Female Travel Safety Advice
Certain risks hold true for both male and female travelers alike.
- Vehicular incident
- Violent attack
- Health issues and Disease
- Beach related incidents e.g. rip currents
- Fire – accommodations/nightclubs etc.
So what risks are female travelers more vulnerable to? I believe two risks that female travelers have an increased chance of falling victim to verses male counterparts are;
- Violence (to include sexual attack)
Why are females more likely to be a victim of Criminal Attention?
The majority of criminals will try and focus on perceived ‘easy’ targets. It is generally assumed that women will not try and fight back and/or will be less able to defend themselves. Females are targeted more frequently because a majority of women carry purses or handbags which are much more accessible to criminals. In certain cultures, women are perceived as lower class citizens and therefore treated with less respect.
Why are females more likely be the victim of violence (to include sexual attack)?
A majority of violent attacks by men against women are often sexual in nature. Some motivations for these attacks stem from personal grievances, issues of control, and social disorders. Unfortunately motivations can also be purely opportunistic and deviant in nature. Therefore it is vital for one’s safety to eliminate these perceived ‘opportunities’ for criminals.
There are always going to be exceptions to the rules, but now that I have identified two main topics that put female travelers at higher risk let us now focus our efforts on eliminating these increased threats:
How can female travelers reduce the risk of being targeted by criminals and sexual predators?
Female travelers can adapt and minimize the chances of encountering threats. This is the underlying principal of travel safety. Identify the threat or danger early and prepare accordingly so as to minimize the risk. The trick is not to avoid travel, but simply to prepare and adapt to traveling as a female to maximize safety.
Know before you go
Research destinations and ask yourself the following question:
What are the main dangers of the country or cities that I will be visiting?
Crime, natural disasters, health issues and political instability are all things to consider. Though further research can provide more specific and current issues such as date rape drugs being utilized or a spate of recent muggings in certain locations. Study www.fco.gov.uk or www.smarttraveller.gov.au both great resources for travelers.
Time spent planning and preparing is never wasted. Don’t just look at the country but specifically at where you will be, region, city and town. With knowledge comes power.
Know a bit more before you go
We cannot over emphasize the importance of knowledge. Research your destinations using commercial websites, interact on chat forums, advice pages and blogs. The websites www.lonelyplanet and www.bootsnall.com are great sources of information. Learn from others mistakes and experiences. If you have the time and inclination go onto travel forums and ask other travelers about what they experienced in the locations that you will visit.
Plan accordingly and commensurate with risk
List the main dangers you have found from your research in points 1 and 2 and then ask yourself one further question:
How can I minimize these risks?
It is not just identification of risks that’s important. Learning how to react accordingly is vital. Professionals in all industries train constantly for what may happen, it should be the same for emergency preparedness when traveling. Consider taking travel safety training. Click here to see our web-based travel safety e-learning briefing specifically designed for travelers and full of useful information about how to identify threats early to avoid danger.
Think Situational Awareness
We should never walk around with our head in the clouds. It is vital to be aware of our surroundings at all times, to scan for danger and analyze risks constantly. Often those injured or killed in active shooter, terrorist and other incidents or accidents are those slowest to react. Situational awareness and threat detection provide valuable seconds to react, therefore increasing the chances of survival.
Never switch off
At no times switch off situational awareness. Always look for escape routes, always look at who is watching you. Our travel safety briefings teach how to learn and practice situational awareness and provide tricks of the trade to help keep you switched on.
Always wear a seatbelt
The biggest risks to travelers in foreign countries is vehicular accident. Even when on a bus, wear a seatbelt. There are many other risks related with transportation. Buses, trains, boats, rickshaws, mopeds all have a huge list of inherent risks associated to their use. Research and prepare, but whatever you do always wear that seatbelt. Never take chances with overland travel – it is the threat most likely to kill you!!
If one is patient, polite and affable then life just goes so much smoother. With patience, comes the ability to put up with perceived rudeness, inefficiency, delays, corruption and a whole variety of things that as travelers we may not be accustomed too. With patience comes the ability to avoid conflict.
Just as the above point in number 7. If you are kind to people then 90% of the time they will reciprocate. You smile they will smile back, if you are nice, they will also be nice. This opens so many doors to a traveler, meeting people, learning about secret local spots off the beaten track, meals with kind strangers and a host of other great experiences that come from interacting and being nice. It also avoids conflict.
Insurance may cost money that you don’t think you can afford, but believe me – when you need it you will be glad you opted for it. Hospital bills and medical evacuation costs especially in more remote environments that you may find yourself in can easily reach into the hundreds of thousand of dollars. It may be as minimal as a twisted ankle on a Glacier trip, or appendicitis in Africa. Either of those could cost you thousands of dollars if you don’t have coverage. Check the small print over and over again of any insurance coverage. The insurance companies will not be flexible or heartfelt when it comes to paying out.
Learn first aid
Off the beaten track or on the road less traveled you may find yourself in medical and first aid situations. Being able to care for yourself, friends and colleagues can significantly increase chances of survival in times of extremis. Learning how to identify, prevent, treat or diagnose the basics such as heat illness, travelers diarrhea and mosquito borne diseases are extremely important. Other life saving skills such as CPR and hemorrhage control should also be considered, especially if traveling in remote environments. Consider taking a first aid course or at a minimum learning the basics prior to travel.
Female Travel Safety Summary
This is just a basic list of tips that will help you stay safe whilst traveling abroad. Travel safety and security is a huge topic and one with many variables and standpoints. Every traveler both male and female should prepare before traveling. There are threats everywhere that could affect travelers’ – men, women, individuals or groups alike. Should these potential dangers prevent us from traveling? Absolutely not! What these potential dangers should do is motivate us as individuals responsible for our own safety, to prepare accordingly and educate ourselves before we head out on our adventures.