By Evelyn Masaba
Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of women traveling alone all over the world.
For women traveling to new locations, there are a number of things you have to consider, especially if you do not know about the destination’s social-political environment.
We asked our ladies at Jovago to tell us what they do to feel safe when traveling and here are some of their tips:
Research and more research
It is very important to always do research about the country you are going to, not just from the internet but from people who live there so that you get to know about the cultural and social norms in the area. Don’t use just one site for your research; go to several sites especially blogs written by locals for they will always have firsthand information about the place you are going to.
Before you leave, it is safer to have a friend in that country that you have known for a while who will take you around if you cannot afford hotel guides and who will help you save on spending too much.
Always make sure you pack only what you will need, something that is suitable for the weather in your destination and at the same time decent enough for certain areas where women need to be covered up, such as the UAE.
Register with the embassy
When you arrive at your destination, do check in with your country’s embassy and leave them with your contacts and location for emergencies.
Be careful with your money
Do not keep your money in one place, keep some loose change in the bag and on your person when touring a busy city just in case your purse is snatched especially when in the not-so-safe areas.
Don’t ask just anyone for directions
When asking for directions in a new place, do not ask anyone you meet on the streets. Always ask people who you can easily locate again just in case you get lost such as security guards and mark certain important landmarks in the areas that you are travelling to.
Pretend you are not alone
Never show people that you are alone, always keep the ruse going that you have other companions you are meeting up with or waiting for you in your room at the hotel or wherever you are staying.
Choose a hotel in the city centre
When picking a hotel, go for those in the city centre close enough for you to access transportation and well lit at night for you to come back in the wee hours in case you get to have a late night around town with new friends. As for cheaper options, pick a hotel with the most reviews.
Have soft copies of your travel documents
It is very important to always have soft copies of your travel documents made and saved up somewhere just in case you lose the hard copies.
Share your itinerary with people back home
Before you leave home, share your itinerary with someone and make sure you inform them of any unscheduled changes that come up along the way. Keep them informed of your whereabouts during the journey every day and inform the hotel too.
Avoid dark places
As a woman traveling alone, avoid moving in dark areas alone at night or secluded places. It is also important for you to always drink moderately when you go you are out with your new friends or alone so that you can have your wits around you when finding your way back home.
Pack a power bank that lasts longer than your phone battery so that in case your phone battery gives way you stay online and when updating your social media leave the GPS location remains on. It makes it easy for you to be tracked and found — just in case something happens.
Lastly, have fun and try to blend in. You might not like it but always try to dress like the locals for you to easily blend in and not always stand out on the streets. It is very easy for pickpockets to know who the tourist is in their territory.