10 tips for staying safe while travelling

Stay safe and enjoy your break

When it comes to travelling for either business or pleasure, there are staggering statistics about how women get treated versus men. Harassment, intimidation, and the feeling of safety are all priorities that should be considered for female travellers.

This is not an issue about sexism, but a conversation about safety. Women are not helpless or inherently at risk by design. But it is best to prepare for travel in a world that is harmful to strangers that find themselves in a strange land. Even a reverse address lookup can give extra insight into where you are going.

Why women should think their own security while travelling

Women in general have been unfairly treated for years. This is getting better, and steps are being taken to create a safer environment for women. These changes are not happening fast enough.

A quick search on the internet unveils stories about women being sent to hotel rooms in strange places with men waiting inside. In the ideal world, a woman should be safe anywhere. We all hope for a better world, but we are not there yet.

Tips for staying safe

1. Don’t trust people quickly

This is number one for a reason. The ‘con’ in ‘con artist’ actually stands for confidence! A stranger gains your confidence so easily and so readily that you let your guard down easily. Criminals and fraudsters are often very smooth talkers.

2. Research, thoroughly

The internet is a wealth of information for travellers, depending on the destination. Research where you are going, including the accommodation. Pay attention to blogs and reviews. Don’t simply take the star ratings for granted, look at what the bad reviews say and see if there’s anything to be concerned about. Know the local law enforcement and who to call if necessary.

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3. Be careful with your alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol and traveling goes hand in hand. If you enjoy a taste of the local beverages, or simply need a few wines to get over jet lag, then do so. But exercise caution and always keep in mind the place in which you find yourself. Order drinks served in sealed containers so you know they aren’t drugged.

4. Be discreet when out and about

You are travelling, but don’t dress as a tourist. Enjoy the atmosphere of where you travel, but try not to broadcast the fact that you are a traveller. It is wise to adjust your wardrobe to blend in. Remove jewellery to give the impression that you are not of value for robbery.

5. Keep your valuables with you

Do you really trust the hotel that you are in? Think about the place that you are staying and how likely it is that valuables may go missing, because regardless of where you are there is always a chance. It is possible to keep valuables in a money belt or hide them in a shoe. There are always alternative places to store your portable property.

6. Spend money discreetly

You’re travelling, but try not to draw attention to the fact that you are spending money. Someone trying to rob a traveller will often look out for someone with a lot of cash. Try to keep your cash hidden if you are in a place that is not advanced with electronic methods of payment. Don’t draw attention to the fact that you’re spending a lot of money in local value.

7. Prepare for the worst

It may seem odd to do, but plan for the worst. Always have a back-up plan with credit cards stored electronically or a way to get some quick cash, if need be. If you know someone locally, be sure to memorize their phone number if possible.

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Tips for researching the address and location in advance

Research is important, so three of our tips are about how to research your destination.

8. Is the destination good for female travellers?

Do you know anyone who has been here? Have you heard that the destination is safe for women who are travelling? Are there any horror stories online? Before you consider how to travel safely, it is best to find out if the destination overall is safe. If not, it may be worth reconsidering travel plans.

9. Booking the hotel

Book accomodation that is safe and reliable. Some ‘Share Economy’ solutions such as Airbnb have very stringent guidelines for safety and security with massive punishments if there are breaches. A quick reverse address lookup on one of these accommodation choices may be helpful. It may be worth researching these first. Look at the hotel, and try to find one of high repute.

10. Research scams and dangers

The internet is your friend when it comes to scams and dangers in an area. Almost everyone who has been taken for granted in a tourist trap or robbery has written an article about it on social media, their blog, or their local newspaper. Try to find what the ‘go-to scam’ is in your destination of choice, so you know what to look out for.

Book a few things in advance

Organize activities with the people you may be meeting at your destination. Book appointments, schedule meetings; make sure that you can make it to appointments promptly.

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Failing to make it to an important meeting usually raises a red flag and may set up a timeline if the worst should happen to occur. Where possible, try to arrange transport with specific instructions to alert authorities if you do not appear.

Only take what you need and leave the rest locked up

Find a safe place to store belongings, and keep in mind that this may not be the hotel. Almost any city has facilities available whether they are public lockers for hire or the local bank for safekeeping of expensive items.

Remain vigilant and have fun!

Try to have fun and a positive attitude. Travelling shouldn’t be about worrying. Use a reverse address look-up service if invited anywhere that you may feel is strange. Do your research, stay safe, know people locally, and know where the authorities are.

About Ben Hartwig

I'm a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. I author guides on entire security posture, both physical and cyber. I enjoy sharing best practices.