When it comes to travel, men and women may have the same reasons for heading out, but ultimately, a woman traveling alone has very different concerns than her male counterpart, ASTA notes in a new consumer media travel advisory.
“From safety issues to different cultural norms, women encounter a variety of unique challenges that can be avoided with a little advance planning and some helpful advice from an ASTA travel agent.”
“Travel is an adventure, but fear of the unknown shouldn’t keep anyone from fulfilling their travel dreams whether it’s with family and friends or on your own,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “By using your common sense and following some basic travel advice from your travel agent, the sky’s the limit.”
To learn how women can travel safer, ASTA has provided a number of useful tips, including:
Know Before You Go.
• 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.
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 your 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. Your travel agent 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. Consult with your agent about the best route to take.
• 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 travelers to contact a trusted ASTA travel agent at TravelSense.org and get professional assistance and advice for their next trip.