If you are travelling alone, especially as a woman, it is vital to check the rules and customs of the countries you will be visiting. Many countries have their own rules about what is considered appropriate attire and behaviour for a woman and for the sake of your safety it is best to follow these rules. Women in particular, especially those travelling alone can become a lot more susceptible to experiencing issues in certain countries.
Here are some tips to help ensure you have the best and safest experience possible.
You must have a valid passport and the right documentation and visa for your countries of choice before you leave, include any potential side trips. Research the places you are intending to visit including possible tourist attractions and appropriate behaviour and attire expected by that country
Before you leave it is very important to leave a copy of your itinerary, passport and flight and ticket information with a friend or relative back home and give them regular updates of your whereabouts. It is also important to give them the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the places you will be staying.
While overseas for your own safety ensure you have health insurance coverage, if yours doesn’t cover you for overseas then it is important to purchase traveller’s insurance, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any conditions that may cause problems, speak to your doctor before you leave about the proper procedure if any complications occur. For prescription medication, take enough to last the entire duration of the trip and any extra medication in case of delays. Ensure all your prescriptions are in labelled containers and bring your prescription information with you, this can prevent an unsavoury situation occurring especially at airports.
Always be aware of your surroundings even if it means constantly keeping your cat-like reflexes at the ready. If you aren’t too sure about the situation in the country, you are visiting check the internet for that countries latest security information.
For the sake of your safety it is recommended that women travelling alone, whether married or not, wear a wedding ring, this simple act can do wonders for your safety, as it does appear to imply that you aren’t alone. Plus, come on, who doesn’t want to wear a wedding ring whether fake or not. If you feel like you are being followed, step into a nearby safe place or store and stare at their random assortment of canned beans until you are sure the person has passed. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help, the simple act of asking someone else to check if all is safe can potentially prevent a bad situation. Display confidence, head high and shoulders back if you look like you know where you are going this can minimise your potential to be a target.
Don’t be afraid to ask for directions or a map before you leave not only does this prevent you from walking around aimlessly in those uncomfortable shoes that you are mentally cursing yourself for wearing in the first place but it can also ensure you visit all desired locations in your assigned time period. If you get lost, ask for directions, preferably from families or women with children, even something this basic can help keep you safe.
When choosing a hotel make sure there are good security and easy access to transportation. Ensure that all the doors and windows in your room have working locks and if you are concerned there is no harm in asking hotel security to escort you to and from parking lots or your room particularly at night. Make sure to utilise the peephole and avoid letting strangers into your room as much as possible.
Make sure that you research the cultural norms of the country you are visiting before you arrive, especially when it comes to clothing. Something that may be considered basic clothing to you may be seen as inappropriate to individuals in other countries. Observe the fashion choices of the local women and try to dress similarly if appropriate, blending in is more important for your safety than wearing that new dress that makes your eyes stand out. Wear minimal to no jewellery if possible whether fake or not, jewellery can make you a target for thieves and can threaten your safety.
Use common sense and for the sake of your safety spending a little extra money can make a vital difference whether it’s paying for a safer but more expensive hotel or taking a taxi instead of walking, a few simple things can help you remain safe whilst overseas.