Archive for the ‘solo travel’ Category

would you take travel safety tips from a detective?

September 26, 2007

I found this interesting site that had a looong list of tips for women who travel. I found some of the tips pretty obvious, some I don’t agree with, and some a little over the top, but you be the judge. Anyway, here’s a list of my favorites:

CHOOSING A HOTEL

  • Smaller is smarter: you want the staff to be familiar with guests and with you. The smaller the lobby, the more noticeable the loiterers.
  • Aim for a well-trafficked street (neighborhood restaurants and late-night stores mean traffic, corporate offices mean darkness).
  • If you’re still concerned about the area, ask a female employee–not one in reservations–whether she walks around at night. (Call the restaurant, for instance.)
  • A reception and concierge desk near the entrance, and/or the elevators, is more likely to deter non-guest undesirables.
  • There should be privacy for guests checking in: no one should be able to overhear a name, room number, or other personal information.
  • Room numbers should be written on the key envelope, not mentioned aloud or inscribed on the key–this way, anyone finding your key won’t have access to your room.

ROOM RULES

  • The please make up this room sign tells everyone you’re not there. Call housekeeping instead.
  • Conversely, the do not disturb sign can make the room seem occupied (especially handy if you leave expensive items inside).
  • Lock valuables in the front-desk safe.
  • Stand near the elevator buttons with your back to the wall; if threatened, push all the buttons at once with your back.

STREET SMARTS

  • Study a map before going out; once on the street, use a pocket-size guidebook to avoid looking like a tourist. Your hotel’s concierge or a female employee can mark any dangerous areas on your map.
  • Dress down.
  • Avoid jewelry–even a chain that’s fake gold can be ripped off your neck. Do consider wearing a wedding ring.
  • Be wary when getting off a bus or train, or riding stairs and escalators; that’s when pickpockets tend to strike.
  • Divide money for small and larger purchases so you don’t have to expose a wad of bills.
  • Should a car start to follow you, immediately turn and walk the opposite way.
  • If you must ask for directions, approach families or women with children. To be extra safe, say, “Where is the –? I’m meeting my husband there.”
  • On sidewalks, keep your handbag and other valuables away from the street side (and on escalators, away from the opposite ramp).
  • If attacked, run, fight, and yell as loud as possible.

TRANSPORTATION SAVVY

  • Use covered luggage tags. Instead of your home address, write that of your office.
  • On overnight flights, keep an eye on your valuables.
  • Don’t exit a taxi until you’re sure you’ve arrived at your destination. Pay while still in the car so that you can be sure you’ve gotten the proper change.
  • Stay close to your valuables when passing through airport security.
  • Don’t use an unmarked taxi; if necessary, take public transportation to a city center.
  • On the road, if someone tries to get your attention or your car is bumped, don’t stop until you arrive at a well-lit and busy area.
  • If suspicious about “phony” police, don’t open the window. Instead, hold your license against the glass.

GENERAL ADVICE

  • Don’t just check the weather at your destination; also make a note of when the sun rises and sets.
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secret society for solo women travelers?

September 9, 2007

5W stands for Women Welcome Women World Wide. The organization has over 3000 members in over 70 countries and was started in 1984 by Frances Alexander. Most members are native to their countries but some are expatriates. There is a recommended minimum of £35 donation to join. There are few rules, the most important being the confidentiality of the list.

Roshelle Cashdan wrote in her article about 5W:

The member receives a directory which she pledges not to share with anyone except another 5W member. The directory listing contains several lines provided by each person: age, work, interests, languages spoken, contact information, and more.

From 5W’s website:

Gatherings are usually arranged by groups of members in their home town and extend an invitation to other members to attend from all around the world. They can last for several days, in a school or similar venue. They have an informal programme of events – maybe visits to local places of interest, theatre, projects, etc – but with plenty of time to talk to other women and perhaps to arrange visits to one another following the Gathering.

Each Gathering has an individual character, depending on the location, the size and the organisers.