15 Worldwide Safety Tips for Women Travelers

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Travel is definitely all about creating lasting memories, exploring exotic destinations, tasting new foods, but we also have to take into account the human factor. Keeping your wits about you and always being aware of your surroundings can help you stay safe and still enjoy a wonderful holiday.

You can be aware of your surroundings, you can avoid questionable neighborhoods and you can communicate that you are self-assured by walking confidently with your head up. There are other ways you can prepare yourself as well to avoid trouble. I hope they’ll be useful to you. The more prepared you are, the safer you’ll be.

  1. Make smart choices and use your common sense. Don’t be paranoid, but be aware that bad things do happen, and protect yourself.
  2. Trust your instincts. If you feel something is off, wrong, strange – get out, move on, flee, scream, whatever is appropriate. Do it quickly.
  3. Body language: keep your head up, and act confident. Adopt a no nonsense attitude. Walk with purpose and you’ll be less of a target for hustlers who prey on disoriented or timid tourists.
  4. Most of the people who offer you food or drink are just being kind. However, exceptions exist – drugging occasionally happens. Try not to leave your drink un-attended in bars, and exercise good judgment when accepting food or drink from people. Rohypnol, the date rape drug, is odorless, tasteless and colorless. It is a tranquilizer that can easily be slipped into your drink. Don’t think this won’t happen to you.
  5. If you are being followed in the street and you feel threatened, duck into a shop and firmly tell the clerk: “I am a foreigner and someone is following me. I am frightened and need help.” If need be, have the clerk call a cab or police officer for you.
  6. Try to sit or stand next to other women or family groups in restaurants, on trains or buses, and in other public places. It is unlikely that you will be approached or harassed if you’re in the company of other people.
  7. Consider wearing a wedding ring, if you don’t already.
  8. Ask for help or company if you feel uncomfortable.
  9. It is common for a would-be thief to cut purse straps, take the purse, and then get away in a thick sea of bodies. Wear an over the shoulder purse sitting in front of your body, wear a Magellan vest, or an under the cloths money and document holder.
  10. It can be difficult to know what is considered offensive or suggestive in segregated societies, such as in Orthodox Muslim areas. At times you may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. Take your cues from the local women. Watch them. If they don’t make eye-to-eye contact with men, follow their example. Blend in. Dress appropriately.
    Clothing that is fashionable and appropriate in the USA may project a provocative image in another culture. Leave the revealing clothing at home.
  11. Anticipate potential problems. For example: a group of men or young boys approaches you on the sidewalk on your side of the street, cross to the other side or give them space for your peace of mind.
  12. Be sure to know when the sun rises and sets. A bustling market can quickly empty out and be transformed into dark deserted streets. Plan to be back to your lodging or in a safe, busy neighborhood by dark.
  13. Carry enough money in your shoe or money belt to get you out of a tight spot. Be willing to spend this money on a cab in order to get you to a safe place or back to your lodging. Do not take unnecessary risks. Carry your passport and  leave a copy hidden in your luggage.
  14. If in doubt, take a self-defense course.

Happy Travels!