Learning how to travel safely as a woman is often overlooked in the excitement and chaos of packing our travel luggage and boarding the plane.
However, as women we often need to take extra precautions in everything that we do.
From the moment we book our flight online to the moment our travels end, we need to be smart and exercise caution. Simple tricks like using real-time tracking of your flight or installing an app like Life360 so your loved ones can track your whereabouts are great ideas.
Here are a few of our top tips to stay safe when traveling.
The best thing you can do for your safety, is researching your destination.
Before you board your flight, ensure that you understand the customs, language and currency of the country that you are visiting.
While on the plane, study a map of your destination and become familiar with street names and landmarks.
Try to dress like a local and blend in as much as possible. Don’t be the obvious tourist with a map and a lost expression.
Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
It’s best to stick to populated, public areas, although these have the danger of pickpockets.
To avoid pickpockets and muggers, carry a waist bag looped through your belt loops, instead of a handbag or purse.
Monitor your surroundings constantly and walk with confidence, as if you’ve lived there your entire life.
Knowing the numbers of emergency responders is of utmost importance.
Ensure that you have local police and paramedics on your speed dial, and that you have the contact details for your country’s local embassy.
Knowing the location of the embassy, the nearest police station and the hospital is also vital.
In a worst-case scenario, it is best to have these contact details at your disposal.
It may also be good to invest in travel insurance, so that any emergency expenses will be seen to immediately.
Store your original passport and visa in a safe in your hotel and only keep copies on your person.
Jewellery is a no-no, although a plain wedding band (whether real or fake) might dissuade some unwanted attention.
Avoid walking with large amounts of money or cards. Carry only one bank card and enough cash for your activities for the day.
You should also keep digital copies of all documents (including copies of your credit cards) in the Cloud in case of emergencies.
While it’s unlikely that your passport will be stolen, it’s always good to have backups stored in a secure online server or drive.
You don’t want to end up stranded in a foreign country without your passport or visa.
Meeting new people is half the fun of traveling.
However, it’s best to be cautious, especially if your ‘friends’ are buying a round of drinks.
Watch your glass being poured and don’t allow it out of your sight until you’ve finished it.
It’s the unfortunate truth that women must consider the possibility of being drugged whenever we go to a party or club.
Be smart, and don’t allow yourself to become intoxicated.
If you feel threatened at all while in a public place, find the nearest official looking person and tell them your fears.
Always trust your instincts and report suspicious behaviour; it’s better to sound paranoid than to be harmed because you feared looking like a fool.
The terrible truth of our current world is that we as women must take extra precautions from the moment we step outside our front door.
We have learned the habit of keeping keys between our fingers and mace in our pockets.
This is not to say that you should stay trapped inside your home for the rest of your days.
Go out and explore the world. Travel across oceans and through rainforests if that is your desire, just leave the rose-lenses at home.
Yes, the world is beautiful. But it’s also dangerous.
I hope you conquer it. I hope your next destination is everything you want it to be.
Kayla studied Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Management Marketing at Boston Business College in Cape Town. She is currently on a very exciting journey of becoming a travel writer through enhancing her skills by writing about safaris, adventure and travel tips.