Traveling safely is something everyone should be concerned about, but in many countries women have more to worry about than men. This is a sad truth, as in our mind females are independent, kick-a$$ solo travelers who are able to take on whatever the world throws at them. However women are often seen as easy targets and aren’t given the amount of respect they deserve in many travel destinations.
So, ladies, all this means is that you need to be prepared for more situations than your male friends. But that shouldn’t be too challenging for you. Keep these tips in mind when traveling, especially if you’re venturing to a potentially dangerous area.
Bring the Right Bag
When you’re traveling, make sure you bring a purse that can’t easily be snatched. A purse with a strap that goes across your chest is the best choice. Keep your bag on the opposite side of the street when walking through town to decrease the chance of someone grabbing it. The safest way to travel with money or other valuables is by wearing a money belt. This belt should be worn underneath your clothes or through your belt loop. Remember never to carry too much cash with you at once and to make copies of your credit card and passport, just in case.
Ignore Cat Calls
If you’re an attractive woman (which we obviously all are) or in some cases just a woman, men will make noises or comments to remind you of how cute you are. When this happens, ignore it. Don’t say thanks or give in to the temptation of telling these guys off. Don’t make any hand gestures or even look at your admirers. Simply continue on your way as if you’re only hearing the chirping of little birds. Anything you say will only result in more harassing, which could lead to a dangerous situation.
Have a Fake Hubby
This may seem weird, but in many countries it’s recommended that women wear a fake wedding ring to deter overly flirtatious men. You could also keep a small picture in your purse of your beloved “husband” or mention this fake hubby when talking to strangers. For example, if you need to ask for directions, tell whoever you ask that you’re meeting your husband at that location. It seems silly that a 21st century woman would need a fake man to protect her, especially if she’s doing fine without a real man. But this helps fend off creeps in many countries.
Don’t Wear Heavy Jewelry
In fact, don’t wear any jewelery if it isn’t necessary. Globing jewelery all over your body or even heavy amounts of makeup onto your face sets you up as a target. You should avoid wearing anything that makes you look affluent or that could easily be taken from you. Blending in is key when you travel to any country, especially countries known to have high crime rates. Find out how locals dress in the country you’re visiting by doing some research. Try not to pack anything that will make you stick out as a tourist; err on the conservative side.
Use the Buddy System
If you’re traveling to a country known to be a little dangerous, it would be smart to go with someone you know. You don’t have to stick together the whole time, but keep each other informed of where you’re going and when you plan on meeting again. If you don’t know anyone on your travels, make friends with the front desk workers at your hotel or hostel. Say hello and goodbye each time you pass by and ask them about places to visit or directions to specific locations. Make yourself known so that if something were to happen, someone would notice your absence. It is easiest to make yourself memorable in small hotels or hostels, so keep this in mind before booking.
Avoid Dangerous Situations
Research, research, research! Gain a deep knowledge of the country you’re visiting in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Know what time the sun sets so you won’t find yourself walking alone in the dark. Understand which areas are okay to be in and which aren’t. Get a good feel for the culture of the country and what role women have within this culture. Women are continuously becoming more independent, but this isn’t the case in all countries. Just because you are able to navigate Canada alone doesn’t mean you will be able to fend for yourself in Morocco. Use your female smarts to prepare yourself for a different kind of treatment and to help yourself stay out of trouble.