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6 Travel Safety Tips for Women

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Travel safety tips to best prepare and protect yourself during travel

Before even hitting the tarmac there are dozens of small decisions that any Belle preparing for solo travel will have to make.

And for Travel Belles of any age, nothing is more important of a consideration than personal safety.

Your most important safety decision will be choosing safe accommodations.

Getting on TripAdvisor to read a few reviews and get a sense of price is always a good first step. Ask yourself questions like, “Why is this hotel in a different part of town $100 less than this one over in this neighborhood?”  Get in touch with a friend or a friend of someone you know who is intimately familiar with the place you want to visit.

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While you are checking into your hotel, always grab two of the hotel’s business cards that you will keep on your person everywhere you go. Keep one in your wallet, and one in your pocket. There are all kinds of scenarios where you potentially will be glad you did this, from getting lost to injured to robbed.

Upon entering your hotel room give things a quick inspection. Be sure all door deadbolts and locks on windows (especially on lower floors) operate correctly. Do not hesitate to ask to switch if something doesn’t seem quite right.

Dress for the destination

You know we approve of things around here like wearing a scarf a la Grace Kelly or an Audrey Hepburn LBD, but not just for the reasons you think. Some degree of blending in with the locals instantly makes you less vulnerable, keeping away all kinds of unwanted attention.  Additionally, when you are dressed well and appropriately, you will naturally carry yourself confidently and are much less likely to be directly targeted as a tourist.

What has been considered appropriate attire for women varies widely from country to country? Out of respect to your host culture, research what is the acceptable manner of dress for the destination. Keep things simple and unless you are scheduled to do something where it is really necessary and staying in a hotel with a safe in the room, leave any fine jewelry at home. 

Regardless of what country you’re visiting, traveling as light as possible softens the impact of almost every emergency from a sprained ankle to a robbery.

Scan all important documents

Scan or take pictures with your smartphone of your passport and email to yourself. While you’re at it, email all confirmation numbers, itineraries and international telephone numbers for any credit cards to yourself as well or organize them in a folder in an internet app such as Gmail. As long as you have that smartphone in your hand, take a picture of your purse and your suitcase. You’ll probably never need them, but they could come in handy if either were ever to get stolen.

Plan your purse

Having your purse snatched can happen to anyone, anytime, and can happen very quickly. Consider taking a pocketbook that you can wear across your body that lies flat against you in front, with zippered, easy-access compartments.

Get down tonight, keep radar up

Know your own limits when it comes to consuming alcoholic beverages and know that just the way food calories still count, your tolerance for them does not magically go up just because you are on vacation. When traveling solo, go out in groups when heading into unfamiliar territory, but resist going along with the crowd if you feel your “just say no” radar go up. Your group of new BFFs may all be lovely people, but possess the common sense of the Lohan family.

Statistically, grandma was right: rarely do good things happen after midnight. Most robberies and muggings take place after midnight between 3 am and dawn. Tempted to wander empty streets looking for an ATM or catch a ride with someone you just observed as likely being drunk? Don’t do it. Just because something feels safe at the moment doesn’t mean it is.

Go ahead and talk to strangers… selectively.

One of the great pleasures of travel is “talking to strangers.” Just be sure to do it intelligently and unless it’s in a candy shop, don’t accept candy from them! As grown women, this can come in the form of something very tempting and harmless looking such as a glass of wine or pretty cocktail. If you don’t want to appear rude, accept it politely, and then avoid taking one bloody sip of the thing.

Unfortunately, many popular tourist destinations are full of teams of people who make a decent living by preying on distractible tourists. Instead of allowing this to dishearten and discourage you from traveling, remember to project confidence whenever you step out of your hotel room. Act like you own the place, or at very least avoid standing in the middle of the sidewalk thumbing through a guidebook or rummaging through your purse.

Safe travels!

Photo property of and by the author.

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About the author

Margo Millure lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a portrait photographer, writer and founder of Travel Belles. Learn more about her at

5 thoughts on “6 Travel Safety Tips for Women”

  1. Great article, Margo, and one that we should all take to heart. I’d add one other safety tip related to purses. I’ve had my bag snatched twice, and recently bought one of those 17-pocket vests designed for women travelers. They keep an entire purse worth of stuff discreetly tucked into inside pockets. I might carry a daypack or tote with stuff I don’t mind risking, like water bottles and maps, or bulkier items like a change of shoes, but my valuables are out of reach.
    Karen McCann

  2. Such wise and good tips, Margo. I especially like your idea of carrying hotel business cards with you. How handy that would be if you got lost, separated from your friends, or just had a bit too much to drink. Very smart. 🙂

  3. Such simple and effective advice Margo, I agree on all points!

    I find it’s even better when hotel business cards are written in the local language if and when I’m in a non-English speaking country. I also try to divide my cash up and hide it in different places, just in case the unexpected happens 🙂

  4. Some great advice! Some of this I’ve never thought of, and I almost always travel alone!

    I would like to add the importance of researching and planning the trip before going, which I do extensively. It takes a load off, saves a lot of time, and saves you from falling prey to “overly helpful” locals if you know exactly where you’re staying, how you’re getting around, where you’re eating and what you’re going to do. You then spend your days doing what you came to do, instead of relying on strangers and becoming a target.

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