With some travelers opting to hit the road alone, it’s important to plan ahead for traveling safely, especially for women travelers adventuring solo. Here’s a list of summer travel safety tips to know before you head out alone.
Go on the “Down-Low”
Blending in when traveling is probably one of the most important travel tips I can share. Don’t wear clothes that make you stand out. Wear jeans, plain T-shirts, and sweatshirts, and try to stay away from bold colors; logos; and definitely anything sexy, short, and revealing.
Get to Know Your New Best Friend, The Concierge
The concierge is always the first person I connect with when I get to a destination. Why? Because most concierges offer a bevy of information about the area. They not only make reservations for you at restaurants and tourist attractions; they also provide area maps and can point out places to stay clear of. If your hotel does not offer a concierge, do your homework online and purchase a book on the local area.
If a hotel does not offer concierge service, find a one nearby that does. Concierges work off tips and are more than happy to provide information to travelers for a monetary exchange. More often than not, it’s well worth their insider information.
When traveling alone, or even with someone else, use only a first initial when checking in for your room information. Try not to get a room on the main floor. Inquire about the concierge level, which tends to offer more security. Always use the elevator — save the stairs for your workout at the gym! If you notice someone watching or following you, return to the front desk and/or notify any hotel staff immediately. Leave a television or radio on in the room even if you’re not there. Block the peephole on the back of your hotel room door. I use wet tissue or paper and stick it over the peephole when there is no tape in sight. Never leave your key where someone can glance at your room number.
Beware of Local Customs
Travels to a foreign country can mean a lesson in customs. So learn them. Many foreign countries adhere to a strict form of dress code, public displays of attention, and public behaviors. Make sure you know the rules before you go.
Lose the Handbag
Ladies, lose the handbag! Find a cute bag that is small and can be concealed when walking in crowded areas. Keep valuables such as money or ID hidden in undergarments, or simply leave them behind in your hotel safe. Leave flashy jewelery and designer duds at home — these items easily make you noticeable and a target.
Friend of the Friendless
Protecting your privacy starts upon take-off. If you’re looking for quiet time on the plane, bring headphones. Even the chattiest seatmate gets the hint.
Once at your destination, if approached for a photo or surrounded by a group of teenagers, beware: It’s the first sign of pickpocket thievery. When talking to locals, keep where you are staying to yourself, and do not share a last name.
Rental Car Savvy
Rental car companies have finally gotten smart and removed stickers that represent the company from their rent-a-cars, taking you off the targeted tourist list. Make it a habit to always lock car doors; remove electronic devices from plain view; hide any road maps that might tip off a carjacker; and book a vehicle with a trunk, a safe place to conceal luggage. Contact your car rental company before you arrive at your destination to inquire about insurance policies for theft and any additional tips to help make your travels safe, and note that each car company’s rules regarding insurance policies are different. Also, check with the U.S. Travel Insurance Association for more information.