Thinking about our safety can make the strongest of the female change her mind about her travel plans. There sure are places where I don’t want to go to at the moment;  at the same time, I research and plan beforehand.

A great mindset to get the most out of your travels to different places is to have an open mind- not judging places and people from what you hear in popular media; it is biased a lot of times.

MINDSET:

Let me start by addressing this key issue first. We, as women, have to get this mindset out that we can’t go to places by ourselves because we are females. Sadly, some of us have been told this throughout our lives. There are countries where women need to have a male companion accompanying them, even if they want to step out of their house. Imagine how claustrophobic that feeling might be!

From experience of traveling to more than 55 countries for the past 19 years, I will tell you that no place is an absolutely safe place, be it New York or London or Dubai or New Delhi or Bangkok.

Know that you make your surroundings safe for yourself. Know things which are worth taking a risk and which are just plain and simple- useless.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

I like to have friends and family members around me when I travel; however, I do not shy away from taking group tours if they are far off places within a country or just meeting up a friend’s friend from that place.

Keep someone (be it your mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone who is concerned about your well-being) informed your location and movements 24/7. Nowadays, there is free WiFi at airports and restaurants that you go to; use it to send messages or make a quick WhatsApp call/ Skype call. Worst case scenario, I send text messages.

I keep sending these messages throughout the day at regular intervals (otherwise my mother will get paranoid :-P)

At the airport, comply with the immigration rules and regulations, but know your rights too. A place to be cautious is the arrivals area outside the terminal building. In a lot of countries, you will have people asking you if you need a taxi. Learn to sternly say NO to people with a straight face. I have never taken a taxi by myself, except in Bangkok, and that too during the day; I knew the hotel I was going to, and I had been there quite a few times.

I would usually take public transport or have someone from the hotel pick me up.

On my way to the hotel room, I’m very alert and I note the peculiarities of the place, especially near my room area- see how many hotel staff are standing there (they can be housekeeping or maintenance people or room service people).

When you enter your hotel room, keep the door open (I use my suitcase block it), and I do a quick check: look behind the curtains, under the bed (if there is space), balcony and bathroom; make sure that there is nobody in it.

If your room has a double lock or a chain, use it the moment you enter your room; this is now a habit for me. I also check that the windows can be locked from inside. Try to get a room on a higher floor.

Written by Aiena on 09th June 2018 in Tysons, Fairfax County, Virgina, USA

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