Traveling for business can be a great adventure, especially when you get down time in a beautiful foreign city like Paris or Hong Kong. But traveling for business can pose threats, too. And, whether fair or not, women are sometimes more threatened than men when traveling for work.
Below, you’ll find several travel safety tips for women on the road for work. But know that anyone can be a victim if they don’t take the right precautions. The 7 travel safety tips listed below can be just as helpful to men traveling alone as to women.
1. Hide Your Valuables
Hide your valuables both in your hotel room and on your person when out and about. Most hotel rooms that accommodate business travelers will include a safe — use it for any personal items of value that you plan on leaving in your room.
While out and about, never show a large amount of cash. In fact, it’s often easiest to take with you just a personal credit card or two, and to keep them in your pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. You may want to carry a few bills of cash to cover incidentals, but just having a credit card is often enough to get by in major cities.
2. Stay Safe in Your Hotel
Maybe you take the stairs at home just to stay active. On the road in an unfamiliar place, you need to use the elevator. Why? Because you always want to be in heavily trafficked areas. Hotel stairwells are often poorly lit and empty.
Other ideas for staying safe in your room: use your first initial only when checking in, always ask for a room change upon check in, never accept a room on the ground floor, never put your name on a door hanger (like an overnight breakfast order form), and always leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door when you’re out. Business Insider shares more tips for staying safe at your hotel.
3. Plan Your Route
As a traveler, you never want to look like you’re lost — especially at night. So take time to plan your route beforehand. Check a map before you go, and always put the map away rather than leaving it out in your room. Also, take advantage of a GPS-enabled mobile device to keep you on track as you go. If you do get lost, do your best to look as though you’re not lost. Keep moving until you find a place where it’s safe to ask for directions.
4. Consider Your Attire
You want to look professional when traveling for business. But make sure to consider your attire in a different way when traveling in unfamiliar places. First, stay away from high heels, tight skirts and other shoes and clothing that make it hard to walk briskly — or to run, if needed. Also, skip the long necklaces and scarves, which are easy to grab. Stick to comfortable, professional attire that’s also easy to get around in.
5. Blend In
When traveling in foreign lands, you’re going to encounter different styles and customs. You don’t need to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe before you go, but it’s always a good idea to match the styles and adhere to the customs as best as you can. This is good for safety, and it’s also a good way of doing business in different cultures.
Also, though you may be alone, never look as if you are alone. Look confident, keep your head up, and stick to surrounding crowds. If someone strikes up a conversation, avoid letting anyone know you’re traveling alone or that it’s your first time in the city or country.
6. Watch Your Food and Drink
Keep an eye on your food and drink — literally. It’s a terrible thing, but some predators are known to drug unattended food and drink in order to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. So, enjoy the local fare, but also make sure you’re watching it.
7. Be Wary of Strangers
You want to be friendly with the locals wherever you go, but don’t make friends too quickly. It’s best to talk to and spend time with people you’re doing business with when traveling domestically or abroad. Strangers who are kind and who try to strike up a quick relationship may not have your best interests in mind. And, certainly, never put yourself in a situation where you’re alone with someone you don’t know when traveling for business.
8. Trust Your Instincts
More than anything, you should trust your instincts when traveling. If a situation feels wrong to you, get out of it. If you find yourself in a hotel that is in a bad location, that lacks security or that serves guests who make you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to switch hotels. If you’re given a rental car that doesn’t look reliable or that lacks the safety features you want, ask for a different vehicle. And, it’s worth saying again, watch your food and drink at all times. Only dine and imbibe at places that put you at ease.
Be on High Alert in These Dangerous Spots
Trip.com provides country travel safety ratings. While you can find yourself in a compromising situation no matter where you go, be extra careful when traveling in the following countries:
- Egypt: The U.S. State Department has warned American travelers about visits to Egypt due to political unrest and terrorist activity.
- Morocco: Morocco is a haven for petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching. Keeping your belongings close is particularly important for Morocco travel safety.
- Jamaica: While popular resorts are mostly safe, venturing into the hearts of cities like Kingston and Montego Bay can be more dangerous for those traveling alone.
- India: The U.S. State Department has warned about traveling in India due to targeted terrorist attacks in public places. India travel safety means always being alert and aware of what’s going on around you.
- Peru: Peru’s big cities are known for car jackings and kidnappings, as well as credit card fraud and petty theft.
- Bahamas: The U.S. State Department has rated the criminal threat level in the Bahamas as “critical,” including instances of sexual assault and armed robbery.
- Colombia: Both petty crime and kidnapping can occur in urban and rural areas in Colombia, which is why the State Department warns against travel in Colombia.
- Ecuador: This is one country where you want to be extra careful about locking up belongings in your room due to the instances of hotel theft.
- Turkey: Like Egypt, Turkey is a country that has experienced a great deal of political unrest in recent years.
- Guatemala: Americans can be targeted in Guatemala simply because of the assumption that they have more money than others. Again, for Guatemala travel safety, keep your money hidden at all times.
As mentioned, anywhere in the world can become a dangerous place if a traveler is being irresponsible. Make sure to pay attention to State Department warnings and alerts before you travel, and always use common sense travel safety tips when you’re in the countries listed above — or anywhere.
Get the Expert Guidance You Need for Business Travel
Business travel need not be an excruciating, dangerous experience for men or women. At JTB Business Travel, we work with companies around the country who make significant investments in corporate travel — and who expect a significant return on those investments.
As your comprehensive corporate travel agency, we provide the guidance, tools and resources needed to keep travelers safe while also ensuring their trips are worth the cost.
Contact us today about our services as your comprehensive business travel agency.