Women need to travel with caution no matter where they go, even in their hometowns. If you’re traveling abroad, however, there are a few things you can do to ensure your trip is as safe as possible. A few preventative actions can go a very long way in ensuring you get from point A to point B with no problems. Here are a few to consider:
10. Leave Your Jewelry at Home
A piece of jewelry you wear regularly is one thing, like your wedding or engagement ring, but anything else you don’t usually wear should be left at home. Wearing ostentatious jewelry will draw the attention of thieves and muggers and will increase the likelihood of someone robbing or injuring you.
9. Wear a Wedding Ring
Wear a wedding ring at all times while traveling. Not married? Buy a cheap one from your local department store and wear it anyway. Men who think you are married are less likely to give you trouble than those who see you are not and a wedding ring is a great way to ward off unwanted advances.
8. Stay in a Small Hotel
The smaller your hotel, the smaller the lobby area will be. A hotel with a small lobby area is easy to monitor. Hotel staff will be familiar with their guests and will be able to recognize loiterers and you’ll be better able to identify familiar faces that may be following you as well. There are dozens of small hotels in Australia, Hong Kong, and in virtually any city around the world. All you have to do is look around for the best ones.
7. Dress Casually
Don’t wear expensive clothing and, if at all possible, try to dress like the women local to the area you’re visiting. Expensive looking threads will make people think you’re carrying a lot of money with you. The clothing you wear at home may be offensive or misleading to men in foreign countries. This is especially important if you plan to visit a Muslim country where women are required to cover their heads at all times.
6. Ask for Directions
If you are lost, ask for directions, but be smart about it. Approach authorities, store employees (when you’re in the store), fellow women, or families with children. Phrase your question as if you are going to meet someone at the destination you are asking about. These groups are less likely to pose a threat to you.
5. Navigating Public Restrooms
Use the corner stall in any public restroom you use. That way you can put your belongings between your feet and the floor instead of next to the open stall on your other side. If that’s not possible and there is no hook to hang your bag, loop the strap around your foot until you can pick it up again. Do the same thing if you put your purse down in a restaurant, too.
4. Avoid Eye Contact
Do a little research about the area you plan to visit but, all in all, try to avoid direct eye contact with men as much as possible. In some country, making extended eye contact is considered an invitation to approach. In others, it is considered disrespectful. Either way, you could find yourself in an incredibly awkward situation.
3. Handle Money Carefully
Divide your money into small portions so that you never have to pull out a huge wad of cash in a store or restaurant. Thieves will watch to see how much money you are carrying and if they see that you don’t have much they will be less likely to target you.
2. Don’t Struggle with Thieves
If someone tries to grab your purse or backpack, just let it go. Struggling could get you injured – or worse. Don’t try to reach into your bag to give the thief the money in your wallet, either. He could just as easily think you’re reaching for a weapon or can of mace and cause you physical harm. The odds of you walking away unharmed are higher if you simply let your things go without a struggle. You can always buy a new purse.
1. Never Wear a Money Belt
Thieves actually know about money belts and if someone wants to rob you the first thing he’ll do is look under your shirt to see if you’re wearing one. Ditch the money belt and consider sewing an extra pocket into the inside of your bra. You can easily store your money or credit cards and then slip out what you need to keep in your pocket or purse while in your hotel room or a bathroom.
A strong, independent woman deserves the opportunity to travel the world but, unfortunately, can be a target for crime. Keep your wits about you as you travel and you’re bound to have an amazing vacation experience!