Travelling for business could be considered a perk of the job or a pain in the neck, either way, whether you are male or female you need to be travel savvy and sensible when travelling alone. Around 50% of business travellers are women and whether you like it or not, female solo travellers are more at risk than men. Arming yourself with the facts about your destination and understanding the local culture as well following our guide below will help you avoid danger.
Leave Your Valuables at Home
It sounds obvious but don’t travel with your most precious items. Only travel with limited numbers of credit or debit cards and try to keep them hidden, preferably not in the obvious place such as your purse. Only go out with minimal amounts of cash. Don’t wear expensive watches or jewellery especially if they have great sentimental value, thieves will not care how emotionally attached you are to a piece when they are trying to rob you. Never draw attention to yourself with designer luggage. Travel with secure but discrete luggage that doesn’t stand out and make sure your handbag or hand luggage is locked and secure at all times.
You are not alone
Ensure you don’t tell anyone around you that you are travelling alone. Imply that you know the area and that you’ve been there many times when talking to strangers. You could even go as far as wearing a wedding ring if you don’t already wear one and talk as if there are others in your party, and start using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. You could consider using a GPS tracker in the form of a device or app on your mobile phone. There are some devices on the market that are perfect for the lone traveller. Providing there is a mobile phone signal they enable you to send an SOS message to your contacts if you are in need of help. In addition to this, if you have arranged to meet some friends or colleagues who also have the app, you can see how close they are to your meeting place so you can judge how long it will take for them to reach you. GPS trackers can make you feel a little more secure when travelling alone whether your journey or trip away is a short or long one.
Look Like you’re a Local
This means don’t walk around looking lost with a map in your hand! Avoid looking like the perfect target. Try to look like you belong so look confident, walk with your with your head up and give the impression that you know where you are going, even when you don’t! Plan your route before leaving your hotel. Holding a map in your hand in your rental car, on the street or even in a cab screams vulnerability to a prospective criminal and never write or draw your route on the map and leave it in the hotel or your rental car. To blend in a bit further, don’t walk around looking like you have money. Dress inconspicuously and don’t draw attention to yourself.
Hotel a haven?
Your hotel may be perfectly reputable and appear a safe haven for the solo female traveller, however, don’t get too complacent. There are many ways to protect yourself without going over the top. When you sign in for example, don’t use your first name, use an initial or Mrs and keep the hotel details with you, on your phone or a postcard or brochure in your bag. Don’t allow the reception team to shout your room number out in front of other guests and if they do, ask for a new room. Check your room when you first enter to make sure you are alone and certainly do this before you make sure the door, windows and any adjoining doors are secure and locking yourself in for the night. A ‘Do not disturb’ sign left on the door handle after you leave may discourage a burglar but it also may discourage the housekeeping team so bare that in mind if they haven’t cleaned your room yet! Leaving the TV or radio on in your room when you go out may also give the impression that your room is occupied.
There are risks in life wherever you go, whatever you do and we can’t let these concerns stop us from travelling or spoil our fun, however, we can be sensible. A few simple tweaks to the way we behave when travelling alone could significantly lower our risk of encountering danger.