Stay Aware of Your SurroundingsNo matter where you are (airport, train station, restaurant, hotel etc.) it is always important to notice what is going on around you. If you are in a busy public place, you should know where the exits are and who is nearby that can assist you in the event of an emergency.
If you are traveling in a foreign country, make sure to learn some key phrases in the local language and what the emergency call number is.
One thing that I found, while staying at international hotels, is that, very often, cell service is unreliable. Occasionally, the room phone will be blocked for outside calls, unless you have specifically made arrangements when you arrive. One time, I needed to use the phone in the middle of the night and I have never forgotten this experience.
You feel very vulnerable when you need assistance and can’t call anyone.
Protect Your Personal InformationPeople are very kind and helpful when they realize you are a woman traveling on your own. At the same time, you must be careful about giving out too much personal information.
I do not give my full – or even real name – to anyone, except the airline, hotel or car rental company. I like to be prepared with an alternative name and email address. This way, I’m not caught off guard when someone asks to stay in touch.
I keep my luggage tag reversed and only put my last name and email address on it. This way, it cannot be seen by anyone standing in the queue next to me. I also keep my personal documents in a closed location, out of public view.
At the hotel, after I have checked in, I memorize my room number and discard the sleeve. I like knowing that, if I lose my key, no one will know what room I am in.
Most hotels are good about not announcing your room number, while you are checking in. Unfortunately, they sometimes declare it openly when you go down for breakfast or to the pool. Please remind them that you prefer to keep your room number private.
Personal SafetyWhile in your room, always use the do not disturb sign and keep all internal locks secured. I have been walked in on by housekeeping and even other guests, who were accidently given a key to my room.
I also carry a small, lightweight lock, for those doors that don’t have a good internal lock or, in some cases, none at all.
I prefer to stay at a hotel with a restaurant. This way, I can have my meals without having to leave the premises. Sometimes, especially if I’ve gotten in late and there’s bad weather, or it’s a dodgy neighborhood, I can just have my dinner and wait to go out the next day.
Do not go anywhere with strangers. The hotel should be able to arrange safe transportation for you when you go out and provide information on what is available for your return.
There might not be shuttle or taxi cab available when you come back, so, it’s best to plan your return transportation before you leave. I always take a card from the hotel so I have the address handy.
Do not post your plans or location on social media until after you have returned from your trip. Trust your instincts and use common sense anytime you are out and about.
Guard Your Personal BelongingsI like to travel light. I only take carry-on baggage, one rolling backpack and one zippered tote. I can easily manage these bags without assistance and always know where everything is. The only purse or handbag I use is something small with a shoulder strap that goes under my jacket or sweater.
Always use the room safe or ask the front desk to store valuables while you are out. I keep a photocopy of my passport in a separate location and email a copy to myself so I can access it anytime.
Be FlexibleTravel is a wonderful, albeit unpredictable, adventure. You need to be able to adapt and adjust to whatever happens. Some of my best experiences have come from circumstances that initially seemed like a problem.
Wishing you all safe and happy travels!
Do you feel safe when you travel alone? What other travel safety tips can you offer to other women in our community?