This article originally appeared in my former Examiner.com travel column. These tips are important enough that I wanted to re-share them with you. All tips are good for both women & men, traveling alone, or with others. Please enjoy…
For a women in today’s world, traveling alone is both a necessity and pleasurable. Women are a strong and capable lot, having smashed the glass ceiling, we’ve stepped out on our own in everything from business to family, personal interest to time away, and we’re not willing to step back into a 1950′s coffee-tea-or-me, we need a man kind of world.
Whatever our reason for travel, and wherever the destination, women are more than capable of standing on our own two feet.
Yet, we are not so ignorant as to think we are never a target, no matter how strong and capable we may be.
Travelers of all types and in all destinations, men and women, have long been targets for any number of criminal type. All travelers need to participate in intelligent and cautious preparation and practice, assuring themselves a safe and happy travel experience.
Yet, women have been and will be targets of a unique nature. Whether it be the location of travel where women may have to be concerned with tradition and custom, or simply because some see women as particularly pleasing targets, women have learned that we must stand strong, be smart, and do things to ensure a greater chance of safe travel.
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has put together a list of tips to help women prepare for their travel, nationwide and internationally.
Addressing this issue, in written remarks, ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo says, “ASTA travel agents understand that both men and women need to be educated travelers, but women, especially, need to plan every step of their trip – from packing a suitcase to choosing a hotel room – to ensure a safe return.”
These tips are provided by the ASTA for women (in particular) to keep in mind for your future travel experiences.
Know Before You Go.
* Learn as much about the destination as possible, especially when traveling to a foreign country. An area’s religious or cultural beliefs can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and demeanor to comply with local customs.
Welcome to Hotel Safety
* Get to know the staff, who will be familiar with guests and are able to more effectively monitor who enters and exits the building.
* Ask for a room on a higher floor near the elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells, and any renovation work.
* Never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out your name and room number.
* While at the front desk, grab a card or matchbook from the front desk with the hotel’s name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. This is especially helpful in foreign countries where your taxi driver might not speak English, or in case there are several hotels with similar names in the area.
* Explore transportation options available at your destination ahead of time, especially if you will be arriving late in the evening. Travel agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary arrangements.
* If renting a car, carefully examine maps, or rent a GPS to help you navigate unfamiliar roads.
* Pack light so you won’t be weighted down and look weighed down, both of which could make you an ideal target for pickpockets.
* Avoid expensive looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage tags with your office address written on it rather than your home.
* Carry only one credit card, and don’t keep all your money in one place.
Know Your Surroundings
* Study a map of the area you will be visiting. If available, consider downloading area maps to your phone.
* Learn as much as possible about getting around the streets to avoid looking like a lost tourist.
* Ask the concierge about where – and, more importantly, where not – to go.
The American Society of Travel Agents is available to help you plan your next vacation or business trip, helping you layout a safe, hassle-free and memorable trip. You can find a ASTA travel agent through their site: TravelSense.org