Before I moved to Greenville, SC, I was the Director of Training for a company that managed travel risk for major corporations. We “watched the world” for events that would impact travel. Things like weather events, hostile events, taxi or airport strikes, and we helped the travelers, and their companies manage these travel interruptions. We also provided support for travelers who suddenly needed a doctor when they were abroad or had property stolen or felt like they were being followed.
We trained these travelers on how to handle many situations they might possibly encounter and one of the trainings I was especially pleased with, was our Female Traveler training.
Traveling with an organization like Road Scholar, my guests this past week on Hey, Boomer, certainly helps to mitigate some of the risks a solo traveler could experience. With that said, I also feel like this is a perfect opportunity for me to share some of the tips we taught our female travelers.
Preparing for safe travel begins with research
If you are traveling outside of your home country, you will need to know the entry requirement of the country you are traveling to. This does not just mean passport and visa requirements, now you will also need to know what the vaccine requirements are and Covid testing requirements to enter many countries.
You should also know about the local security and medical services and how to contact them, should you need to.
You will want to know the cultural norms of the country you are traveling to. Is it ok to shake hands with someone of the opposite sex? Do the locals generally make eye contact, or do they prefer a less direct encounter?
Other things to consider … let your credit card company know that you will be traveling so they don’t flag purchases that seem unfamiliar. Find out if your phone plan will work when you are abroad and will your health insurance provide you coverage in a foreign country. Do your research before you go.
Social Media Awareness
We all have become so used to sharing good news on social media that many times you will see pictures of people on their trips, while they are traveling. It is generally a good idea to wait until you are home before sharing the pictures from your trip. You don’t want to advertise to the world that your home is sitting vacant while you are away.
Less is more. Think about what you absolutely need in your purse. Do you need all of your credit cards, library card, store cards? What you decide to bring with you, make copies of and leave them with someone back home, incase you lose your credit card or passport on your travels.
Think about what you absolutely could not do without if your luggage gets lost. That is what goes into your carryon. Any medications you need, one change of clothes, your phone/laptop charger.
Tips for your hotel stay
Ask for a room between the 2nd and 7th floor. Fire escapes and fire ladders often do not go higher than that, and first floors are vulnerable to robberies.
If the hotel clerk says your room number out loud and there are other people in the lobby, ask for another room. The clerk should show you your room number, but not say it so that others could hear it.
In the hallway, note where the emergency exits are and count the number of doors from your room to the exit, incase you need to find the exit in the dark.
Always double lock your doors and ensure the phone and lights work before you settle in. If anything seems amiss report it to the front desk right away.
Handling yourself when out and about
Always know where you are going before you head out. The less you are distracted by looking at a route, the less likely you will be a target for a pickpocket. Let someone know your plans before you head out and what time you plan to be back. Show self-confidence when walking, and do not accept food or drink from strangers. Women are often targets of men offering spiked drinks at bars. You can avoid this by never leaving your drink unattended or accepting a drink from someone you just met.
And certainly, do not walk alone after dark, especially in areas that you are unfamiliar with.
I share all of this with you for awareness. Traveling in a group will lower your risk of encountering some of the problems you could encounter as a solo traveler. Being prepared will reduce your risks even further.
Enjoy your travels. Learn about the places you travel to, local foods, customs, artwork, nature, all of this will enhance your life and your memories.
Where would you like to go on your next trip?