Lately a lot of women have been travelling alone, both for business and leisure. It is simply normal, yet brave for women to make such a choice considering the increasing real life dangers that women face. A woman who travel alone or a woman travelling in the company of one or more women is almost always considered alone and vulnerable. People will always worry you with safety concerns. They are right, there are safety concerns for women. There is no point in denying their existence and it is lame to stop living your life the way you want to because of the safety concerns. It is always best to be careful and adopt these safety measures while on a trip alone:
Before you hop off to a new place make a thorough research about the place. With several travel assisting websites available these days, it is easy to get ratings and reviews about the place you are travelling to, the hotel, the neighbourhood etc. Inquire with people who have been there.
If safety comes at a cost, pay
Before leaving on a week long trip to Kolkata with my cousin, my husband asked to do two things: One, do not compromise safety for money. Two, see 3. In order to travel on a lower budget, never compromise your safety. Save on other things, but never on your safety. Remember, your safety comes first, always.
Buy a whistle
While travelling, always keep a whistle with you. Blowing the whistle has many advantages.It will buy you time in case of emergency, it will attract the attention of people in the neighbourhood, it will voice your scream for help and scare away the predator. Always keep it in an easily accessible place. Whenever I travel, I keep the whistle in my pocket or pocket of my handbag and will have my hand in the pocket all the time. This way I am always on my toes
Check in regularly with someone back home
Update someone back home about your movements. Before the Uber lifestyle began, I used to text the registration number of the auto/cab and the driver’s name to someone in the family or friends whenever I am on the move. Now, I book a cab or auto with Uber, Ola or Taxi for sure, because these are much safer and on top of that I take a screen shot of the window and send it to someone back home, just to feel safer.
Hard and soft docs
Take snaps of all your documents and put it in an online services like Dropbox, One Drive, which youcan access from any computer. Likewise, keep hard copies of emergency contacts, all your reservations and your itinerary with you. Just in case you lose your phone. Don’t lose your phone
Break down the cash
Don’t ever put all your eggs in the same basket. Keep some cash and your inevitable cards with you, some in your bag, some at the hotel and some among your sanitary pads. You don’t want to lose all of it at once. Also, it is advised to keep a Mugger’s Wallet with you with a small amount of money in it, in addition to your wallet. Thus if someone tries to mug you, just hand over this Mugger’s Wallet and he’ll be on his way.
I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to scream ‘rob me’ with two trolley bags, a duffel bag and a backpack. When you travel light, you can move swiftly. Don’t make yourself look vulnerable. Pack only those things you absolutely need. Here is a list of travel essentials you might want to keep.
Don’t trust people so quickly
I hope you have watched the Taken series. If you haven’t, go watch it now. The first part would be enough though. People are generally very nice. No everyone wants to mug you or hurt you. But don’t take chances. It’s okay to turn down help with your luggage or address.
Borrow The Invisibility Cloak
Be invisible. Do not draw a lot of unnecessary attention towards you. Dress like a local. Blend in, act confident, stand tall and walk with a purpose
Keep away from secluded place
Walk in crowded streets, travel in buses and trains which has other people and where you feel much safer.
Track your cab
After getting into the cab, track where the driver is taking you using maps on your phone. If you feel like he is taking you on a different route and not a short cut, call someone in the family or friends and let them know where you are. Ask the driver to stop. If he doesn’t, make him stop. Scream, attack. You know the drill.
Above all, trust your instincts and enjoy the trip
This is most important. There is nobody on Earth you could trust better than yourself. But you have to be true to yourself. In order to sink in a group on please other people, don’t ever try to convince yourself that it’ll be okay. If you are not comfortable in a place, leave
Despite taking all the necessary precautions, if someone attacks you, defend yourself. It doesn’t matter if the attacker is double your size or you don’t have any formal training in martial arts (It is always best that you take a self defence class, though), do everything you can to save yourself. Keep calm and think straight. You don’t want to waste all your energy on crying and fumbling and shaking like a leaf. Aim for the sensitive areas of the attacker: the eyes, nose, ears, knee, shin and groin. Be mean, really really mean and scream for help as loud as you can. Let the whole world hear you. It doesn’t matter if you get hurt. You still have a life to save, yours. Never ever give up.
It is possible for women to travel alone and stay safe. Always remember you are very valuable. So take good care of yourselves