Personal safety and security for woman travellers

1. When travelling, particularly alone, leave an itinerary of your trip with a responsible person contacting them at pre-arranged times and dates. Ostentatious displays of money, jewellery, luggage and dress can encourage the wrong type of attention. When travelling be aware of where your luggage, particularly hand bags, are at all times. Do not leave them unattended or hanging on the back of chairs in restaurants.

2. Choose your accommodation carefully:

  • try and pick accommodation which is in a safe area;
  • request a room near the lift or stair well, not on the ground floor;
  • inspect the door locks and window fasteners;
  • never open the door to your room until you have identified the caller;
  • do not identify yourself on the telephone until the caller has done so;
  • keep your money and valuables close by you at night.

3. Be alert, listen to the advice of locals and fellow travellers, develop a street sense, try not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

4. In a confrontational situation a woman traveller is rarely a physical match for a man. So, the following rules can help:

  • Don’t turn a scary situation into a dangerous one if you can help it (e.g. it would be unwise to launch into a physical attack if the man confronting you just want your money – hand it over and avoid finding out what he may do if provoked);
  • Don’t panic or show fear or let the person confronting you to get the upper hand, try to gain psychological advantage throwing him off his balance i.e. compliance;
  • If you do find yourself in physical danger, try to anticipate the aggressor’s next move and plan ahead for it. As the innocent party in the confrontation you have the advantage of surprise, if you are forced to strike back physically, make sure it is a crippling blow that gives you a chance to escape;
  • If you are worried about your ability to gauge dangerous situations and to defend yourself then consider joining a women’s self defense course before travelling.