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Travel Safety Tips for the Savvy Woman Traveler

Women and men travel to places everyday, there really is no difference in their experience, except that women need to look out for their safety a little bit more than men. It is a statistical fact that women, in most cases, are more susceptible to unsafe conditions than men are, and for this reason, I’ve compiled a few tips for the travel diva to follow. These tips are meant to help keep safe the many women that travel each and every day, and are not menat to be offensive.

This first tip is not necessarily gender specific, but deserves recognition because it is real and it can cause problems. It is true that bad things do happen to many people each day, and this is unfortunate, but there is no need to be overly paranoid by this fact, especially when traveling. The best way to combat this issue is to make smart choices, use common sense, and protect yourself. If you follow these three steps, you will find that you look and act confident, which is a deterrant to potential aggresors.

A major part of common sense is trusting your instincts. All of us have had an opportunity at one point or another in our lives to trust or not trust our instincts. They are there for a reason, so if anything seems off, wrong, or strange- get out, move on, flee, scream, whatever is appropriate at the time. Whatever you decide to do, do it quickly. Many times dangerous situations happen quickly, so it requires a quick response to avoid this.

The way that you carry yourself tells others whether or not you are a target for danger. It is important to keep your body language in check by keeping your head up, swinging your arms as you walk, and basically just acting confident. People will be able to tell is you are one that has adopted a no-nonsense attitude, or if you are susceptible to danger. By walking with purpose, you will be less of a target for hustlers who prey on disoriented or timid tourists.

Often when traveling it is not uncommon to attend a party or a social gathering at a bar. At these functions, it is not uncommon for someone to offer you food or drink, and most of the time, these people are just being kind and considerate. However, there is the occasional instance of somebody purposely drugging your food or drink. The best way to avoid this is to never leave your drink unattended at a party or a bar, and use good judgment when accepting either foor or drink. Make sure you trust the person giving it to you. The date rape drug, Rophynol, is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, making it an easy drug to slip into someone’s food or drink. As we have heard before, one of the best defenses is a good offense, so don’t think that you are the exception, be cautious and pay attention to your surroundings.

If you feel like you are being followed, either out on the street or at a function, just simply tell others of your concern and they will help you either call the police or find other help. If you are out on the street and feel like you are being followed, quickly duck into a close shop and tell the clerk that you are frightened and that somebody may be following you. Most likely the clerk will help you call a cab or the police.

Many women who travel alone do so for business purposes. After a long day at the office, it is nice to relax at a restaurant, but try not to look like you are alone. It is a good idea to keep yourself close to many other people, so that it looks like you are with a group and not alone. It is highly unlikely that you will be approached and/or harassed if it looks like you are in the presence of other people.

Wherever you are traveling to, try to blend in with the locals. It is difficult to know what it appropriate and what is offensive in foreign societies, like in Muslim areas, like Istanbul. In many of these areas you may feel uncomfortable and vulnerable because many men in these cultures view women from the “immoral” western world as sex symbols. To avoid this try to act like the other women. For example, if other women don’t make eye-to-eye contact with men, you do the same. It is important to blend in and dress appropriately whenever you can.

Although it is disheartening to even have to approach this subject, it is real but not too common. There is no need to work yourself up over what could happen, but rather it is best to be adequately prepared if something does happen. This doesn’t even have to be a safety issue, it is more of an issue of preparedness. Becoming a confident single traveler is something that we all should work on.  By following these safety precautions outlined above, you will find yourself traveling with more confidence and having a successful trip.