Have you ever been concerned about your safety or the safety of a destination, as a female traveler? Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you are not alone. This post was inspired by a real life event, that happened to a close friend of mine, who will remain unnamed. Often times, it is one of the first things I consider, when doing my travel research. When traveling solo it is a top priority, but these tips can be applied in all circumstances.
The Swiss Cheese Fairytale:
There are some fairytales that may have holes in them, like a piece of Swiss cheese. This fairytale starts, as the many that came before it…Two people meeting on an island adventure getaway.
“Well known islands are safe places to travel, aren’t they?”
They have chemistry, similar likes, dislikes, and a connection, that almost feels like a soul connection. It feels as if they were destined to meet, and the attraction is undeniable. Alcohol is involved, and poof, inhibitions dissolve away, like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. They met out with a group of friends. Her friends and his friends. They had cocktails, drinks, dinner, and dancing. Everyone had a blast, and got along great!
One of the first things that happen when traveling, is we let our guard down. When we let our guard down we can place our safety, at risk. Plain and simple. We are in a new beautiful, exciting, place, and everything is wonderful! The novelty of being in this type of “shangri-la,” can have a negative impact, on our usual level-headed, intuitive selves. This is exactly what happened to my friend…
When the end of the night came (which no one ever wants it too), everyone parted ways, and the couples went off on their own. My friend encountered a situation that put her safety at risk, as a female traveler. I know she is not the first to put herself in unsafe circumstances, and she won’t be the last.
Maybe he had a drinking problem, and blacked out, but his behavior was inexcusable. This man became extremely aggressive with his advances towards her, and she arrived back at our place, covered in bruises, from his attempted assault. She was thankfully, ok, and made it out of the situation safely, but things could have been much worse. I will spare the details, but this seemingly perfect guy, turned out to not be so perfect.
“He was a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide.”
I can’t tell you how thankful I was, that she arrived back with us safely. A bit shook up, but she bounced back and learned a vital lesson.
Her story inspired me to write this, and made me realize how important it is for people, and females, in general, to guard their safety, when traveling. I would like to pass these safety tips, and suggestions on to all of you.
So you think you met Prince Charming:
1. Safety in Numbers:
Now I know what you might be thinking; you’re saying: “but she did go out in a group!” What I’m saying here, is that she didn’t stay in the group. This is one of the first, and most important aspects of traveling safely. You are not in your home town. You are not familiar with your surroundings, or how to get around. You may not just be able to leave and grab a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or go to your car. You are in a place that is completely unfamiliar, and you don’t want to ever put yourself in circumstances like that. You have no way of really knowing much about navigating around, a situation like this can put your personal safety at risk, when you are this vulnerable and alone. Always try to go out in a group when you are in a foreign place, and you are meeting someone out, that you just met.
2. Plan a Day Date:
You are in an amazing new place! Since you have so many things in common, hook up the next day, and do something fun together. Again, don’t put yourself on a secluded jungle hike with just this other person, until you know them a bit better, but go explore together!
Find a waterfall hike that is a well traveled trail. Grab a surfboard, boogie board, or just go play in the waves. Go zip-lining! Go cliff diving! Go see some ruins! Have lunch at a cool local restaurant.
The possibilities are really endless, when you travel, and you can get to know each other better, in a safer more controlled environment. People will eventually show you who they are, and you can decide if you want to hang out again, all while doing this in a safe way. One that doesn’t put yourself or your personal safety at risk.
3. Connect in Real Life:
If you guys really have a great connection, link up on social media. Follow each other and connect. Develop your friendship first. If you don’t live near each other, social media is the perfect platform to continue developing this budding relationship. Chances are that once your trip is over, and you are back in your “real lives” again, you may start to feel different. Being on vacation paints everything to look like a fairytale. If things work out, then great! If not, you have a great friend in another place, that you might be able to meet up with again, at another time.
Arrival and Departure Times:
When traveling solo or with a group, it’s important to really pay attention to your arrival and departure times. You don’t want to arrive in an unfamiliar place late at night, trying to find transportation. You place your safety as risk, and that can be a truly scary experience, especially if you are alone.
1. Arrange for Transport:
If you are concerned about arriving late, just arrange for a car service, verified airport transportation, or hotel/guest house transport, to take you to your destination. You can safely find out all of these details ahead of time, before you even leave.
2. Stay within Walking Distance:
One of the other tips I implement quite often is to stay within walking or, “suitcase rolling distance“, as I like to call it, if you have further to travel upon arrival. Some destinations take multiple travel connections to get to. When it’s late at night, I don’t want to be navigating around unfamiliar streets, with a stranger leading the way. I always feel much safer, checking in somewhere close by, and saving the exploring for the morning. Most airports, ferry terminals, and even bus depots have a variety of options in different price ranges. So find something that fits your budget, and just stay there.
3. 24 hour Front Desk Check In:
This one is a big one! There are so many options for places to stay when traveling. Make sure the place you choose, has 24 hour check in, for your arrival. There is nothing worse than trying to navigate to where you are staying, and there is no one there to help. It can be really scary, and quite frankly unsafe trying to figure out where the keys are, and where your room might be in a dark deserted place. When you have 24 hour check in, you don’t have to worry about what time you arrive. Someone is always there, and you can safely check in to your room, guest house, or hotel of choice much easier and safer.
Challenge your Mindset:
1. Plan for Delays:
Speaking of arriving and departing times, always plan for delays. Plan for delays? Yep! So if you’re thinking you’re going to be arriving somewhere in the morning or early evening, and you have flight connections, be prepared that you may not. Flights and transportation get delayed all the time. You may not end up arriving until very late at night. If you can be proactive about this, and just think what can I do, if I don’t arrive on time, or very late? Would it be better to just stay where I am tonight, and just travel in the morning? Decide if this could potentially place you in an unsafe situation. You don’t have to do a lot of planning with this one. Just make sure you have a casual back up plan in the back of your mind…a just in case this happens kind of thing. That way if there is a delay, it won’t be such a monumental problem for your traveling experience, and you’ll be prepared to roll with the punches, so to speak.
2. Learn to be adaptable:
If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that you can never expect things to go smoothly when traveling. That’s part of the adventure, or misadventure if you will. Traveling can potentially be full of flight delays, missing baggage, and mistaken reservations,
“…but also filled with so many other wonderful things.”
It’s all about the journey, and if you plan a few safety fallbacks ahead of time, and learn to be adaptable, you won’t be so upset when things change. That doesn’t fix anything. Find a solution; there truly always is one. Adapt to your changing circumstances.
3. Be Smart:
Be smart and use your intuition. We are all equipped with a sense of intuition. We just sometimes don’t follow it, because we may be distracted or overwhelmed. Tune in to your inner self, and think ahead. Realize that you are in a foreign country, or place, and that automatically makes you a bit more vulnerable. You don’t usually know where you are or how to get around. Do you really want to put yourself in a position, where you might feel threatened, or you want go home, but don’t know how to get there?
Taking a moment to think about things, and coming up with another plan or option, is an important aspect of staying safe when traveling. Don’t let a potentially wonderful trip, become tainted by an incident, that could have could be avoided, by placing your safety at risk. You are building memories, and you want them to be good memories.
Wrapping it all up:
Utilizing some of these tips laid out above such as; arranging for transport, staying nearby, having a 24-hour check in, and planning for delays, will help guide you to safely navigate a new place. If you use these tips on your arrival and departure days, it can help get you acclimated and ready for the adventures of the next day, even if that does entail a bit more travel. If you do meet someone that you like, make sure that you either go out in a group, plan a day date, and just connect in real life. If you are adaptable and use your innate smarts and intuition, you can plan ahead for changing circumstances.
If unforeseen travel mishaps happen, you are prepared. So what, if you already booked somewhere else, and feel like you have to go there, because you already paid. Your safety is much more important! Did you splurge on something recently? An expensive pair of shoes, purse, dress, or whatever it may be. Was it worth it? I can tell you you’re personal safety is definitely worth the extra expense!
Female travelers that follow these tips, can safely travel confidently around the world, just as if you were traveling to the next town over. Following these suggestions can help you avoid putting yourself in potentially unsafe circumstances. I hope that you will be able to better plan and execute your next travel adventure safely, and with ease, by following some of these safety tips. Until next time…
Wishing you happy and safe travels!
Feel free to comment if you have suggestions or additional safety tips, that you use, so that you can help others too.
Follow your arrow wherever it points!
~ Mary Cate XoXo
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