For many years, women have been traveling the world alone, either for business or for pleasure. And while the basic faccts and reasons for travel are the same as those for men, women can expect to meet a variety of difficulties that men just don't encounter.
Advice for women traveling alone
Both the US and UK governments have "Know Before You Go" advice websites that are well worth a visit; you'll find them here:
Much as we might hate to admit it (and there's still a long way to go), the western world, the USA and UK are amongst the most emancipated in the world and women have a much more levated status in our countries than they do in others. Added to that, in any part of the world, some many, thankfully only a few, see women on their own as an attractive proposition - for whatever they have in mind - so a few precautions are well worth thinking about.
It's important to learn as much about your destination country as possible, their social structure, their social mores and their general cultural attitude to women. What might be regarded as sexual harassment at home might be part of the social fabric of anothe country. Some countries, particularly in the Middle East have entirely different attitudes to women's place in society, their dress and their fundamental importance. An area's religious or cultural beliefs can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and demeanor to fit in with local customs. Even within the 'civilised' West, it has become important for women in certain 'cultural ghetto' areas to be careful not to become isolated. In the West, our dress code is one of laisser faire but this may not be acceptable elsewhere so simply avoiding form-fitting or revealing clothing help prevent unwanted attention and of course, if the local culture is to wear a paricular garment like a headscarf then it's only couteous and sensible to respect these standards.
Travel Documents & the DOGTAG Document Vault
These days, unless you booked through a travel agent, you'll probably not even have tickets, all of your documentation will have been emailed to you. As well as printing the relevant documents off (leave a copy with a friend or your parents), why not upload everything, including a scan of your passport to your Dogtag document vault. It's in the members are, all you have to do is log in and you'll see it there on the left hand side of the member's welcome page.
Well, you know you need to look after your passport but as we mentioned above, why not scan it and upload it to your Dogtag document vault. It's a good idea also to make a note (in the the Notes app in your phone) of all of the details on your passport, including the passport number. If you do lose it, it'll be easy to email the details to our consulate.
Whilst your privacy is important to you, if your stay at a hotel is an extended one, make an effort get to know the staff, particularly the female members who can give you local advice and who will be familiar with other guests. Make contact with pther female guests or couples; people look out for one another. If you feel uncomfortable about making your way to your room alone, particularly if you've been 'romanced' by a fellow guest, don't be afraid to ask a member of staff to escort you to your room, particularly if you arrive back at the hotel late at night. When you check in, 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 you're at the front desk, grab a card from the counter with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. Once inside your room, make sure the door has a peephole and a deadbolt. If it doesn't, make sure you don't open the door to someone you don't know.
Travel light, how often have you come home from vacation with half of what you took with you still unworn? An you won't be weighed down and more to the point, look weighed down, both of which would make you an ideal target for pickpockets. Try to avoid expensive looking baggage and clothing and lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage tags with your office address written on it rather than your home. There are people who cruise airports looking for luggage tags with people's home address on the label - they'll know you're going away and you could come home to an empty house.
There are pickpockets in every city on the planet so when you're out and about in a foreign city, try not to look like an aimless tourist, knowing where you're going and a purposeful stride makes you less of a target and definitely avoid getting caught in a crush in a crowded market. By the same token, avoid being alone in a desolate location where you're the only girl. Loop your satchel or your bag over your head; that way it can't easily be grabbed off your shoulder and carry only one credit or debit card at a time. To be on the safe side, store the bank's 'lost credit card' number in your phone - and in your Dogtag document vault.
Why not get hold of a Dogtag 'contactless' tag when you're out and about? It's round your neck, tucked into your tee-shirt and can't get pickpocketed.
If there's a safe in your room, store your valuables, cash and credit cards in there and lock it. If it's got a combination, use one you'll remember; otherwise don't keep all your money in one place and use the hotel safe deposit system if there is one.
When you're arranging your trip, think about how you're going to get from he airport to your hotel. There are plenty of reputable taxi companies in every major city that canbe booked on line in advance - ask for a female driver - it's a nice feeling to have someone holding up a sign with your name on it when you come out of baggage reclaim and your trip timeand destination is recorded ahead of time - all very reassuring especially if you'll 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, write out directions in advance and of course, keep your cell phone. If you're going to be using hire cars, it's even a good idea to take your own portable sat nav (TomTom or the like) if you have one; just load up the local maps on line in advance. Not every 3rd world destination's car hire will have the latest models with mutli-lingual sat nav and following directions in Swahili ain't all that easy!
Get To Know the Locale
Get hold of a map of the area or a street directory... 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. And who is that guy in the background there?
The Best Vacation Memories are Good Vacation Memories
Being well prepared in any walk of life is the best way to remain safe. With some advance planning and the advice of a professionals such as your travel agent or other experienced travelers who have been where you are going, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle free and memorable.
Thank you for insuring with DOGTAG, we love you and want you to have a safe and very enjoyable travel experience