the lobby, the more noticeable the loiterers.
- Aim for a well-trafficked street (neighbourhood restaurants and late-night stores mean traffic, corporate offices mean darkness). Affluent residential areas tend to have more reliable transportation and fewer threatening street people.
- If you’re still concerned about the area, ask a female employee–not one in reservations–whether she walks around at night. (Call the restaurant, for instance.)
- A reception and concierge desk near the entrance, and/or the elevators, is more likely to deter non-guest undesirables.
- There should be privacy for guests checking in: no one should be able to overhear a name, room number, or other personal information.
- Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel’s concierge or a female employee can mark any dangerous areas on your map.
- Dress down.
- Avoid jewellery-even a chain that’s fake gold can be ripped off your neck. Perhaps consider wearing a wedding ring.
- The please make up this room sign tells everyone you’re not there. Call housekeeping instead.
- Conversely, the do not disturb sign can make the room seem occupied (especially handy if you leave expensive items inside).
- Put expensive clothing on hangers under other garments. Robbers usually “shop” what they can see.
- Lock valuables in the front-desk safe.
- Carry just one credit card and photocopies of important documents. Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don’t have to expose a wad of bills. (When sharing with friends, keep a kitty for common expenses to make digging for cash in public places unnecessary.) Become familiar with foreign currency before you need to use it.
- If you must ask for directions, approach families or women with children. To be extra safe, say, “Where is the –? I’m meeting my husband there.”
- Use covered luggage tags. Instead of your home address, write that of your office.
- Talk to female passengers and flight attendants on the plane about the safety of your destination.
- Stay close to your valuables when passing through airport security.
- If you place your carry-on bag on the floor when sitting in a restaurant or other public area, put your foot through the strap; don’t leave it loose.
On the Road
- On the road, if someone tries to get your attention or your car is bumped, don’t stop until you arrive at a well-lit and busy area, or lacking that, stay in the car and blow the horn until someone comes to your aid.
- If suspicious about “phony” police, don’t open the window. Instead, hold your license against the glass.
- In your car, keep items out of sight (especially maps and guidebooks). Hatchbacks leave your luggage in plain view.
- When possible, park so you won’t have to back out. It makes for a speedier departure.