FEMALE TRAVELERS. SAFETY TIPS.
Doing a girls trip is often described as a bonding experience and an amazing way to learn more about the world, friendship and yourself. But keep in mind that feeling safe while traveling especially if you are female demands your attention just like in your everyday life. There are many ways to be safe especially if you are a newbie traveler. Below are my best and most personal safety tips.
Crowdsource your Research.
It’s a good idea to do a lot of research about your destination before you head off. Always familiarize yourself with local cultures, religions, and respect local traditions – it will save you from ending up in tricky situations-.
Gain some knowledge about the local language and the best ways to get around via public or private transportation or if it’s safe to just walk or what to do in public places. Double check safe areas through Google Trip Planner or TripAdvisor and make friends with locals if it’s possible. I use Foursquare -I know some people say in kind of oldie and not updated but works perfectly in Asia-.
Last, ask your friends for recommendations of places that are a NO GO, also about other people that are going to travel to this place at the same time. As a female traveler, you must know where you are going and you should use the power of your own network.
Plan your Trip.
Try not to leave things so you can avoid that last minute panic. Start that list from booking your tickets, accommodation, tours, things to do/see and to plan what to pack and picked up.
In our case, every 7 to 10 days trip is planned with 4 months in advance. Mostly for the locations and outfits, I will explain that in other posts. It is always best to schedule your activities and have them with you all the time. Even if your dream is to simply land and go to the beach, the best idea is to book your first night of accommodation at your arrival destination, so that you know where you’re going when you land.
Pack and Re-pack.
Packing light can actually be a safety tip, this is directly related to the kind of place you are going and the kind of things you are planning to do. This is why you should schedule and plan the trip first.
Pack clothes with mixing and matching in mind and restrict yourself to a couple of comfortable shoes that are relevant to the purpose of your journey. Consider the kind of luggage that best suits your travel – backpack for adventure, garment bags for business or lightweight sturdy bags for more casual travel.
Don’t forget to secure them with small locks or zip ties. Zip ties are useful for making sure your bags aren’t tampered with especially with colors for extra identification. I always hide my ID and important stuff in other places when I am traveling, make sure if something gets stolen is not your money or your ID.
Carry only your own bag.
Know the contents of your bags when crossing borders, catching flights or passing through customs. Don’t offer to carry anything for anyone else. There are many stories of unsuspecting travelers trying to help out their new found travel companion only to end up carrying something illegal. By all means, make new friends but let them carry their own stuff.
Make sure, you’re covered!
Check out travel insurance providers in your home country for individuals to cover all manner of unexpected cost. Make sure you get the right level of insurance coverage, especially if you are carrying expensive cameras, laptops, and smartphones or the ones that not only covers your medical/dental emergencies but also reimburse you for lost baggage, trip cancellations or delays.
If your luggage is broken on the trip -that happens to me every single year- be aware that most of the airlines can give you a new luggage for free.
Keep Your Valuables With You.
I know this sounds like your mom. But one more time, from the Airport lounge to the cafes and restaurants to the beach or even in the toilet, always keep your luggage with you and valuables well hidden in your body especially your passport and money. Most of the hotels 2 starts up have a safety box, learn how to use it and keep your passport in there. I usually carry a second ID with me so I can make sure I am not missing my passport.
If you are in a busy market or crowd, wear your bag at the front with your arms through the loops and all the pockets closed. And never keep money in one place or consider a decoy wallet so if it does get lifted, thieves won’t get the money and cards you have hidden.
Doing a girls trip is often described as a bonding experience and an amazing way to learn more about the world, friendship and yourself.
Share your itinerary.
Just in case something goes wrong, it’s good to have a trusted person know your plans. Take a scanned copy of all your documents, such as Passport, IDs, ticket #s, insurances, certificates etc., put them on a locked site like Dropbox that you can access from any computer. You can also leave some information with a trusted friend.
Turn on your Lost Phone App and learn how to use it, our phone is our first companion these days and we might think nothing is going to happen but we never know.
Secure important contact details with you at all times. This can include the name, address and phone number of your Hotels/hostels, Rental Companies, anyone you’re meeting and the contact number of the nearest Embassy or consulate, police station and other emergencies local department. And keep your family and friends updated.
Protect yourself with Vaccination.
This advice might not apply for all the countries but be aware if your vaccinations are needed or not. For certain countries like Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and depending on your nationality also it might be needed. In case it is required, you have to do it at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel, this is why doing the research is important.
Trust your Instincts.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry”. As a super-woman that you are, you always feel when you are getting into a dangerous area. If you don’t feel confident in an area, leave and move along. Listening to your body’s subtle signal and intuition is important when making good decisions. Observe around you and be vigilant by looking at what other people are doing and how they are doing it. This combination will make you feel confident about where and with who you are.