Women of today are bold adventurers. They are backpackers, business trekkers and eco-tourists. They are young, middle-aged and older. They could be your girlfriend, your sister, your mother, your daughter, or your grandmother. For all the diversity among today's women travellers, they share at least one commonality; the need to know how to stay safe while having a great trip. The following are some top tips for women to ensure a safer travelling experience.
Top stay safe tips for women travellers
Before you go
- In the know
Consider registering with the office for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. They offer a service where they'll contact you while you're away if there is a need to offer urgent advice during a natural disaster or civil unrest, or to inform you of a family emergency at home. Even if you opt not to register for this service you should:
- leave a travel itinerary and contact details with family or friends in Canada
- provide family with the emergency number for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- keep on hand the phone numbers for the Canadian government offices in the countries you plan to visit
Choosing your accommodations
- Good things come in small packages
The smaller the hotel, the more likely it will be that staff and guests will know that you belong and other 'non-guests' don't. In this way, visitors and loiterers will tend to stand out. You might also want to consider bed-and-breakfasts for the same reason.
- Location, location, location
On top of ensuring your hotel is located in a safe neighbourhood, you also want to make sure your room is too. Avoid booking ground-floor rooms or any room that has easy access from outside, such as from a balcony or fire escape. Book a room that is close to an elevator and away from exits.
- Double trouble
Take the trouble to ensure that your room will have double locks and a peephole. To be extra careful bring along your own rubber doorstopper for added protection. While we're on the topic of door safety, remember to never open your door to someone you don't know. Even if your visitor claims to be a member of the staff, check with the front desk to verify the person's need to enter your room.
On your way to your destination
- Go undercover
Use covered luggage tags and put your office address on them instead of your home address.
It is a good idea to go as unencumbered as possible. Try to minimize what you take with you and avoid using expensive-looking luggage which can mark you as a wealthy tourist. Ideally, you should be able to have one hand free at all times.
- The quick getaway
Back your car into your parking spot so that when you leave you can leave quickly because you don't have to back out.
- Safeguard your valuables
Rather than stowing your valuables in the luggage area above your head-or worse, in the luggage you've checked-put them in a secure waist pack that you'll keep on you at all times while travelling. Take your valuables with you, even when going to the washroom. When sitting in a restaurant or other public area, with your carry-on bag on the floor, put your foot through the strap. You will not only be alerted if someone tries to grab it but you also will be sure to not leave it behind.
Staying safe once your there
- Speed dial to safety
Either bring your own phone or rent one for the trip and make sure you program in a few of the local phone numbers you might need in an emergency like the police and your hotel. Don't forget to have your family contact information handy as well. You should keep in touch with them regularly so they know your schedule and where you are headed.
- Don't dress to impress
When travelling, keep it modest so as not bring attention to yourself. The aim is to blend in so you are not targeted as a tourist. Leave your jewelry at home and dress to respect local customs and acceptable attire.
- Work out worries
If you plan to take advantage of your hotel's gym facilities, make sure it has an attendant. You may make yourself more of a target in an unmonitored facility. If you're a jogger, ask the concierge for popular (and safe) running routes. Don't wear headphones, vary the times you go jogging and carry some identification in a wrist pocket.
- Sign signals
Your hotel's 'Do not disturb' sign can be used to make your room seem occupied while you are gone which is helpful if you have left valuables behind. Ideally though you should lock these valuables in the hotel safe. One sign you shouldn't use is the "Please Make up the Room" door hanger. Obviously with this one you give a clear signal that you are gone so it is better to just call housekeeping if you are unsure if they will be coming by.
- Night life
It is a good idea when going out at night to take precautions. Never accept drinks or food from strangers trying to befriend you. Try to walk around in well-trafficked streets. Make use of taxis and group sightseeing tours, wherever possible. As well, depending on where you are visiting know that activities you are accustomed to at home may be culturally taboo where you are visiting. Learn about, and respect local customs to stay out of harms way.
- Looks can be deceiving
People who intend to steal or harm you come in many all ages and appearances. Don't let your guard down when travelling. Be careful that you are not swept into a false sense of security based on looks alone.
Final travel tips
- Surf to safety
Cruise the Internet before you leave and learn anything you can about staying safe in the place you are heading too. For instance find out what you can about the culture, customs and role of women in the countries. Also, familiarize yourself with the any travel advisories/reports/warnings for your destination through the Consular Affairs website.
- Travel insurance
The last thing anyone wants to think about when planning a holiday is getting sick or injured, but when you are away from home even the most minor injuries or illnesses can become a major expense. So while an accident or illness can happen anywhere at anytime, emergency medical travel insurance helps to protect you from the unexpected costs that can come with a visit to a doctor or hospital outside of your home country.
Save up to 45% by shopping around
Like shopping around for the best price for your flight, hotel or rental car, getting travel insurance can save you oodles of money-not only if you require medical attention, but also if you have to suddenly cancel your trip, or your luggage gets lost or delayed. But not all travel coverage is priced equally. In fact some travel insurance policies are downright expensive. By shopping around for your travel insurance coverage, you can save up to 45% on your travel insurance costs. Compare quotes for a variety of travel insurance products-like trip cancellation, emergency medical or loss of/delayed luggage-from some of Canada's top competing travel insurers online through Kanetix. Click: travel insurance quotes for the coverage you need at the best price.