For pleasure or business, single female travelers must be savvy
Women don’t let much hold them back, and travel is not exception. A business trip to Paris or a vacation on the Italian Riviera is not delayed due to lack of companionship. If a woman wants or need to travel, her bag is packed and she is off. Even in countries that are considered safe, such as Canada and England, a woman traveling alone needs to take certain precautions to ensure women on trip is a safe one.
Due diligence is important whether you travel solo or in a large group; research the place where you are going and get a grasp on the crime rate. Some places are obviously more dangerous than others, but peace of mind is available if you know, and are not just assuming. A bit of investigation makes sense.
When flying on an aircraft, or moving about in any public place, no matter how safe, here are a few tips for female traveller by themselves:
• don’t flash cash; if you must carry a large sum of cash, keep a small amount in your wall or handbag and the rest in another compartment in your carry-on luggage, so that when you pay for food or drink on the flight, you don’t show the entire amount of cash you have
• don’t wear gobs of expensive jewelry or provocative clothing; dress conservatively and leave the fur coat at home or pack it in your check-in luggage
• even if you’re not married, wear a plain gold band that will serve as a wedding ring; if you’re single and think you might meet Mr. Right in business class, then keep the ring in your pocket or wallet and slip it on when you need to ward off unwelcome attention
• pack light; you don’t want to be burdened by heavy luggage if you need to be quickly mobile to get out of a situation in which you are not at ease
• take taxis whenever possible and ask your hotel concierge where it’s safe to walk
• you have intuition; use it
When you arrive at your destination and check into your hotel, inform the desk that you are there on your own and would appreciate some level of monitoring. Before the Fairmont organization took over management of the venerable Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada, they had a special program and policies in place for single female guests, which included a set time to call the woman’s room each night to ensure she was safely in for the night. This policy may still be in place; check with you hotel or ask them if they will provide this service.
Do what pilots do, file a “flight plan”. Let someone at home know your precise itinerary and the times that you will check in with them; it may be wise to inform your hotel front desk or concierge about this as well so they can keep an eye on your whereabouts.
Women often have an uncanny sense of things being off kilter, and the best advice for solo female travelers is to never ignore that. You are not being silly or foolish if you don’t feel okay in a situation to get out of it. Better to be a little over-cautious than compromised. Part of the new freedom that women enjoy is independence, and that comes liberally when you stay alert and safe when traveling alone.