Women and travel: 6 things you need to know

Mar 10, 2016 | Life

Haley Falco

If you’re a woman planning your next getaway across the world — either on spring break or over the summer — don’t forget your sunscreen, bathing suits, and most importantly your street smarts.

Marybeth Bond, National Geographic writer and author of 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America shared her best travel tips with Humber News on Thursday.

“In tourist bars, hotel rooms, taxis and deserted streets, women are less safe than ever,” Bond said.


Plan ahead

Read hotel reviews online before planning your getaway. Researching previous traveller’s experiences could help you before you travel to an unsafe destination. Organize your travel itinerary so you don’t arrive there at night.

“Read up on your destination before you go. Be informed about precautions you can take. If you’re going to India, your situation is going to be completely different than if you go to France,” said Bond.

As well, the federal government has a comprehensive online list of travel advice for countries around the world.

“No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check your destination country’s travel advice and advisories page twice: once when you are planning your trip, and again shortly before you leave,” the government advises.


Be respectful of culture

Remember that every country has different cultural values, terms of endearment and laws that is different from your everyday life.

Wearing appropriate clothes will help you blend in with the crowd. Bond advises that, in general, women should dress conservatively when on vacation.


Use the buddy system

No matter where you go, always go with a friend.

“Have two sets of eyes to watch for bad situations. Don’t leave without your buddy,” Bond said. Having that extra person by your side is the best way to take extra safety precautions.

Lisa Crickmore and her husband Jamie, who live outside of Hamilton, just returned from their trip to Jamaica with a group of friends.

“It would have been intimidating and I would have been nervous if we had to do that stuff ourselves like find transportation on our own,” said Crickmore.

Having that group of friends ensured Crickmore and her husband felt they were safe for their entire trip.


Hide your money

Crime is too common when travelling, especially in popular tourist hot spots, which is why it’s important to keep your personal belongings hidden and safe.

Purses and bags are easily accessible for someone to steal. Wear a small money pocket under clothing or attached to your belt.

“Always carry enough cash in your shoe or somewhere safe, but not in your purse,” Bond said.


Use proper transportation

Spending that extra $20 is worth it when it’s the middle of the night and you need to get back to your hotel.

“Be willing to spend this money on transportation in order to get you to a safe place,” Bond said.


Security is important

Does your room have a peephole in the door, double locks, and a phone that works? These are the important questions one must ask while planning their trip, according to Bond.

“I’m not saying ‘Don’t go at all.’ I’m saying to have a heightened state of awareness of what the issues are and what you can do to prevent problems.”

“There was security everywhere like on the beach and in the hotel and I liked knowing they were there,” said Crickmore.

Going to an all-inclusive resort made Crickmore feel more relaxed when ordering drinks.

“I was fairly trusting in that bartenders were pouring the right drinks but I didn’t leave my drink unattended. You just never know if someone might put something in it.”