Increasingly women are traveling alone, both for business and pleasure. While statistics are limited, an estimated 32 million single American women traveled at least once in the last year for business or pleasure, and a third of them made tracks five times or more, according to the Travel Industry Association.
Here’s a list of tips from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) that you can share with your women clients traveling on their own to make their trip a safe and pleasant one:
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. Also, what is regarded as sexual harassment in one country is part of the social fabric of another, so avoid form-fitting or revealing clothing to prevent unwanted attention.
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 beforehand if a member of the staff will be available to escort you to your room if you arrive late at night. 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 from the counter with the hotel's name, address and phone number on it, and keep this card on you at all times. Once inside your room, make sure the door has a peephole and a deadbolt. If it doesn't, make sure you don't open the door to someone you don't know.
Travel Documents. Make two copies of important travel documents—one set for the trip, and one for friends or family to keep at home.
Packing Smart. Pack light so you won't be weighed down and look weighed down, both of which would make you an ideal target for pickpockets. Avoid expensive-looking baggage and clothing, lock all suitcases and only use covered luggage 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.
Transportation. 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, write out directions in advance and bring along a cellular phone.
Know Your Surroundings. Study a map of the area you will be visiting. 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.
The Best Vacation Memories are Good Vacation Memories. There may be safety in numbers, but there is also safety in knowledge. With some advance planning and the advice of a professional travel agent, your vacation or business trip can be safe, hassle free and memorable.