Keeping Women Business Travelers Safe
Women now constitute almost 50 percent of all the business travel in the United States, and spend $175 billion on 14 million trips annually. Women also have safety concerns that men don’t. Here’s a collection of safety tips.
Place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door to discourage anyone from entering your room while you are away.
When staying in hotels, always check the window and door locks.
Make sure the sliding door to your hotel room is locked.
Use your baggage to hold the door to your hotel room while you check the closets. Even better, ask someone from the front desk to accompany you to your room while you check it out.
If the desk clerk mentions your room number out loud and there are other guests around to overhear, request that you be given a different room and that the clerk not mention the number.
Keep the curtains in your room closed.
If it’s very late and you’re alone, go to the front desk and ask security to walk you to your room.
For peace of mind when traveling alone, choose national hotel chains with interior room entrances. More and more women are also choosing small inns and B&Bs where the proprietors will know where they’ve been for dinner and when to become alarmed if they don’t return by a specific time.
When arriving at night, rental car agencies and hotels can arrange for someone to accompany you to and from parking lots.
When alone (particularly at night), walk with the crowd and act as if you’re part of the pack.
Carry your passport, plane ticket, traveler’s checks and cash in a concealed money belt worn around the waist.
Look and act confident. Get directions ahead of time and know your destination. If you are unsure of your location, act like you know where you are headed and get directions at a safe-looking gas station, cafe, etc.
Be aware of your surroundings (people, cars, doorways, stairwells, etc.) and have a plan in case you get into a dangerous situation.
On all flights, count the seats and rows to the nearest emergency exit. If there ever is a need to make an emergency exit, you will know exactly how far you need to crawl (if necessary) to reach the exit.
Travel with a small, high-powered flashlight in your briefcase when you’re out, and on your bedside table at night for emergencies.
Use laminated business cards as luggage tags. Anyone checking the address will not know your home address and telephone number.
Leave your good jewelry at home. Don’t draw attention!
Be proactive, not reactive.
Never volunteer the fact that you are traveling alone. Lie if necessary.
Plan your trip before traveling in a rental car. Do not reveal a map in your car with a marked route on it.
To ward off unwanted male attention, especially in male-dominated foreign countries, carry fake engagement and wedding rings to be used as necessary; make hotel reservations as if married.
Do not use room service breakfast door hangers because they ask for number of guest(s). You don’t want anyone to know you are alone.
About the Author: Marybeth Bond, the Gutsy Traveler, National Geographic author of 11 travel books, featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and founder of the Online Travel Magazine www.GutsyTraveler.com She has been featured over 1,000 times on TV, radio and print. She is a Contributor to CNN, CNN Airport Network and CNN.com Speaker, spokesperson, author, travel expert, Marybeth, the Gutsy Traveler walks the talk. She's an adventurer; biked two months across the USA, traveler to over 90 countries, media travel expert for CBS News, CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR and National Geographic.