If you are a woman and safety concerns are stopping you from traveling, this is for you. Take heart and follow these tips to enjoy a safe and fun trip. As the veteran female traveler Zahara Heckscher said, "Stay safe but don’t stay home!"
How to avoid theft?
Thieves are most likely to target women. Avoid deserted areas to prevent theft. You may not be entirely safe in crowded areas either. The best way is to remain alert and watch the people around you. Do not display too much wealth in front of strangers. Also consider ways of hiding your cash in inconspicuous places.
How to avoid unwanted male attention?
It is always advisable to follow the local dress code. You may invite unwanted attention by wearing clothes that offend native sensibilities. While the women will censure it, men will consider it as an invitation to flirt. Prolonged eye contact is also considered as an invitation. Wear a head scarf in Islamic countries. Sporting a wedding ring is an old trick.
In developing countries, a married woman is considered as off-limits so you could buy a cheap wedding ring to do the trick.
What if touched or groped?
You must protest loudly if you are being groped or touched improperly in a crowd. Learn a few sentences in the local language to avoid miscommunication and make your protest known. Keep a pepper spray handy to ward off trouble. In some countries, the police may not be of much help so be prepared to run! So no high heels on deserted streets when it’s dark!
What if you've been raped?
Don’t think that it’s your fault. It’s a crime. So go to the police station and file a complaint. If the police not co-operating, head to the hospital and seek help from your embassy. Don’t take shower before going to the hospital as you may destroy evidence. Also be aware of date rape drugs and avoid them.
The bottom-line is to be alert and confident. Do not let strangers think that you are new or lost. Use a good deal of common sense and exercise caution. That’s all you need to enjoy your next international travel!