Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Travel Safety for Women

Don’t let one mistake spoil your travels

A recent stay at a hotel in Buffalo opened my eyes about hotel safety issues. After checking in, taking the elevator to my floor, I opened up the door to my assigned room only to find someone else’s belongings scattered across the bed. I closed the door and retreated to the front desk for another room assignment.

The person at the front desk told me there’d be been a mix-up and apologized. But her explanation left me with more questions. How could this have happened? Don’t hotels have a bullet-proof process in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening?

stay safe when traveling aloneWhile I’m grateful the occupant of my first room wasn’t in residence when I entered, I began to think of what I’d do if role had been reversed. What if someone entered my room while I was in the shower – or worse, just emerging from the shower? What if I wasn’t there and the unexpected guest decided to rifle though my belongings? What if?

As a woman who travels alone a lot, I take hotel safety very seriously. Needless to say, my sleep that night was restless. Not only did I not feel safe, I felt my concerns were dismissed far too quickly by the hotel staff.

Hotel safety for women

I’ve been traveling by myself for business more than 10 years and I truly believe there are more people in this world who want to help than those who mean harm. And relying on the kindness of strangers isn’t a bad plan – when you’ve done everything else right.

But that doesn’t mean I take travel safely lightly. If you’re considering your first solo trip or need a refresher on safety tips, browse through my safety strategy:

Get higher – Never accept a room at street level. Having a window or balcony that’s accessible from the street (in some parts of world) is asking for trouble when you’re a solo female traveler.

take the next elevatorTake the next elevator – This might be a no-brainer but never get in an elevator with a man you don’t know. A friend of mine did this once. As she stepped off the elevator, he followed and walked past her room as she entered it. Then he called her from his room to proposition her. Inappropriate but not illegal and the only solution was to give her a new room – at 2 am.

Chain the door – After my recent hotel experience, I keep my door chained when I’m in the room at all times – not just when I’m sleeping.

Don’t answer the door – It might seem silly but if I didn’t order room service, I don’t answer the door before I call down to the front desk. Anyone can dress up as an employee and wander a hotel unnoticed.

Be confident – Before I step out of the hotel, I know which direction I’m heading and I move with purpose. Looking lost or confused puts you at the target of pickpockets and other predators.

drink responsibly at all timesDrink responsibly – I love lingering over drinks after dinner, but if I’m traveling alone those drinks are carefully paced. Getting tipsy while traveling alone is like pasting a big sign on your back – weakened defenses here for the taking.

Choose help carefully – Confident or not, I still get lost. A lot. But I’m careful who I approach for help – families or couples are safer than a single male. If I’m really lost, the safest option is always to step inside a store and speak to an employee.

Travel safety for women is not about paranoia. It’s about being practical. When I travel alone, I’m responsible for my own safety and being aware of my surroundings and smart about my actions has kept me safe.

How do you stay safe when you’re traveling? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation!

Related Stories

Rate This post

Comments

Love this - as a professional speaker I often travel to places where I am unfamiliar and do not know anyone at the venue. I am taking this to heart!

Hi Julia, Great blog post. I've had that happen to me as well although I was traveling with my husband at the time. One other thing to be careful about is the peep hole in the door. If there isn't a cover then tape the peep hole with duct tape (handy fix it tape we bring on every trip ;) or a post it note. All these tips apply to traveling on a cruise ship as well.

Hi Joanne, thanks for stopping by to read and for the great tip! The cruise ship idea is interesting - people think they're safer because they're on a ship but it's not true. Theft, rape and all that can happen anywhere. Stay safe!

Post new comment




GoGirlfriend Recommendations

Connect With Us

Twitter
Facebook
YouTube

Register

Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

Already a member?
Login

Not a member? Join!
Register


Most Recent Comments

  • On Wine Tour in Hollywood, Carmel Valley, Patricia said "I love Holman Ranch! I've had the opportunity to visit twice, and each time I discover something new that makes me fall more in love. This time we got to try out Will's Fargo and take a hike up the road above the vines and the olive trees. After reading this I really want to go back!"
  • On When Foodies Travel with Non-Foodies, Brooke said "Good tips for traveling with anyone and figuring out how to compromise your individual travel tastes and styles. It's never easy to come to an agreement, but it is helpful so you both enjoy the trip. I used to the kind of traveler who ate food for functioning, not for enjoying, but I've definitely changed and find a new food to love from every journey!"
  • On Be a (Paid) Travel Writer and/or Blogger, Ed Cuffe-Adams said "Lovely post - all true! I've been casually travel writing for about 7 years and stepped it up in the last 6 months after lots of 'giving writing away' and refining a style. Now looking forward to my first paid article being published next month :-) "
  • On Bucket List Travel, Sue Kenney said "I have walked the Camino de Santiago 11 times now, 3 times solo and each year I coach a group of people to walk 225kms over 11 days. We leave again in May 2015. Still a couple of spots left if anyone intersted..."
  • On What’s Love Got to Do with Travel?, Maria Falvey said "Fantastic tips - I prefer urban settings and believe that time is money since I can't usually spend more than 14 consecutive days away, care that room has a decent view and free WiFi is always a plus - beyond that I don't much care what the property has to offer. However, If I didn't tell you, how would you know? Great post for friends or lovers. "


Blogs We Love

beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we attend Canada's Women In Business conference in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.