This week is solely for our ladies, and what they should be looking for when traveling. Women have come a long way since the days when they were considered the weaker sex, but the reality remains that they are still physically more vulnerable than their male counterparts when they travel, and they face unique risks.
Criminals, intruders, stalkers, kidnappers and rapists worldwide profile women who are out and about and target the ones who are unaware, unfamiliar with their surroundings, and less likely to fight back.
So how do we minimise those risks?
PLAN TO BE SAFE
- Safe travel is not a chance event. Preparations play a major role. Think about your security from the start, do your homework.
- Where are you going? Look at travel advisories and learn as much as you can about the country you are traveling to.
- Let colleagues know where you are.
- Choose hotels with a safe and secure history – some hotels have a women only floor that reduces the likelihood of a male attacker lurking outside a door or following you to your room.
- Select a room when you book between the second and fifth floor. Street level rooms are no good as it provides easier access; rooms above the fifth floor should be avoided, as fire ladders may not reach as high.
- Rooms should not be at the end of hallways, nor directly across from a stairwell.
- Accept the services of the bellhop for an escort to your room.
- What about entering the room? There is a sound 15 second rule – after looking around outside, open the door and jam your suitcase/travel bag in it, turn on all lights, look behind the drapes, in the bathroom, under the bed. This secures the room. Then close and lock the door, putting the security chain in place.
- What about ordering room service? So many people hear the door knock and open the door, walking back into the room. The correct way is to see who is outside, open the door if it is safe, stand at the open door while the meal is delivered, only closing the door once the waiter has left.
- What happens if there is an emergency, like a natural disaster? Know in advance who to turn to for help.
- Taking taxis – ALWAYS use the taxis recommended by the hotel.
Legal and cultural do’s and don’ts vary widely from region to region, and it is important to have a clear understanding of what is accepted.Learn about the practices in each specific culture beforehand – there are many guidebooks on country culture for international travelers.