Travelling solo has become part and parcel of the careers of many businesswomen in the 21st Century, but quite often women can feel isolated and at higher risk when travelling alone, especially when travelling to faraway destinations. But is there anything we can do to make travelling solo, safer?
At Gray Dawes Group, we have recently partnered with Maiden Voyage, a network for professional women business travelers, aimed at helping them get the most of out of their business trips and enabling them to feel confident enough to explore and travel safely. Sadly, an alarming 1 in 4 businesswomen Maiden Voyage surveyed had experienced an adverse situation when travelling for work.
There are some fundamental differences which, unfortunately, present additional risks for women when travelling. These vary from certain legal and cultural restrictions which some countries have in place, to the simple fact that women tend to carry around their whole lives in their handbags. Guilty of the last point? Don’t worry – we were too!
We wanted to share with you some safety tips, in association with Maiden Voyage, to help make your next business trip a safer experience. These tips aren’t only for women – regardless of your gender, we’d recommend anyone bear these in mind as best practice travel tips for your next holiday or business trip.
- When packing for your trip make sure you keep paper copies of important information you might need, in case your phone gets stolen or lost. These include phone numbers of personal contacts, the local Embassy, your travel manager and even local emergency numbers.
- It’s also advisable to take photocopies of your passport, travel documents and insurance details in case these get misplaced.
- Remember, it pays to be informed. The more you can learn and understand about the culture of the country you’re visiting, prior to your trip, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel.
Staying in a Hotel?
- On arrival, be wary of the receptionist loudly proclaiming your allocated room number. If this does happen, don’t be afraid to politely ask to be re-allocated another room, and for your room number to be shown to you in a more discreet manner.
- Ask to book a room which is no higher than the 5th floor – in event of a fire, these are the safest floors to stay on, as most fire trucks can’t reach higher than the 5th
- Research your hotel and the surrounding area beforehand, or speak to your travel management agent to ensure that your hotel is in a safe location. Maiden Voyage offer their preferred TMCs access to their database of certified female-friendly hotels.
Booked a flight?
- When flying, remember that your luggage says a lot about you. It can be advisable to steer clear of designer label luggage, and stick to using plain, inconspicuous luggage.
- If you’ve arranged airport transfers, arrange a system to help you identify that you’re being collected by the right person. You can do this by either pre-arranging a password that they can give you, or making sure the person collecting you has a copy of the confirmation documentation.
Exploring a new city?
- Think about what’s in your bag, and how much it could be worth to potential thieves! Did you know your passport could be worth up to £10,000 when sold on the black market?
- Don’t carry anything that you don’t really need, either keep it locked up in your suitcase or preferably in your hotel room safe.
- If you’re using public transport or taxis in a foreign city, be sensible. Only use licensed taxi or minicab firms, and always sit in the back of the car away from the driver. If you use your phone whilst on a train, or in a taxi, be careful how much information you’re giving away about yourself.
- When walking around unfamiliar cities, walk confidently and with purpose – simple strategies such as walking tall, with relaxed arms and at a normal pace, can make you look and feel less vulnerable.
We hope these travel tips have armed you with some steps you can take to feel safer and more confident travelling alone on your next business trip. If you’re a frequent female solo traveler, we would highly recommend taking a look at the Maiden Voyage website for further information.
If you have any safety tips you follow religiously when traveling alone, then we’d love to hear them! Share them with us in the comments below, or tweet us @GrayDawesGroup.
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