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ASTA’s Tips for Women Traveling AloneOctober 5, 2009 By: George Dooley
Now more than ever, women are traveling by themselves for business or pleasure, ASTA says, offering timely tips for women traveling alone: Know Before You Go. The advice is part of ASTA’s ongoing series of consumer-targeted promotions for professional travel agents.
ASTA notes that although their reasons for traveling are similar to their male counterparts, women traveling alone have very different concerns. From safety issues to cultural variations, women travelers encounter a variety of difficulties that can be avoided if the necessary precautions are taken,” ASTA says.
“ASTA travel agents understand that both men and women need to be educated travelers, but women, especially, need to plan every step of their trip - from packing a suitcase to choosing a hotel room - to ensure a safe return,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo.
ASTA recommends that travelers learn as much about the destination as possible, especially when traveling to a foreign country. An area's religious or cultural beliefs can directly impact you, compelling you to adapt your dress and demeanor to comply with local customs.
Other key recommendations from ASTA:
Welcome to Hotel Safety
* Get to know the staff, who will be familiar with guests and are able to more effectively monitor who enters and exits the building.
* Ask for a room on a higher floor near the elevator but away from emergency exits, stairwells, and any renovation work.
* Never accept a room if the clerk loudly calls out your name and room number.
* While at the front desk, grab a card or matchbook from the front desk with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. This is especially helpful in foreign countries where you taxi driver might not speak English or in case there are several hotels with similar names in the area.
* Explore transportation options available at your destination ahead of time, especially if you will be arriving late in the evening. Travel agents can help determine the safest choice and make the necessary arrangements.
* If renting a car, carefully examine maps, or rent a GPS to help you navigate unfamiliar roads.
* Pack light so you won't be weighed down and look weighed down, both of which could make you an ideal target for pickpockets.
* Avoid expensive looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage tags with your office address written on it rather than your home.
* Carry only one credit card, and don't keep all your money in one place.
Know Your Surroundings
* Study a map of the area you will be visiting. If available, consider downloading area maps to your phone.
* Learn as much as possible about getting around the streets to avoid looking like a lost tourist.
* Ask the concierge about where - and, more importantly, where not - to go.
There may be safety in numbers, but there is also safety in knowledge, ASTA says. “With some advance planning and the advice of a professional travel agent, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle-free and memorable. ASTA urges consumers to contact a trusted ASTA travel agent at TravelSense.org and get professional assistance and advice for your next trip.