From Acapulco to New Delhi — in tourist bars, hotel rooms, taxis and deserted streets, women are less safe than ever.
Traveling to see the world is exciting and entirely safe for most of us, most of the time. However, for us, for women, we move around the world with a different mind set, one in which we must consider the time of day, where we walk, who gets into an elevator with us, the safety of a destination, wearing form fitting clothes, and our behavior in a bar.
Bad things can happen in New York, Los Angeles or Paris.
The risks for women traveling requires that we read up on our destination before you go and be informed about precautions you can take. Another option to independent travel is to book a tour.
India and Mexico
The brutality of gang rape, taxi rape, and murder in India has led many women wondering if they should go at all. It has impacted tourism in India. It has also fueled a heightened state of danger for women traveling abroad.
Did you know that the percentage of rapes in Mexico is higher than in India? This is even more shocking when you consider that Mexico has one-tenth the population of India.
Before you go, search online for posts tagged “women’s safety, India” and read the most current reviews. A post that is over a year old is useless.
Organize your travel itinerary so you don’t arrive at night. Book a transfer from the airport or train station through your hotel or travel company so you will be met by someone reputable with a sign with your name.
Carry a cell phone. You can buy a cheap phone when you arrive or buy a SIM card for your unlocked phone. It is inexpensive to buy more minutes for your mobile phone. It will be your safety backup. Take a photo of the taxi driver’s registration, etc.
No “Nice Girl” Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself if you’re feeling uncomfortable. “When I traveled for 5 weeks alone in India, 2015, I learned that if a cabbie is acting weird, insist he stop immediately. Get loud.” says JC Sheppard.
No Tight Clothing. Dress conservatively. Consider the length of your skirt and the exposure of cleavage. Look at what the local women wear. Blend in. In India, wear a long scarf to cover your curves.
If you have to wait somewhere, such as a train station, look for other women or families to sit with. If you are seated with someone, it is unlikely that you will be approached or harassed. Ask for help or company if you feel uncomfortable.
Use your city smarts. Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dicey places like deserted streets. If you are alone, don’t walk down it. Having other people around can offer more safety.
After dark, don’t use public transportation or rickshaws,Use well known travel agents to book any kind of transportation or a guide. Unrepeatable scam artists linger around airports and train stations.
Use the buddy system if you go to a bar. It’s better to have two sets of eyes to watch for bad situations. Don’t leave without your buddy.
Get smart about Rophynol, “the date rape drug”, which is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. If a guy buys you a drink, don’t accept it unless you see the bartender pour it. Carry your drink around with you. Don’t leave your glass unattended to go dance or to the toilet.
Trust your instincts. Don’t do things you wouldn’t do at home: drink too much alone leave a bar with a stranger and go to his apartment, accept a ride from a stranger, walk in a dark, deserted street alone. If you have a small feeling that something is wrong, or “off”, get out.
How do you stay on top of travel warnings?
Check the State Department’s website for travel warnings before you head out; the site is regularly being updated and includes cautions about things like kidnapping, rapes, carjacking’s and gender-based violence.
It’s important to have different travel information sources available for planning and during travel (in addition to government website).
To read more:
New York Times Article, 2014
For more advice:
Safety Tips for College Students Going Abroad. http://alsunnah.info/travel-safety-tips-for-college-students/