Being a Marketing Manager at HotelCluster.com, frequent traveling is an integral part of my job. But as a woman, I have never felt intimidated about traveling alone as I always have had a safe trip, regardless of where I have traveled. This may be out of sheer luck or may be because of I am living in safe place Orlando, Florida makes me street smart.
But our luck does not always shine as bright on us; In recent days, so many people are talking about the murder story of solo woman traveler, Sarai Sierra. Only 33-years American woman was founded in death condition in Istanbul while she holidaying alone in Turkey. The focus point of the murder story was not the incident; the report instead concentrated on “why solo women travelers should not be traveling alone in foreign countries”. I was outraged, but I also saw some sense to a certain extent. If we go by incidents reported by media single women traveling alone are at a higher risk of being raped and murdered especially in male dominated societies of conservative foreign countries. However, if you are going to let this fear stop you from discovering new cultures and attractions, you will not lead a very fulfilling life.
Though it is true that reading about such horrendous incident in newspapers ever so frequently, does tend to make people scared. You’ll hear your folks telling you to avoid jobs that call for frequent traveling. But out of years of solo traveling, As a woman I suggest all solo women travelers to have some experience of traveling alone and certainly not avoid it if is imperative for your job. Traveling solo is indeed a wonderful experience. It offers you splendid opportunities to meet people, understand different cultures while enjoying some “me-time”, something very precious for women. However, to enjoy the joys of solo traveling as a woman, you ought to take measures to protect yourself and your things.
Here are some must follow tips that will better teach you how to get the most out of your solo travel while keeping yourself safe and secure during your trip:
It is important that before you embark on your solo travel, you spend sufficient time doing some research on places where you are going to and where you can stay as a single woman. Reserves hotel room well in advance and at the time on check-in specifically asks for a room that is close to the elevator, but try to away from the exit, and never book a room on the ground floor or a room that can be easily accessed from outside. It is best to choose a hotel that is renowned and caters to business travelers as such hotels often have good security. If a large hotel is not available, opt for a bed and breakfast rather than a motel. Single women travelers will love bed and breakfast places, as they are family run, friendly and protective about their guests.
When check-in, mention your first initial instead of your full name and do not check the box for “Mr/Mrs/Miss”. Get the clerk to write down your room number instead of saying it aloud. This will prevent anyone in the vicinity from finding out your room number. If you are leaving the hotel and you have to deposit the key at the front desk, ensure that the clerk collects it and places it in the cubby hole while you are still there. Always demand for a rubber door stopper that wedge under your room door. In case of the hotel lock doesn’t seem reliable on that time it can be become helpful. Also, never fill out the breakfast card and hang it on your door. This will announce to the world that you are alone in the room and expecting room service. So, if someone other than the steward knocks on the door, you will open it expecting your breakfast. If someone comes knocking on your door claiming to be room service, housekeeping or maintenance, first call the front desk to check with them. Double check and make sure that the windows and balcony door of your room are securely closed, and also always check them when you enter in your room. If you are nervous about going to your room in the night after dinner, do not feel embarrassed to ask the hotel security to walk with you to your room.
If you are in need of going outside from your stay for whatever reason then before leave, first make sure that you have planned out the entire trip. Check a map to see the routes, speak to the concierge to get directions and the places to avoid and above all, never mark your destination on the map, and even I am so telling that we should avoid to using hard map and make a try to use of smart phones with GPS navigation feature when on Solo Trip. If you do get lost, try finding a gas station to get directions. If your rental car has a problem, park at the side and call the roadside assistance of your respective rental car company instead of taking help from complete strangers. Stay put in the car with the windows and doors locked while waiting for the tow truck. Also, always keep your hotel’s name, address and telephone number if you need to find an alternate way to get back to your hotel.
Plan your travel in such a way that you arrive at your destination during the day. Shops and other facilities in small towns tend to close early and bus station and train station in any city can be a little scary after sunset. Even the most tourist-friendly city or town can be frightening at night and locals who want to help you may appear threatening at nights. Another advantage of arriving during the day is being able to check out the surrounding areas while getting your bearings.
As a single woman traveler, you may feel that other single women are a safe bet to hang out with. However, this is not true. Just like men, even women can lead you into a situation that could prove to be dangerous or not too good for you. While you can make friends with other women, it is best to be alert at all times. Also, while you are traveling locally, you may end up befriending other travelers or locals. You may find them helpful, but avoid taking food or drinks from them. The last thing you need is getting drugged and waking up to find that the nice travelers or locals have walked away with all your belongings. Also, make try to avoid drinking when you are traveling alone but even if you want to drink, head out to your hotel’s bar, but limit your intake of alcohol and Do not accept drinks from strangers or other hotel guests.
It is best to follow the local culture when it comes to dressing. Use the Internet to do a research on “how local women dress” and try and follow it. This does not mean that you have to switch to local attire. Instead be modest in your outfit selection. In some countries, this may mean not showing your shoulders, arms and legs. So carry long and knee-length skirts and dresses. Just look around you and check out the local women to see which body parts they cover. You should also cover those body parts. Also, avoid wearing expensive or garish jewelry as both types invites undue attention.
As a solo woman traveler, it is important that you say in touch with your family, relatives and close friends, so that they are in know you are safe. Always leave your itinerary with your close people. Send them emails throughout your trip on regular basis to letting them know where you are now and where you will be. It is also good to you have smart phone with extra full charged battery with you in case of any emergency. However, do not use the phone while walking or driving, as you should always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Before leaving your home country, make copies of your passport, credit and debit cards and keep them in a safe location. Usually stuffing these copies into the insoles of your shoes is a great place to keep these documents secure. You can also scan these documents and email them to yourself, so that you can access them even if you lose the copies. Take just your credit and debit card and leave all your other cards at home. Also, Keep only sufficient cash with you. It is best to keep daily spending money in your purse and keep the remaining in your socks, in your shoes and even in your bra. According experienced solo woman traveler’s advice try to avoid using a money belt as a purse, as it will draw unwanted attention. Also, you must have a backup plan in place if you get robbed or lose your cash and money cards.
When you befriend a local or a fellow traveler, make sure you never let them know that you are traveling alone. Also mention “we” when talking to them, so that they assume you are with someone else. Also, do not let strangers know where you are staying or what your hotel room number is.
Always walk with full of confidence, even you are lost. Do not look worried, confused or lost. Just walk into a shop or restaurant and ask the shop owner or restaurant staff for directions. Walk with your head up, be aware of your surrounding and exude an air that you know where you are going and what you are doing.
Never take out your map in the middle of the street to check your current location or the route to your destination. Make it a point to study your map in your hotel room and memorize the routes.
Keep Moving: Do hang out at the airport, restaurant, rental car facility or any other area. Travel from one spot to another as fast as you can. In most vacation spots, less-than-savory characters hang out in these places looking for their next target and when you loiter, you are giving them an open invitation to approach you or make you there next target.
Low Profile Maintaining: Try to blend in as much as possible. This means not flashing around your money, looking like a tourist or wearing revealing clothes that draw attention. When you blend in, you avoid drawing attention to yourself. You can do this by traveling light instead of carrying expensive luggage, dressing modestly and generally keeping a low profile.
Privacy Please: Do not write your destination or home address on the luggage tag. Instead put down your office address. Inform the hotel, not to divulge your personal information to anyone. They should check with you before giving out any information. If you have asked shopping to be delivered to your hotel, make sure that the package gets delivered to the front desk and not your room.
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