They may be looking for a girls-only getaway with their friends, daughter or best gal-pal. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of them (us) out there. So if you’re gonna do it, you might as well do it safely.
There are many common sense things to think about don’t walk in strange neighborhoods after dark, lock your doors, don’t leave your valuables lying around, be alert, don’t wear flashy jewelry. But one of the most important things, especially when traveling internationally, is something most of us might never think of doing, and that is paying attention and adapting to the cultural milieu in which we travel, which includes an awareness of gender roles and expectations. Remember, you’re the visitor. If you stand out as one of those crazy Americans, the locals will shun you, or consider you a target.
You’ll get better results and feel more comfortable if you try to fit in with their culture. Don’t do anything you can’t imagine a local woman doing, and be aware of local attitudes toward women in the country in which you are traveling. Do women tend to wear concealing clothes in that country? Then you will want to avoid wearing short-shorts, plunging necklines or tight tank tops. Many women travel experts recommend wearing long, loose fitting clothes when traveling internationally, which also offers the added benefit of concealing money belts.
In some cultures, a woman traveling alone is considered to be available. If you want to ward off unwanted advances from foreign men, try wearing a (fake) wedding ring. And avoid eye contact with unknown men, as this may be construed as an invitation.
I’m not asking you to change who you are… just think about where you are.
Next month, some practical hotel safety tips. And in the meantime, don’t forget to visit driftersister.com and check out the many small-group tours for 2012.