Travelling alone can be an intimidating experience for some women. There are, however, several precautions that you can take before arriving at a new or foreign destination that can help reduce the chances that you'll experience uncomfortable situations and attempts at crime. Learning languages, customs and the current climate for illegal behaviour of any particular region can give you an advantage over would-be criminals. With the right precautions and support system in place, you'll be able to travel without incident, and get the most out of the location you're visiting. Read the following tips for more information about how to stay safe while travelling.
Check the internet and your government's official international travel websites for up-to-date information about the regions in which you intend to travel. These sources can give you information about current social and political climates, and can help you decide if excursions there are safe. For example, in recent years, India has been reported as being a hotbed for sexual assaults on women. Knowing current information about crimes on women and tourists can give you what you need to avoid common dangers that female travellers face. Brush up on popular scams that locals expose tourists to. Read about travellers' experiences and learn how to react to these scams or avoid them altogether. Know your options for medical care. Register your trip with the government and the Canadian embassy of any country you travel to. Keep friends and family up-to-date on your whereabouts and activities.
- Always check to see a country's reputation for sexual assault against women tourists before travelling.
- Know where all emergency medical establishments are before arriving at your destination.
- Learn which scams to look for out in any particular region.
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Know the customs and traditions of the area to which you are travelling. Some places have distinct gender roles and dressing rules. At best, showing too much skin can offend locals, and at worst, can be interpreted as suggestive. In some countries, it can be appropriate to adopt the dress of the locals as a sign of respect and an attempt at modesty. Similarly, you may want to research acceptable behaviour in your visited region. Find out which words and actions can be considered inappropriate: realize that many of the everyday gestures common in the Western world might be considered vulgar in a foreign country. When you arrive at your destination, take cues on behaviour from other traditional and local women. Despite these guidelines, however, many tourists can find themselves subject to aggressive flirting or outright harassment. If you experience this, consider whether ignoring the behaviour or making a scene is the proper course of action. Each of these responses can have their benefits, and can likely stop unwanted advances.
- Dress in a manner that is appropriate for the region.
- Do what you can to avoid sexual harassment. You can opt to pretend that you're busy or make your displeasure known to other individuals around you.
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Exploring a new locale can be a better experience with a trusted companion from back home. Aside from increasing your chances of having fun, partnering up with a friend can implement an instant "buddy system" which can give you an advantage in staying safe. If you can't find a friend to travel with you, consider making acquaintances with other tourists who you meet at hostels, hotels, or other public places. Giving the impression that you're with a group or married can also help you, if you find yourself in a jam. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to convince others that you are not alone, stay close to a group of individuals, like a family, or a turn a ring inside out on your ring finger so that it appears that you're married and are waiting for your significant other. When shopping or otherwise walking around a new city, consider storing your money and personal effects in a messenger bag with a strap long enough to cross your body: purses that hang off your shoulder can be easy to snatch.
- Try to visit a new country with a friend so that you're never alone.
- Find ways to give the impression that you're travelling in a group to reduce the instance of crime.
- Invest in a wedding band to advertise that you're part of a couple or group.
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One of the best things that you can do when travelling to a different country or exposing yourself to strangers is to remain confident. Confidence has a reputation for deterring those who seek to victimize others, because those with strong wills can be difficult to manipulate. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and refrain from knowingly walking into dangerous situations. Try to avoid venturing out into new places after dark. If you decide to drink alcohol, purchase the drinks directly from the bartender yourself, and never allow them to leave your hand or your sight. Never tell anyone where your lodgings are or inform them that you're alone in your room. For extra protection, consider packing small instruments like a safety whistle and a doorstop to wedge against the entrance of your room to help deter intruders.
- Always remain as confident as possible when moving in public.
- Avoid situations that could put you in danger, such as allowing strangers to handle your drinks or exploring at night.
- Pack items, like door stoppers and wedges, for extra protection against intruders and assailants.
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By: Walter Zeiss